Jennifer Garner is my new hero. In case you missed it, she confirmed her baby bump on Ellen recently. You can watch it here. I too have a baby bump.
Back in July, I was asked twice in two days if I was pregnant, by nurses no less. Now, I am the first to admit that I have a belly. Four kids, including twins with a combined birth weight of 6.3kgs will do that to you. 117 weeks of pregnancy and 14.06kg of babies. The only way my stomach will ever be flat again is if I have a tummy tuck. Society seems to have this expectation that women’s bodys return to their pre-pregnancy state within in months of giving birth, that having a belly must mean you’re pregnant. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish my stomach was flatter, it’s hard to keep the media’s voice of what beauty is, out of your head some days. But I’m also proud of my belly. It housed two decent sized singleton babies until they decided to make their entrance, and then ‘big for twins’ until 38 weeks and 1 day.
The expectations on how we look seem to sneak their way in without us noticing, and at such young ages. My daughter has asked me a few times why my tummy is still fat. And while she accepts my explanations on separated muscles and stretched skin, I don’t know how long it will last. Recently, she came home from school saying she wanted to be skinny because one of her friends told her that you have to be skinny to be pretty. She turns 6 at the end of this week. Six. Besides the fact that she’s a bean pole, and is pretty, I don’t want her to focus on these things. I want her to love her body because it’s healthy, because she can run and jump and dance and swim. And I want her to love doing those things because they are fun and they make her strong, fit and healthy. I want her to be proud of herself for trying, and mastering tasks she thought she couldn’t, for reading and writing and drawing. I want her to know that her beauty comes from the way she treats people, for running to get a teacher’s help when her friend fell of the monkey bars and broke her arm, for comforting her baby brothers when they are upset, for wanting to help those less fortunate than we are. I want her to believe that in a society where image seems to be everything, our image is not who we are, is not what’s important.
This will start with me. I have a baby bump that’s not going anywhere because its name is Dylan, Mahalia, Harry, and Zach. I’m learning to love my baby bump, because without it, I wouldn’t be me.