This body…

It has done amazing things. Birthed three children and nursed them for over 3.5 years combined.

In one breath I thank every stretch mark. In the next I curse them.

While I know this body gave me my babies, part of me can only see the imperfections as flaws. Part of me can only see this body as something to be ashamed of.

And while I encourage other women to love and be proud of their bodies, I have yet to 100% fully embrace my own.

My breasts have always been large. But growing up in the 90’s it is imprinted in my DNA to believe the only acceptable breasts are made of silicone, exactly a D cup, and perky in a way that gravity would never naturally allow. I look at them now and when I see them in the mirror I just think they look gross. Deflated. Floppy. Saggy. My nipples and areolas are are too big to be pretty or sexy. No. They aren’t what I would consider the ideal set of breasts. But biology would disagree. They sag in a way that makes them perfect height for a baby on my lap to latch on. The large nipples and areolas are the perfect target for a baby to find. My squishy belly is a nice little pillow for those babies to cuddle up on while having a meal. If only I could avoid looking in the mirror and actually seeing the reality. I can just keep the view I see when I look down at those little faces while having their milk and I can feel proud. I can love my body. But the truth is when I look at it in the mirror, I don’t see it with my eyes. I see it with the eyes of society. Of all those who judge my body and the bodies of all other women. You see to society, our bodies only matter if they can be sexually pleasing. How well they can function in birthing and nurturing our babies, or Hell, even just existing at all outside of a man’s gaze or touch, doesn’t matter. And as much as I’ve tried to cut out this view… it permeates. So I will work to heal this wound along with the many others I have had laid at my feet as a woman and a mother. In the meantime I’ll avoid the mirror and try to see my body as my babies see it. A haven. A heaven. A place of comfort. A place of safety. A nurturing embrace. And I’ll keep telling myself this until I feel it in my bones. Until the voices of others are erased, and the only one left is my own.
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