At a happy hour a few weeks ago, I was talking with some of my girlfriends. In between bites of bruschetta and sips of white wine, we had one of the funniest conversations I’ve ever been a part of. We were talking about relationships, work, spirituality, the usual… when the conversation took a hard left turn and we began comparing our boobs to people at a party. Yes, our boobs.
First up were the shy, introverted boobs that had just shown up to the party and were searching the room for their friends before grabbing a drink. Another of us had perky, high-heeled boobs that were on their third shot of tequila from the middle of the dance floor. The last pair of long, tired boobs needed an ibuprofen and a breakfast burrito ASAP. They’d partied a little too hard.
We laughed until we cried. Laughing about something so ridiculous was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. Yet, I continued to rag on myself. Why is it so easy for me to pick myself apart??
I continued, “I struggle with my stomach. It has the elasticity of crepe paper now. I wish I could just get a flat stomach!”
My beautiful friend, Fawn, turned and looked at me. She asked me why my stomach looked like it did. The week before I gave birth to my second child, I had two feet sticking outward against my belly from the inside. The stretched skin across my stomach was a permanent feature. Fawn is such a lovely creature and her name befits her demeanor. Without skipping a beat she said, “Tell me about your pregnancy with him.”
I told her I cried hysterically when I found out I was pregnant. I called my husband at work and scared the crap out of him because I could barely talk through my tears of joy. We loved the idea of having two sons, so we were ecstatic when the doctor confirmed he was a boy.
About half way through the pregnancy, we learned that our baby had a Ventricular Septal Defect. In other words, he had a hole in his heart. We were told right away that his defect increased his chances of having Downs Syndrome from 1:640 to 1:40. To determine whether or not he had any genetic abnormalities, the doctors performed an amniocentesis. The test was physically and emotionally painful. We didn’t sleep much during those months. It turned out to be an isolated incident that healed itself two weeks before he was born. She gently prodded, “Tell me about him now.”
I told her how my precious son is the hottest of hot messes. He’s hysterically funny, he loves to learn, his voice has been deep like Barry White’s since the day he was born and he leads all his endeavors with his perfect little heart. With a look that cut straight to my soul, she asked calmly,
Would you trade all of that to have a flat stomach?”
The weight of her words hit me so hard, it’s as though she’d physically struck me. The air left my lungs in a quiet swoop. It took me a second to get my wits about me and I started to cry.
In one simple question, Fawn put all of my body issues into perspective. My body grew that amazing little person. My body brought him safely to us. My body comforts him when he needs consoling. All of the same is true for my other son.
I was deeply proud of my mom body for the first time in my life. In that instant, I knew that I would never trade the marks of motherhood for a flat stomach.
As I was driving home that night, I kept replaying that moment in my head and silently thanking my friend. Something inside of me had permanently changed. Since that conversation, I have vowed to be proud of my body for its strength. Old habits die hard and occasionally a self-sabotaging thought creeps in. In that moment, I take a deep breath and picture my beautiful sons. Pride overwhelms me when I remember that my body brought them here.
Our bodies are so much more than the sum of their parts. We are not just wrinkly stomachs or long eyelashes or toned arms. We are MOMS. Every single one of us is strong, beautiful and worthy – no matter what kind of party guests our boobs would make.