Monday, June 11, 2012

The Shape of a Mother

I was a (typical) snot of a teen/young adult. So sure of how things in the world worked, what the best way to do things.

I was always hard on my body. As I fought it’s growing shape into adulthood I treated my body like it was a force to be controlled, shaped, trained. There was no excuse for not being fit and healthy, it was simple; eat well and exercise. If you don’t eat well, you exercise more. If you don’t exercise you eat less. Simple math of calories in calories out. Anyone could do it, if you didn’t you were clearly lazy.


I remember it quiet clearly. Shopping with my mother and Victoria’s {not so} Secret. My mother, not the image of health and wellness. Her spine curved into an unnatural way making her shorter then me, hunched over and older looking then she is. My mother who doesn’t eat vegetables (but served them nightly). My mother who was soft around the edges, her softness exaggerated by the odd shape her body was forced to take.

By contrast I looked tall and lean, despite being just a few inches taller. Legs toned from running and yoga. Back strong and straight not suffering the unfortunate genetics that had befell her. Looking back I am sure I thought I was flawed, with a little too much belly and not enough on top, shopping at Victoria’s hoping to find the secret to looking like the image I had in my head.

My mom asked me to help her find a size, when she told me the size I froze.

That was impossible it was the same size as me, clearly we were not the same shape. Clearly one of us was wrong, delusional and it was not me.


I think back to that lean naive girl and I laugh. So foolish so vain.

I have grown not just in size and heart but in mind.

I have learned that it’s not a simple math problem, oh the basics are, calories in calories out. It’s more complicated than that. It’s choosing toddler cuddles over an hour at the gym. It’s about growing a family and babies and filling a body with love.

The shape of a mother doesn’t come from the gym, but it comes from her children.

I may be softer, and rounder and larger, but I am a mother. This body has grown 5 children and brought three into the world. It has nourished them for 36.5 months. It has the strength to carry them and the softness to comfort them. It’s slays monsters and dragons and dances ballet with princesses.

It may not be the long lean vision of my youth, the one I so easily took for granted, but it is powerful and strong. It is learning that the true shape of beauty comes not from the gym, but from the image you create in your head and heart.


Jill said...

Beautiful! Thank you!

lupakitty said...

All mothers should read this! This is so true. As much as I dislike the fact my breast hang lower and my stomach will never be flat again, I'm proud I can grow and nourish my children.

Thank you!

Corinne Cunningham said...

Amen sister :) this is so beautiful... My favorite of yours.

Corinne Cunningham said...

Amen sister :) this is so beautiful... My favorite of yours.

Toni said...

I have been fighting body image and weight since I was 8 years old...yes, 8. I still think about it every day. After 13 years, do you think it's still okay to blame my baby belly on pregnancy? lol

Beautiful post, beautiful person :)

Melisa Wells said...

Great post, Melissa. It's a good reminder!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

That second-to-last paragraph? LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!