My tummy is the one part of my body that I am ashamed of. I keep it covered at all times where possible and I dress to conceal it as much as I can. If I could I would even keep it covered during sex. Seriously, I dislike it. Of course I appreciate it’s internal workings for it’s role in creating, growing and housing my babies for the first 9 months of their existence, but the external part of my stomach …. I could live without that quite happily.
My youngest baby was sick yesterday – so sick that we ended up at a A&E last night after he vomited all over me and spent most of the day struggling to breathe. He wanted me all day. We had many hours of cuddles. It was lovely, except that he couldn’t get comfortable, he spent a lot of time writhing in discomfort and the only thing that gave him any was to touch my tummy. It felt funny, it felt uncomfortable for me, but I let him. Of course I let him. He often comes to me in the kitchen as I cook dinner, or to me on the couch as I sit and lifts up my shirt so he can get his wee hand connected to my belly. In bed he will pull up my PJ top so he can lay his head on my floppy tummy. He tells me regularly “I like Mummy’s tummy”. Though I constantly think about how I’d love for it to be different: less stretched, less dough like, less floppy, less soft, less wobbly, less rounded, I ensure I never talk about it that way to my kids. Even though I don’t like it, it makes me happy that this kid still loves every piece of his Mama. And yesterday when I could find no other way to console him (heck, I even offered up the long-gone ‘boobies’ for a suckle hoping it might make a difference!), the only way he finally relaxed and fell asleep was with his head on my exposed tummy and his thumb in his mouth.
So what did I do at that point? I lay on his bed, with him on me and gently rocking backwards and forwards, looking at the ceiling and thinking about how ironic things can be. My eyes flooded with tears as I thought about how silly I’ve been. I felt so grateful for anything that enabled him to get to sleep and that it had to be the one part of my own body that I dislike really helped to put things in perspective for me.
Friends, maybe for you it’s your butt, or your thighs, or the top of your arms, your chin or your feet. Whatever it is, I’m not suggesting you turn it into your most loved body part, but I encourage you today to love your body, ALL of it. Love it for the strength it gives. Love it for the comfort it provides to someone else. Love it for the softness it has. Love it for the safe place it can be to those who love and trust you. Love it for the gifts it’s given you. Love it for the blood that travels the course of your veins each and every day. Love it for the heart inside that beats without you doing anything to assist it so that you can continue to live your dreams and seek out adventure. Love ALL of your body. I know I need to.
My little man is so much better today, thank you for your kind words and thoughts and prayers for him yesterday. Over the course of today, as and when he’s needed to feel close and cuddles just aren’t enough, he has stood at my feet, thumb in his mouth and hand up my shirt, gently kneading the softness of my belly, squeezing out that comfort he craves.
And though it makes me squirm a little inside, I will tell him “Help yourself darling, it’s yours as long as you need it. You grew in there, let my tummy be your safe place.”