Bodies, Bellies, Beings

Sultry and hazy

These aren’t even the dog days of summer

But my mind and body have slowed to an almost stand-still

Waiting for relief.

My body swells in the heat

And not unpleasantly,

I take up much much much

More room

Spilling out

Into the universe

In ways that

Used to horrify me.

But now I want to take up space,

Spread my muscled arms

Tinged and pocked with fat

Why should I hide them?

No one really cares.

If there is one thing I understand

Since becoming a mother

It’s that no one is really looking at you anyway.

Mothers are the taken-for-granted

Backdrop of life.

Lifting, hefting, heaving

Doing the work

That some people have the luxury of choreographing at the gym.

Instead,

Mothers like me

Inhabit alien bodies

That have been through

Hell and back

With a kind of ease that

Professional dancers would envy.

Mothers navigate and negotiate

A world

Full of before and after pictures

While just trying to find some

Peace in their own afters.

After pregnancy

After childbirth

After your new life descends like a hammer.

After.

Why spend all our time hating ourselves

When we have so much else to do?

Multitasking is the bane

Of a woman’s existence

But it shouldn’t have to include

Thinking we are unworthy.

Bodies, bellies, beings

This is raw stuff of womanhood.

If we embraced

Rather than rejected

Imagine how much more powerful

We could be.