I had been pondering this post for a bit and when I mentioned it to Tracy, my blogging partner, she said, "Ha. I could never come up with 10 things I love about my body." That was all the answer I needed to actually put the proverbial pen to paper on this very sensitive topic.
I haven't had the most loving of relationships with my body. OK. That's a gross overstatement. I have spent the majority of my life hating the body that I continually look back at and think "Oh. I didn't look half bad there." Half bad. That's all I've ever been able to give myself. Until I had a baby.
Crazy, right? I was reading my weekly PEOPLE magazine - it's the "Most Beautiful" edition. The one that usually sends me reeling into a fit of negativity surrounding my own beauty. However, it appears that this one they have done just slightly differently although I cannot pinpoint exactly how. One segment is called "Naked at 34" and features five glamorous stars (tastefully) naked. It's not so much the photos that got me, but the introduction: "A recent study reveals that women feel best about their bodies at age 34." WHAT? I am speechless. I am also 34.
So, I thought, no time like the present to really take a look at what this body of mine has been able to and continues to accomplish:
1. I can move. I started with this one for a very good reason. I want to forever be thankful to my body because I can move - I can run, I can walk, I can do yoga and I can lift weights. (I said I can do all these things. I didn't say I do them all. Silly.)
2. I made a human. Seriously, people. I don't care if you're a Mom, a Dad, or neither - think about this for a minute. Women MAKE humans inside of their bodies. How absolutely stunningly incredible. My mind boggles.
3. While making said human, I existed on apples and well, nothing else. I had one of those pregnancies in that I threw up everything I ate and clothes-pinned my nose shut to avoid the constant nausea. Therefore, while I was making my daughter, I ate virtually nothing. Want proof of that? I ended my pregnancy 8 pounds heavier than I started. AK weighed just over six pounds at birth. And she was perfect. This means that, even with very little nutrients, my body was able to continue to do its unbelievably important job.
4. Once born, I nourished said human by my body alone for seven months. I exclusively breastfed AK for seven months before even beginning her first taste of solid foods. My body actually MADE her food and kept her not only alive, but healthy.
5. My after-baby body, although different, yes, still resembles the previous version. Although softer, rounder and whatever else-er, it's still me. I'm still 5'2" tall and on the petite side. Even after stretching to accommodate my growing belly, I somehow still recognize myself.
6. She loves to lay in my lap. And, perhaps a small part of me thinks that my soft thighs or my soft belly make it even more comfortable for her.
7. Her favorite body part of mine is my "belly." She doesn't care that it's not flat, it's a little fluffy and rolls a bit when I sit down.
8. I carry her in one arm while simultaneously doing 10 other activities. This is certainly no attempt to bash Dads here, but have you ever watched them try to do this? It's like they are physically incapable. When holding kids, they can stand still or walk forward to a single destination. There is no feasible way they could empty the dishwasher, start a pot of water for pasta, get out a cup of teddy grahams and pour a sippy cup of milk all while holding a child.
9. I have existed on far less sleep than any individual should be able to. And, what I accomplish on so little sleep is next to miraculous.
10. I don't have a hired team of 14 to make me look beautiful. I get to do it all myself. In the magazine article mentioned above, all five of those women sure were beautiful. And, I can only imagine the number of people who contributed to that beauty. My team is me.
Every day, my body is a reminder that I am a Mom. And, there is no relationship in this world like the one between a mother and her child. My body is a little jiggly, a little squishy and it's far from my ideal of perfect. However, it is beautiful because of what it has done, what it can do today and what it will do tomorrow. And, for that gift, I am grateful.