I have always thought I was fat. This is partly because I took ballet (a sylph I was not) and partly because I was a girl (dieting is a topic of interest from about age 4) and partly because I actually was kinda fat.....okay, not really fat just.....plump. I look back at pictures from childhood, and there it is, my nemesis: the belly. Thankfully I have a mother who was devoted to good nutrition (she made us homemade fruit rollups, no joke) and a husband who is an exercise fiend so my tendency to rolly polly-ness is mostly dealt with in a healthy way, but do not doubt I am familiar with that particular kind of self loathing that comes from not looking the way you think you should look.
So, even though getting pregnant was an incredible thrill, one of the many myriad thoughts meandering through my brain was: how fat will I get? And how long until I get thin(ish) again after the baby?
But like so many things in my life, I was blessed, thrilled and surprised to find that I felt fabulous during my pregnant. Despite an ice-cream per day habit during a trip home to Canada (it helped kill the heartburn) I did not put on a gross amount of weight. However, for the first time in my life, weight was no longer a concern. I had a reason to have a big, beautiful belly: I had a big, beautiful baby in there! I was in awe of my body, and what it was accomplishing. With very little help from Greg (no offense, honey) I was growing a PERSON!! It was incredible. I felt like a goddess.
And that sense of awe and appreciation for my body continued into William's first months of life, for, as a breast feeding Mom, I was helping him to grow outside of my tummy too. And not only did he grow, he thrived! He was a fat, jolly, happy little baby who loved to feed, and had a Mommy who loved to feed him. So, I was scarred by childbirth, plump, with huge boobs and I did not care. What relief! What liberation!
But of course, the day of reckoning came as it must. For me it was once William started on solids, and I took him to a doctor's appointment. Very casually I stepped on the scale only to realize that I weight MORE than I did after the baby was born. That was not a good day.
So slowly, and to be honest resentfully, I started to claim my body back from the rigours of childbearing. But despite feeling fat (again) I have come to this stage with a new respect for my body. It is an awesome body, capable of miraculous things. And even though my son is born, nourished, and nearly weaned, it is a body still capable of amazing things. My body is coming back to being my own, but I share it generously with my boys. It is a body that is a bit padded, but aren't I cozier that way?
Not to say I was not delighted to lose a few pounds during a bout of the flu. And I am ecstatic that my old clothes fit again (its like getting a new wardrobe!!!). I am committed to eating a bit better, and exercising a bit more. Because shouldn't I care as much about what I am putting in my mouth, as what I am putting in William's? I want to be fit and fabulous in my new life, to keep up with my active toddler, but also to feel like a pretty woman again.
I know myself well enough to know that I will have fat days again; don't we all? But even then, I will never forget that I have a body that is capable of amazing things. It can run and jump, stretch and breathe. It can laugh and cry, write and sing. It can bake a cake while simultaneously talking on the phone. It can love a husband. It can grown and nourish a son.
I am a goddess.