My late-husband and I chose to have a baby. It was a good decision. It changed our lives. It changed the capacity we thought our hearts had to give. It changed our perspective. It changed my shape.
Now that my spouse has passed away, sometimes I look at my changed body, and I wonder how another man will love it. My body was not changed by a choice I made with another man. It was changed by a choice I made with my husband who’s no longer here.
I had a caesarian birth. There is a scar across my abdomen I lovingly call my kangaroo pouch. The skin around my lower stomach is stretched out like a stretched, and then squished, marshmallow. Silvery jagged lines scar my thighs, hips, and breasts. My breasts became larger than I knew what to do with while I was nursing. They were incredible. They were incredible because they fed a human being. They sustained my daughter’s life and growth. And then, the milk went away, and they shrunk. In fact, I don’t think they’ve stopped for a map to know I think they’re going in the wrong direction, but that is exactly the problem. The question isn’t whether another man will love the body my late-husband and I decided to change. The question is, will I? Will I love my body, and admire its beauty, so when another man sees me he’ll admire it too? Only, I’ve come to notice something. It’s not about a person’s shape and size as much as it is about the one thing that cannot be seen.
Photographer: Jade Beall (used with permission)
Photographer Jade Beall recently posted the above photo. It struck a cord. Not just in me. In many people. In many woman. Woman who are calling this image “beautiful,” because it is. It’s not the typical photo one would expect to see. It takes the piece many try to hide away and gracefully brings it to the light of true elegance. This image has that “thing.” The element that cannot be seen. It is confident. It is love. This confident love is resonating with others. It is beckoning them to love their bodies too, because they are beautiful.
My body is changed, yes, and I love my changed body. Its modified shape, its redefined silhouette, my coconut-shaped bum and my tangerine-shaped breasts, every limb and scar and stretch mark is beautiful. These lines are the road map of my story; a story I want to share. A story I wouldn’t change.
If you want to participate in Jade Beall’s “Beautiful Body Project,” click here.