Kids: age 2 and 4
I remember seeing pregnant woman and thinking how perfect, sexy, gorgeous, powerful and voluptuous they are. Pure WOMAN. I was in awe.
I was even excited to be that perfectly sexy gorgeous powerful voluptuous WOMAN when I became pregnant with my first child…until the weight came. I had never had body image problems and even fought against the idea of someone else’s Ideal Body Image through writing for young girls and in day-to-day life… but suddenly I wasn’t that beautiful pregnant lady, I was fat. My face was fat. Back fat? Where the hell did you come from? Hot and sweaty, out of breath… I was never one to stare at myself in the mirror, I looked, but not obsessively or really put much thought into it, no shmutz on my face, shirt’s not inside out, etc., but now? I can’t even see myself. Pieces, a face I don’t recognize, an arm or that not so perfect belly, knees, only parts but could never see the whole. In fact I mostly avoid the mirror all together except on the strange occasion I stare and try, really try to see me. I can’t.
One afternoon walking back to a Cat Power show from the bathroom I looked up and nearly run into this goddess of a woman -long thick black hair, creamy hazelnut skin, clothing hanging perfectly, seductively off her curves, dark gorgeous eyes staring directly at… me. “You are the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen” she says, “You’re glowing brighter than the sun.”
“Th-th-thank you” I manage to stammer and looking into her eyes I remember seeing that beauty in other women and for the first time I feel like a perfectly sexy gorgeous powerful voluptuous WOMAN.
My second child is nearly two and though I am back down to my pre-pregnancy weight I take a shower and wonder why I still can’t see my pubic hair without really sucking it in… Which I do a lot of, and wear long shirts, and feel self-conscience when I wear an Ergo and my gut hangs over the waist strap.
The other day my two daughters and I were wrestling in bed. Lying on my back I read the Braille story my deep stretched skin marks told and squishing and squeezing my belly I say “isn’t it beautiful” and both girls nodded immediately with huge smiles. The one year old kisses and hugs my flabby stomach.
What perfectly amazing work this body has done, and beautiful stories it tells. What sexy curves it has and how gorgeously proportioned it is. How powerful I am carrying two children to term and birthing them at home, naturally. This voluptuous woman I see in the mirror is breathtaking.