YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOVE YOUR BODY!
I know this goes against all the messages you receive out there- but you honestly and truly don’t have to LOVE your whole body just as it is. *Gasp* Really. It’s ok to feel merely satisfied with some parts, pretty good about some other parts and not that great about another thing… it’s all OK. The job of trying to LOVE all your body is just too hard. And I am here to let you know, that you are off the hook!
Do you really need one more thing to do on top of washing formula stains out of the baby’s sleepers? Do you know how much energy it takes out of your day to dredge up love for your kangaroo pouch and your stretch marks and your one size bigger feet?
My great doula colleague, podcast co-host and bosom buddy, Stephanie Alouche described her stretch marks as purply, sliver waves of evidence of a nostalgic time. If you listen to our podcast, you will know this is classic Steph Stuff.
(And if you don’t listen to our podcast…ahm…why not? It’s awesome. Stop reading this blog for ONE second and go download it tout suite- The Pragmatic Doulas)
I hereby relinquish you of the duty of waxing poetic about your stretch marks. Or your diastasis recti.
Let’s get pragmatic about it. (I clearly love this concept). Stretch marks and diastasis recti are what they are; broken tissue or separated muscles as a result of your belly or breasts working hard to accommodate your baby’s growth. It's ok to regard them as simply as that.
No need to romanticize the processes we go through to bring our babies here. It seems as if we feel the need to make the evidence of our work “beautiful”. When in fact, it doesn’t need to be. Your baby is the evidence and the reward for your body’s hard work. Your body is the tool that you used to do this job. Every tool has marks on it after it does a big job. That's just how it goes. Respect that tool.
Oil it up and treat it well.
So, you don’t have to LOVE your stretch marks but -To NOT love something does not automatically mean to despise the thing.
I can not love my stretch marks, but I can (and do) ACCEPT their place on my body and RESPECT what they stand for. But I don’t have to adore them. The don’t define Me or the kind of parent/person I am.
All the bits and blobs of your body are just that…bits and blobs. They only have meaning – good or bad if you imbue them with such. And, guess what? As the human who inhabits that biological manifestation called your body- as the OWNER, CEO and landlord of that body- you get to decide what has meaning, what doesn’t and how it will be treated. Love is a lofty and often fleeting goal. Sometimes, I do not want to strive for it.
It is perfectly ok to declare your LOVE for your giant, milky, leaky boobs. They are a symbol of your connection to the Earth goddess and all the mothers who have gone before you! It is also ok to feel quite matter of fact about them. They make food for your baby. They may bring you sexual pleasure. They are tools for those things. Very functional and that’s all.
It’s also ok to not really like them all that much right now. Dammit! If I leak through one more shirt, I swear!!
You get to decide. What bits and blobs to love, which to deeply respect but not “love” and which parts to just put up with for now. Sometimes that is the best you can do. And it’s all good.
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