I don’t have many regrets these days, but I do have this one:
Waiting 39 years to love my body.
Pregnancy has been nothing short of a profound and miraculous experience. Not only has it shown me the miracle of life, but it has offered me a far deeper level of self-love and self-respect than I ever realized possible.
You see, in my 39 years prior I criticized and called my body every name under the sun: fat, ugly, hideous, disgusting – the list goes on. And interestingly, my body never worked all that well in the process.
Have you ever seen those science experiments where you put two containers of rice out, and to one you say hateful, mean things and the other nice, loving things?
The one that receives love tends to last for a really (sometimes unimaginably) long time, whereas the other one quickly molds and rots away. It’s been done with apples, rice, bread, sprouts, etc.
Different specimens, always the same results.
The same has been true for my body.
When I’ve treated it with hate, it reacts accordingly. When I treat it with love, as I have over the past year, everything works pretty well.
Right now my body looks good (and that includes some cellulite.) It also FEELS good, and that’s with a seven-pound baby putting pressure in all the wrong places and taking whatever she needs and leaving me with the leftovers.
I do logically understand that my body is immunosuppressed (meaning it’s not hunting down every piece of gluten I put into it) and I wonder if that will even matter anymore after I give birth. It might, and it might not. (Please note I’m not asking for input or opinions on this topic.)
What I AM asking for is my own attention, because when I’ve loved my body it works well and when I don’t, it doesn’t. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. Even if it is, I’m in control of the stories I tell myself so I pick this one.
I wish it didn’t take 39 years to get this point, and I’m sure glad it didn’t take 49.
One additional thought:
These days when I see myself naked I am in awe of my body. True, undeniable awe. It’s beautiful and magical, and miraculous. But sometimes when I’m clothed, I forget. I begin to nitpick and question the truth.
This is the very essence of a soul having a human experience.
Through this process I’ve come to realize that there truly is some wise part of me that knows the truth: that this experience is beautiful. That I AM.
And the human side of me?
Well, it has questions. It has disbeliefs, and emotions, and judgments.
All of this is okay.
All of this is welcome.
All of this is me.
I can see that now.
All of it is perfect.
I hope I always love myself as much as I do right now. I may stumble, yes, and for that reason I’m putting this out there as a reminder for me just as much as an offering for you.
More importantly, I hope to model and teach my child to love herself this much too, because if I can do anything to promote more self-love in the world (and minimize the self-hatred and self-criticism that runs rampant through generations of both men and women),
The buck stops here.