Tuesday, August 21, 2012

P.S. #1: Miracle of Life--by Natalie

I have always had such a roller coaster relationship with my body. I have always known and felt it was a gift to my spirit, enabling me to do so many things; it was also a gift I felt that I misused and shouldn't be trusted with. At any moment, if someone had asked what I would like to change about my appearance, I would have a long list ready to go. Ironically, now that my body has gone through pregnancy and childbirth and has so many more flaws than it used to have, I feel more comfortable about my body. I feel as though the flaws are battle scars telling a story unique to me, and shouldn't be down played because images in the media describe beauty as something else.

My body, at first, rejected pregnancy. I resented my body for it. It was denying me what I wanted most- to be a mother- so I began denying it food. In a wave of emotions and post pregnancy hormones, I lost about ten pounds very quickly. The only thing that people noticed was that I "looked great". I didn't feel great. I exercised as much as I could, trying to keep my body lean and my spirits high. It helped a little but not much. The next positive pregnancy test came, and with it stress and anxiety. I wanted this little body to grow so badly. My husband and I both did. I decided to take things easy- I eliminated stressful things from my life and for the first time in my life, I gave up my body for a higher purpose. I sacrificed my body so that another body could be made. It stretched and changed and grew bigger everyday. I remember when I was about 7 months along I didn't want any pictures taken of me. I thought people would think I had gained too much weight. I wish I had pictures of that time so badly. I was beautiful, my sweet husband told me, but I didn't believe it. But still, as my body grew bigger, my thoughts of what other people thought I looked like began to grow smaller in my mind.

Pregnancy is a selfless act, but childbirth is the most rewarding and selfless thing you can do. It is my personal belief that you can not go through child birth and not believe in a God. There was an order in the chaos. As harsh pains pulsed through my body, it knew what to do. My spirit was in panic and anxiousness, but my body knew what to do. My body, which had rejected motherhood before, welcomed it and pushed it along. It was made to bring me my Jack, just like I was made to be his mother. When my body finally pushed him out, and he lay on my chest and looked up at me, I knew what this universe was made for. I knew my purpose. I knew how sacred bodies are, and I grieved anyone who didn't understand that.

I wish that I can constantly remember that feeling, but I don't always. I exercise with weight loss in mind, not happiness. I watch what I eat and wear shape wear around my loose skin because I want people to notice how much my body has changed. Of course I want to be healthy and use my body to my fullest potential, but my postpartum brain is still trying to let go of that pre- pregnancy mind set of looking good. Loving my body is still a struggle, even after it gave me my son. Pregnancy has given me a much better perspective, one that I hope will continue to improve and positively affect my children.

I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for my scars. And stretch marks. Above all else, I am grateful for my Jack.

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