17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Fatter Than Barbie, Stronger Than Ken
Where did all of the body issues that plagued my teens and early 20s go? Here I am ... down from my post-pregnancy weight, but no longer my 18-year-old toned and trim self ... yet I feel 100000% better about my body.
I have some theories on my body-image metamorphosis:
(1) My DH has brainwashed me into believing I am thin enough and sexy enough. Where did I go wrong when I picked him?
(2) Maturity and age. I'm too old and tired to diet and too smart to know that, unless I plan to drink Slim Fast or eliminate carbs for the rest of my life, the weight will just come back anyways.
(3) My feminist self has deconstructed our society's prolific objectification of women to the point where I no longer feel the desire to conform to unrealistic and highly subjective expectations about how the female body should look (Thanks FMH!).
Probably a little from all of the above. However, more than anything I think I conquered most of my body issues through birthing my two sons.
A quick disclaimer: I'm not a die-hard natural birth advocate. I would say I advocate having babies any way that works for all those involved - whether it be via vagina, via c-section or via cross-country plane trip.
I found giving birth as liberating as it was painful. I know this is not every woman's experience, but it was mine. My first son arrived seven weeks premature. By the time his little head was crowning, there were no less than 12 doctors and nurses in my labor room, within full-range view of my vagina. You think after enduring all of the indecencies of labor I am going to worry about a few stretch marks or miss an otherwise memorable day at the beach over some back-thigh cellulite? No way!
Not only was birthing my children liberating...it was EMPOWERING! My BODY found the strength to push out these little live beings. I am naturally a very physical person. I love to work out...to push my body beyond its comfortable limits. I spent most of my teen years in a gym playing basketball and I was an avid skier and distance runner in college. None of those experiences compared to the physical intensity of giving birth. I once heard labor described as "running a marathon and having an orgasm at the same time." My babies came fast, so my experience is better summed up as an 800 meter sprint....but otherwise I love the comparison.
So now that I've exposed my stretch marks, my cellulite and my birthing experiences in way too much detail....I'd love to hear what experiences have helped YOU appreciate your own bodies....