At Macy's the other day, I noticed two women looking at dresses together. One of them held up a cute little number, while the other eyed it up and down, sighed, and said, "Yeah, there's no way I could wear that now. Having kids totally ruined my body."
Moms say things like this all the time -- "Pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding ruined my body." And I get it. But at the same time it makes me sad that so many women lament the softer breasts, squishier tummies, and streaky stretch marks that frequently accompany childbearing.
As if such things signify "ruin."
Here's the truth as I see it: Our societal obsession with physical perfection has blinded us to the sacred beauty inherent in a mother's body. Excepting some extremely rare circumstances, pregnancy and childbirth don't ruin your body. They SANCTIFY it.
And I don't mean that in an airy-fairy, metaphorical, poetic kind of way. Your post-pregnancy body is literally sacred, because LIFE WAS CREATED INSIDE OF YOU. The miracle of conception took place and a whole person was molded and formed purely from the elements in your own body.
Seriously, the freaking MIRACLE OF LIFE happened inside you. If you didn't think of your body as holy before, it certainly became so the moment it started GROWING AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING PRACTICALLY FROM SCRATCH, didn't it?
Your body brought life into the world. That same body you now deride and despise as imperfect, unideal -- ruined.
That line of thinking is flat out wrong. Really. Your body, no matter how subjectively imperfect or flawed, is not ruined. It is blessed and holy.
Those "tree trunks," as you call them? Those thighs carried the weight of your growing baby and everything it needed to stay fed and warm and safe inside of you. And once your baby arrived, they rocked, swayed, bounced, and strolled your baby into peaceful sleep, just as they did when it was still in your womb. Those legs are mighty and loyal steeds who should be commended, not condemned.
Those arms that jiggle a little more than you'd like when you lift them? Those arms are the warmest, safest place your child has ever known outside of your uterus. They carried your babies when they were still figuring out what their own limbs were for (those same limbs that were formed from scratch inside your body, remember), and your toddlers when the world became too big for their little legs to handle. Your arms are strong and constant protectors that should be revered, not ridiculed.
That tummy of yours, which might be a little softer than it used to be? That's ground zero for the greatest miracle and mystery we can witness on this Earth. Don't diminish that or brush it aside. Your belly is now the most hallowed and sacred part of your physical being, and should be treated with the same reverence and respect as you would treat any holy ground.
And pregnancy stretch marks? Hard-earned tattoos that prove how DIVINELY BADASS your body really is. Wear them proudly.
The human body is amazing, no matter who you are. But a mother's body -- the body that has held the spark of a brand new soul, served as builder and safe harbor for that soul's temple, and sacrificed a portion of its own perfection in order to do so -- is nothing short of stupendous. I seriously think every mother's body should be enshrined in a museum somewhere, to be stared at in awe and wonder by those who understand the awesomeness of what they're seeing.
There is a deep, eternal beauty in what your body has been through. Truly. So honor its beautiful work. Bless your body as it has blessed you. Strive to keep it healthy and strong -- not to try to undo its "ruin," but in reverence for the venerable vessel that it is. Look at your body with love in your eyes. Treat it with kindness and compassion. Care for your body as you would care for a saint who has spent the precious energy of her life performing miracles.
Because that's exactly what it has done.
Nobody says you can't have a little fun on sacred ground. :)
More from parenting