Who among us has never wished for longer legs, a smaller waist, or a better-proportioned body? It never takes long, when in a group of mothers, before the discussion turns to our mama bodies. And never is this conversation positive: saggy boobs…elephant skin at the navel…those last five pounds of milk fat stores on the thighs that have yet to believe that you are done sustaining another life. “When will I get my body back?,” is the common refrain I hear regularly from my friends, my clients, and my inner critic.
We are quick to judge, criticize, and self-flagellate, yet these same bodies are the physical link between us and our children. Gestating and breastfeeding are obvious positive body images, but even if you did not birth your child, your body has a central role in your mothering—hugging, holding, carrying, cuddling, chasing, tousling…the list is infinite. These bodies of ours? They deserve to be honored and respected.
Blogs like the shape of a mother do an outstanding job of providing a forum for women to discuss body image issues in a non-judgmental environment. I challenge you to read a few of the entries and feel anything other than wonder, amazement, and gratitude that the female body can do what it does to nourish new life.
This Mother’s Day, think about your body. What has it done to support the little one(s) you mother? In what ways large and small can you celebrate your body and its integrated role with daily mothering?
Next time you’re struggling to find motivation for a workout or a healthy meal, remember how amazing your body is and how much goodness it has brought into your life. Give yourself permission to let go of an ideal of perfection and make peace with yourself. Working towards a fitness goal that will make you the healthiest mother possible is far more important than any media-driven or self-preconceived ideal of physical beauty.
Good health, great happiness, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to you!