Disheartened, I wrote a very poor poem which I will not share with you now - but the gist of my reflection was as mothers we shouldn't strive to look like a young girl. Our bodies are a reflection of our sacrifice, our selfless giving, our devotion. From the crows feet to the stretch marks to the fallen arches from head to toe our bodies have transformed through childbirth - that is a not a bad thing. We can admire the beauty in a young childless woman, but we should also be able to recognize the beauty in our own imperfect forms as well.
I still hold to that notion.
I fear that we send a horrible message to our daughters when we undergo unnecessary plastic surgery in pursuit of enhancing our bodies. Skinnier is not better. Implanting our breasts with something to make them bigger is not better. Obsessing about what we look like on the outside is dangerous and there are real risks with every surgery. I want my daughters to embrace the body they are given to house their souls, not lament about it.
There are also changes that happen internally that women don't often talk about… Quite honestly after just 2 kids I didn't ever even think about those changes. With each pregnancy the organs in the body shift to accommodate the growing uterus. It is a miraculous thing that the baby can grow and our organs are just fine being shoved around. But then the baby is out, and the body, what, just remembers where everything is supposed to be? Magically that stomach and gall bladder return to their homes?
Well not always.
A whopping 300,000 surgeries are performed each year to help women who have pelvic organ prolapse ,which although not as common a surgery as breast implants, far out numbers tummy tucks. Fifty percent of women between the ages of 50-79 will be diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse. What is this? Just what it sounds like. The organs in your pelvic region are not where they are supposed to be. And it isn't the only 'crazy' side effect of motherhood - What about abdominal hernia and diastasis recti? You know- that Mommy Tummy that occurs when the stomach muscles don't go back together - it can be a real medical condition - not just a cosmetic issue. Repair of the abdominal hernia is the most common surgery there is (due to many things other than pregnancy as well). There are all sorts of other medical issues I am sure as well but you get the point.
So now I am forced to review the naive stance taken in my 20s… These tracks of motherhood - the stretch marks and saggy breasts, the loose skin and other things that have us sighing or avoiding the full length mirrors when we change - how do we determine when to 'fix' the things that have changed over the years.
And the answer is we fix what is broken, not because we don't like the way it looks but rather because it doesn't work any more.
If our muscles aren't working anymore, we fix it. If our excretory system isn't functioning correctly we fix it, just like we would fix a broken bone. If we are still carrying that extra 10 or 15 lbs. we should fix that too so that our body works better. We should strive to be healthy.
As mothers we should not neglect our own health
in an attempt to decry vanity.
Do you see all the things that are wrong with you or do you see yourself as God sees you? Beautifully created for a unique purpose in this world.
Thanks for stopping by and taking some time to think with me!