I've borne two beautiful children. I grew them within my body and pushed them out of my body with strength I didn't know I possessed. It's an amazing thing our bodies do as women and far beyond my comprehension, but in the aftermath. In the battlefield of my body. That is where my struggle lies. The war within and without myself.
I stand in front of the mirror before my shower and look at my body. Sometimes I don't want to but I make myself. Things appear to have shifted all over. Skin is still soft but sits a little further south than before and looks wearied and puckered in that place right below my navel. My bones seem to have shifted as well. Hips are still tilted out and up. I wonder if that will ever go back to the way it was when I was nineteen. I sigh. Probably not. I can see the blue veins mapping my chest and legs, telling me I am alive. Sometimes when I stand here I don't feel like it.
This new body is hard for me to embrace. I struggle against it. I fight accepting it. I CAN change it. And so I endure endless squats, lunges, and crunches. I refuse to eat bread and sugar...well, sometimes. And yet there seem to be things I just cannot change.
I'm standing before the mirror again. Wondering why my arms are so big. They've always been so small. Well, before children. I look at my face and ponder the tired look I see in my eyes. I push and pull the skin in so many different ways trying to find the me that I feel like on the inside. The me I was just a few years ago. It's all happened so fast.
I wake up for the fourth time this week drenched in sweat. My hair is stuck to my neck and the baby is stuck to me. There is a damp spot on the sheet where I've been laying. Night sweats. Again. I step out of the shower and run a comb through my hair. It comes out in obscene amounts. I try to reassure myself by remembering that we all lose 80- 100 hairs a day. But this is much, much more.
These things are all battle scars. You might call them badges of Motherhood. They are a testament to the fact that I've given life. I've shared my body with other people. And in the course of it, I was changed forever. In so many ways.
As I look at my laughing children, I know without a doubt I would do it again. And I will probably do it again in the not too distant future. And I will be surely changed again. And in time, I hope that I can learn to accept and embrace the changes.
For now, this is who I am.