Monday, April 9, 2012

Vanity

What do you think this is?
  • A picture taken by the Hubble telescope of a crater on the surface of Mars
  • Some sort of sculpture made with flesh-colored crepe paper
  • Spanish stucco
I really wish it was something like that... but it's not. It's my belly button. 
I haven't always had a belly laden with hundreds of stretch marks and flaps of skin that get caught in zippers and pinched between things accidentally. 

I use to love my belly button and I even had a story that went along with how it use to look- I called my belly button my "fairy butt". When I was little, I noticed that inside of my belly button there was something that resembled a small butt. I was convinced that a small fairy-like creature tried to crawl into my stomach and got it's butt stuck. I spent many hours trying to push the "fairy butt" into my stomach to help the poor creature dislodge itself, but all that I was rewarded with was a tender belly button.

There was a time in college when I even allowed someone to take embarrassingly cheesy pictures of me in a shirt that showed off my belly button. I now look at these pictures and cringe, but at least I have something to remember my old belly button by:
I was so cool or something. 

So... how did my belly button go from a fairy's butt to a pit of despair? 

Exhibit A:
Pregnancy #1

Exhibit B:
 Pregnancy #2

Exhibit C:
Pregnancy #3

It's been through a lot in the last five years. I have lots of extra skin and stretched muscles, and I even have diastastis recti and a hernia. So many things going on with my stomach. I guess it makes sense that it would look so... used. 

Yesterday I was nursing the baby while Apollo watched a movie on the bed with me. He looked over at my stomach and said "Your belly looks so old! It's funny looking!" I set him straight and showed him how cool a belly like mine is. I showed him how I could make the extra skin on my belly into the shape of mouth and make it talk. I could hide things in all of that extra skin. We laughed belly laughs... but a small part of me still wanted to cry. That vain critic in the corner of mind who likes to tell me that I'm not lovable if I'm not physically ideal started talking. 
Well, this is me telling that voice to shut it. There is nothing more beautiful than a mother.

My favorite picture of myself. 

I sometimes wonder how much time I've wasted fretting over trivial things that are out of my control- like my belly button. What if I had spent that time doing something constructive, like learning to play guitar? I'd probably be Jimmy freakin Hendrix by now. I guess there is a reason that vanity is one of the seven deadly sins. 

Tell me- have you learned to embrace the changes your body has undergone from pregnancy? I'm still working on it. I have good days and bad days, but I know I'd never want to go back... I have learned so much and wouldn't trade it for anything.  

3 comments:

  1. I don't know about embracing but I have learned to more or less accept the changes and even laugh about them sometimes. Especially when my kids point them out. My daughter (9) told me I had a squishy belly but that it wasn't my fault. My son likes to poke my belly and talk about it. Luckily I don't take it personally. I can even mostly laugh it off when people (mostly kids) ask me when my baby is due (my "baby" is 5 and there are NO buns in this oven).
    I will say that when I am doing things with my body that I love, I love it more. When I am exercising super hard and feel sweaty and great (I love jazzercise) I feel sexy and I love my body and what it can do. When my kids are sad and I pull them tight and cuddle them, I am grateful for my body and its ability to give comfort. The times when I don't like my body is usually when I'm getting dressed for church or to see my extended family and I'm worried about the way my clothes fit and nervous about being judged.

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    1. I still have my good days and bad days. Some days I want to cry, some days I feel great about myself. I think self-acceptance is a daily thing.

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