Ian, at my gentle urging a month or two ago, scheduled a massage for me today, my first official Mother's Day. Really, I would've loved to celebrate Mother's Day last year as well, but someone, who shall go unnamed, said that I wasn't a real mom yet because I wasn't carrying a real baby yet. I suppose this is a result of the women's movement.
When I walked in the dimly lit room with candles and soft music, the masseuse asked me what I'd like to to focus on in my time. "Well," I said, I had a baby a few months ago. I nurse, so my posture is deplorable and my back is sore, and I'm still having occasional pain from my cesarean five months ago."
Did I want her to work on my abs. I thought about it, I thought about what my stomach looked like. And I said, "Sure."
She left the room, and I stripped down and laid on the massage table. She came back in and started on my neck and back, moved to my arms. Then she lifted up the towel that was covering my backside, and asked me softly to slowly roll over. I paused for a second, and inhaled.
I don't think I've shown my stomach to anyone besides Ian, my mom, and my doctor since I gave birth five months ago. It is, shall we say, a bit flabby, and not what I thought my stomach would ever look like, especially when I consider my bikini-clad self on my honeymoon two years ago. The pregnancy left me with hundreds of stretch marks (this is not an exaggeration, I literally cannot count them all), not just on my stomach but on my hips, butt, and upper thighs. I even have a few rogue stretch marks in my armpits (this perplexes me to no end), on my calves, and on my breasts (at least these make sense!). The skin on my lower stomach is loose and somewhat resembles cottage cheese, even though the my skin is tightening and my stretch marks are lightening.
I had to muster up a little bravery, but really, it's Mother's Day, and I have to accept what comes with being a Mom. So I rolled over and exposed my big, momma belly, flaws and all. It was perhaps the first time I've accepted being Mom versus just being Felicity's mom. Maybe I'm not explaining the difference well, but Ian and I sometimes sit around with Felicity and think how funny it is that we have a tiny human that lives with us that we happen to take care of. We more see ourselves as her caretakers than as Parents (Parents with a capital P, that is). My parents are Parents. My mom is a Mom. How can I take on these roles?
I don't really have an answer, and am a little of unsure of how to end this post, except to link to The Shape of a Mother, a really beautiful website that I found almost a year ago.
Here I am, a real Woman, a real Mom.