i seem to be surrounded by pregnant women lately. glowing, ebullient, beautiful pregnant women of all shapes and sizes. i know there are many pregnant women who spend the entire nine months hating their bodies and the changes it goes through, but what i've heard most lately is how so many of these women feel like they've been let out of body image jail for nine months. guns-a-blazin', they eat without feeling guilty, they don't punish themselves with excessive exercise, they don't feel like they have to hold their stomach in because, sister, there just ain't no holding it in.
i once had an older woman friend say to me (a woman on Weight Watchers), "when i was pregnant, i just ate whatever i wanted when i was hungry and i stopped when i was full, and i didn't really gain much weight. i wish i could eat that way now."
"why can't you?" i asked her.
"well... i mean. i just can't."
that broke my heart.
we actually can.
and it's probably one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies, our minds, and our children. maybe we grew up in a diet culture, and got our ability to intuitively feed ourselves ripped out of our tiny, little hands like a forbidden cupcake. maybe we grew up believing that love is conditional with one of the conditions being that we be thin and beautiful. that doesn't mean our children have to. we must educate them. we must empower them by letting them make food choices. most importantly, we must love them unconditionally and be a good role model. we can't just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk. feed ourselves. enjoy ourselves.
they are watching.
even if we don't have children and never will.
they are still watching.
nieces, nephews, friends' children, students.
you don't think those 13-year old girls trying on Valentine's Dance dresses in the next room heard you bemoan the size and texture of thighs? you're wrong.
children of the world aside, what about you? what about me?
i have decided:
i will not wait until i am pregnant to eat without feeling guilty.
i will not wait until i am pregnant to not punish myself with excessive exercise.
i will not wait until i am pregnant to not feel like i have to hold my stomach in all the time.
i will not wait until i am pregnant before i start letting others take care of me.
i will not wait until i am pregnant to take care of myself.
i will not wait until i am pregnant to love myself.
i might not be birthing a child in nine months, but there is one inside me all the same.
she is watching.
if you've been pregnant, did you experience freedom from body image angst during those nine months? did that carryover at all into your life once you gave birth?
if you haven't been pregnant, are you scared of the changes your body will go through or can you not wait?