I was sure that I was going to hate the results, but an amazing thing happened.
I saw the photo and thought...that's kind of a beautiful belly, actually.
And I fell in love with my belly, stretchmarks, saggy bits, muffin top, and all, for the first time in my life.
I felt comfortable and even enthusiastic sharing this photo in the privacy and safety of the group, where I knew it would be celebrated and well-received.
Still, I felt insecure to share it more publicly, because I know that largely, society tells me that I should not be proud of my belly. Society largely believes I should be ashamed of it. That I should keep it covered up. That "Ew, no one wants to see that."
I was afraid of being told that the photo was disgusting or a poor example of a healthy lifestyle or not acceptable to the male gaze or a whole host of other junk that I profess to spit in the face of.
Then, today, a friend said something that changed that.
The gorgeous Zee had the opportunity to participate in the 4th Trimester Bodies project. (Take a second to go look at her photo. It's breathtaking. It might make your eyeballs sweaty.) In sharing her photo in the very group that I so reluctantly shared mine in not long ago, she said:
It was a great feeling standing there with my children, showing them mama is proud of her body, a body they helped mold.-Zee Martin-Mendia
And that's when it hit me:
And then I got brave. And here we are.
All bodies are good bodies. All bodies deserve to be fed a variety of nutritious foods. All bodies deserve to indulge in treats they enjoy. All bodies deserve to be moved in ways that feel good.
When I hated my body, I didn't take care of it. The more I learn to love it, the better care of it I take. It responds by getting stronger and more flexible. It responds by letting go of some of its fat and making me more mobile and allowing me to fit more comfortable not only in my clothes, but in my own skin.
Love your body. I promise it will love you back.