The “Extra”

I am learning over the years to accept my body as it is. I still eat healthy, and I will likely always exercise to stay “in shape.” I stopped reading women’s magazines years ago because I could no longer handle funding the pictures of so-called “perfection” offered as truth to the women (and men) in our society.  Unfortunately their images remain inside at times and taunt me to be like them. Or, at minimum, pursue me so I feel badly that I will never be like them.  This struggle is not what it once was, but truthfully it still catches me stronger than I would like at times.
The day I came home from the hospital I stood in front of the mirror. I didn’t quite fit into the biggest jeans I had.  Belly hanging over my sweats more than ever; a new squishy-ness to many parts of me.  No baby in my arms to help me not care.  But as I stood there a new thing happened that I didn’t see coming…ever. I had literally never loved my body so much. Its beauty struck me as I considered all it had done that week. It gave birth to an amazing little boy who I love dearly. It knew instinctively what to do, and how to recover. The “extra”
I have right now reminds me of what was, the beauty of a woman’s body, and all God created us to do. I feel a pride inside of me.  I praise God for such mysteries and am honored to be a woman.
A new level of sadness also set in for our culture and the pressure woman face to swallow the “truth” set before us by the magazines, movies, and pornographers. Women who have walked the road of carrying a child especially, to get back as quickly as possible to our “skinny jeans.”  To not show what we have done and miraculous road we have walked.  I am sad for our culture. Men, good men, who try not to believe these lies but are bombarded with these images. It’s sad.
Life comes with many seasons. Women come in many shapes. I still eat healthy, I still exercise (or will eventually), but with a different heart.  With a heart of gratitude for being a woman, for being able to bear a child, for being called to be a (spiritual) mother to those younger than me whether I have living children or not.  I am also thankful for the men who fight the good fight with us. Who cherish our bodies for the way they are.  Who look away when they are being all but forced to swallow new lies. Who long for women who are real women, and who choose to be men who are real men. I honor you all.  

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One thought on “The “Extra”

  1. This is astonishingly profound…I don't think I have ever met a single woman who accepts her body for what it is, who doesn't punish her body for not looking like an errant version of itself, who embraces the knowledge that women are genetically designed for motherhood. Even I, someone who has always been "petite," struggle with my body. Thank goodness for husbands who reassure us that perfection is not in the pages of the Victoria's Secret catalog…we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
    You are so beautiful!