My relationship with my body has always been complex, full of ups and downs. I love my skin but I hate my teeth. My hair is shiny but I wish it were red. I have nice breasts but if you saw me topless you would see stretch marks and flat nipples. Am I curvy? Voluptuous? Hourglass? Pear? Pleasantly plump? People call me cute, pretty, sometimes sexy, rarely beautiful. I’m told I have soulful eyes, rosy cheeks, and a kissable mouth. My legs are strong from walking everywhere but my thighs touch and I get prickly heat in the summer. Everything about my body has been in a constant state of change for years now-early puberty, maturity, frosh fifteen on, add the depression ten, weight off, muscle added, then pregnancy, then nursing, and now…something new.
Having a baby changed everything. My body wasn’t solely mine any more, and it still isn’t. I cried when my breasts changed with pregnancy, when my nipples darkened. But those breasts fed a baby for six months, and still do. That tummy pouch carried a child. This is a body that carries and cradles my daughter, that lays in bed nursing and tickling and cuddling, that pushes a stroller all over Ottawa. I do not always recognize myself when I am naked, but I am a beautiful woman with a beautiful body.
I try to respect this body, treat it well. I’m still learning how to dress it, as nothing much fits the way it used to-my legs and bum and waist are smaller from walking, but my breast and hips and grown. Mostly I dress for comfort, for chasing kids at work, and for nursing. Today I dressed it for glamour-put on a cabled tunic dress and heavy tights. Played with what little makeup I own. Admired my jewelry collection, carefully choosing my earrings. I felt fabulous, and looked fabulous. As I flirted with myself in the mirror, I noticed Georgia smiling, beaming. She thinks she has a beautiful mama. She does. I need to remember that.