The Perfect Imperfection

Here’s what I looked like a year ago.

Fotor041512471Before_2

I am adamant that people should love themselves and their bodies at all points along their journey, not just when they reach their goals. However, loving that body was hard! I had chronic knee pain, I felt heavy and sluggish and I was depressed.

After a year of DDP Yoga, here is what my body looks like:

image Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 22.55.11

My arms are ripped for the first time in my life ever; they have gone from being the body part I covered in the hottest weather to being the part I love ogling in the mirror. My once chronically sore knees ran a half-marathon and are training for a full. And my midsection is beast mode strong. It looks great and my core strength allows me to do all manner of yoga moves.

However, there’s one feature on my mid-section that’s not so perfect. From my belly down is covered in stretch marks. They are mostly white now, but when stretched out, I look like a burn victim. Also, when it’s cold, they go red. I’m like a Harry Potter for wintery temperatures… lamest super power ever!

My initial instinct was to cover up my stretch marks from even myself, and focus on the more aesthetically pleasing parts of my body. But in keeping with my lectures to others about loving all the good and bad of themselves, I reminded myself to think about where I got my stretch marks. I have a beautiful and brilliant three-year-old daughter. My love for her is so profound, it erases any vanity or body issues I may have. I would choose having my entire body covered in stretch marks as long as I got to be her mother.

But the stretch marks also represent my strength and determination. When I was pregnant, the thought of a hospital birth terrified me. All the needles, drugs, medical staff making decisions about me and my body, and completely losing control over my birthing experience kept me up at night. I have heard horror stories of doctors “pitting to distress” so they can then order a c-section and get home on time (for more information, I highly recommend this book). To capture some control of what would happen, I wrote a lengthy birth plan, and practiced for a natural birth, but I knew the birth plan was unlikely to be read, and as this was my first child, I had no idea how natural labor would go.

I’m going to cut a long story short here, and just say that my wonderful, strong body took control of the situation for me by giving me an unplanned homebirth, thus avoiding all the things I was worried about. I was able to control myself, my breathing, and my body to have such a painless labor, that we didn’t realise how far along I was. The active labor lasted 20 minutes, and I delivered a 9 lb 7 oz child at home with nothing but a doula, my husband and my own strength of will.

So every time I look at my stretch marks, I don’t see ugly scars. I am reminded of my wonderful daughter, and I am also reminded that I am a f%$&ing warrior with the strength to do anything I set my mind to!

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6 comments

    1. Hi Cathy, thanks for your comment. I try to keep this blog as inoffensive and accessible as I can, but I also need to strike a balance between that goal and truthfully expressing myself and the strength of my emotion. I understand profanity is a sensitive issue in the US, but in Ireland, it’s just not that big of a deal. I hoped that by censoring the word I would strike that balance, but I am unable to control people’s reactions beyond that.
      Liz

      1. Thanks for the reply, Liz. Damn would have been less offensive in the states. Even god with a little g makes a christian’s skin crawl. I really enjoy your posts. BTW, You are a beautiful Tiger that has earned her stripes. 🙂

      2. Thanks Cathy, I didn’t realise you were talking about the “g**d***” within the image at the bottom: that’s actually an image from a third party, I didn’t make it. While I am not religious myself, I tend to avoid using religious profanity (e.g. g**d***) out of respect for those who are both in writing and in person. I though you were talking about the, albeit censored, use of the f-word in the main text. I do use that word liberally in person, sorry 🙂

  1. I know how you feel! I have a lot of stretch marks. I was pregnant with twins and have a short torso so there was no where for them to go but out. I’ve got some pretty deep marks and though they’re white, as I lose weight they definitely show. But my twins are 12 now, about to turn 13, and I earned every one of those stripes!

    1. Wow, twins!!! I am in awe of any woman whose body does that. All childbirth is a miracle, but it’s even more impressive when more than one child is made! Yes, you earned every one of those stripes. My daughter is three, and I’m certainly earning my stripes right now!!!

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