The Beholder

I like my cheekbones. They are really prominent and covered in freckles and I like them very muchly.
Deep breath. 
Erin  challenged herself and us to find our beauty, to be the beholder.
Deep breath.
I am trying.
It has always been easier for me to pick at the image in the mirror than to accept it. If this were a therapy session we would talk about body image issues, and self loathing. This is big, long-standing heavy stuff for me.
Having babies has not helped.
You see, this is who my husband met just three short years ago. 

            

This trim, tan blonde in her 30's who rode horses 20 hours a week and could give most college atheletes a run for their money.
I still thought she wasn't good enough. Or thin enough.
Her jeans are in my closet. Waiting.
I feel like he deserves her.
He thinks this girl is just as beautiful. 

            

He's a crazy person. Also a saint.
But the first girl is who I expect to see when I walk past a mirror and the second girl shocks me every time. It takes my breath away how big she is, sometimes I just have to look away.
I think we all fantasize about being the woman who just gets a cute belly when she is pregnant. For most of us that isn't reality. My legs get thick and heavy, and my arms gain girth. With Joel I got back fat for the first time in my life, this time my breasts are far larger than I ever would have imagined. It is just what my body does to grow a baby.
I eat healthfully. I study nutrition and how the body processes food. I have for years and I let some of my more nuerotic weight controlling habits go trying to be as healthy as possible for my babies. That is probably why I gained more than I expected to with Joel. My midwives were unconcerned, they said it was all normal, and I was healthy and so was my baby. I didn't lose all that weight before getting pregnant with the Peppers and now I have gained the minimum recommended weight for this pregnancy so far.
My legs and arms still got thicker, the back fat came back. This is just what my body does when it grows a baby.
Deep breath.
I still want to look like the first girl again. I want to wear her jeans and I want my husband to have her on his arm. But I am really, really proud of the second girl for accepting that this is necessary for her babies. Even if it is one moment at a time, she is refusing to restrict her weight gain at the expense of her children. That would be easier. That is tempting every single day. But she keeps eating.
Good for her.
She is walking past the mirror and knowing that this shall pass, that this body is a temporary place and a miracle. This body, as much as it doesn't resemble the first girl, is the body that will bring children into this world. The first girl's body doesn't do that.
And this second girl also looks at her cheekbones a lot.
I really like my cheekbones.

 
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