Save the Dance-Off for the Dance Floor!
I read a viral blog post on a local news paper page about how a woman found a way to love her body after having bore 4 children in 5 years. It piqued my interest because obviously I am a woman, mother and I work in the pregnancy sector! I wanted to see what set this post apart from all the other remarkable blogs about the battle with body image...
I am not one to review other people's blogs, but I wanted to share my thoughts about this one and I would encourage others to explore their feelings about this topic too.
I have been intimately involved in the world of pregnancy for over 7 years, I work with expectant mothers and have been twice pregnant myself I find this story all too familiar. What I have witnessed over these years is cyclical trends, from what is and who has the best stroller to women's perceptions of themselves as they navigate this tricky journey into motherhood.
It is most often an angry sea of crashing waves, at times the swells brim with love and positivity but more often than not shame, judgment and contest overshadow it all. Along the way we (a collective of new moms) appear to be getting smarter, more educated but somehow we still fall into these deep dark ruts of negative body image.
What is a double edged sword for new moms coming up the ranks is that there is so much access to stories like this, access to people who are just like us who claim to have "won" the battle with their body in pregnancy and post birth, they speak of how they no longer feel in a tug-of-war with their body, BUT then they have or nearly have lost all their pregnancy weight.
It's fraught with hopefullness, optimism, critical self-judgement, elitist behaviour.... I could go on.
It's fucking confusing is what it is!
This blog post although a great story from a beautiful woman casts a strong sense of shame, self-judgment and better-than-you attitude even though she is trying to convince us and perhaps herself otherwise. She describes her dissociation from her body during her pregnancy with her twins and her journey to "get my body back", two points that championed me to make my thoughts public.
I have been working with and encouraging hundreds of women to "live in the now", not the "as soon as" or "in another 10lbs" realm. I advocate presence, to not disassociate mind from body but rather to connect on a genuinely profound level. Disassociation of mind from body during anytime in life and specifically a vulnerable time such as pregnancy and early motherhood can lead to all sorts of emtional and physical hardships. Ones body doesn't leave or go anywhere in pregnancy so there is nothing to "get back", this trusty physical manifestation of awesomness is right where it always has been, it just looks different and needs tender loving care. Embracing the physical body at every stage in life (now and forever) is the only path to freedom. Freedom from body-image and a whole plethora of other issues, there is no exercise or diet that will accomplish this work, it can only happen with a healthy assosiation between mind and body. So when a post like this goes viral it shows me that the cycle is unbroken, it begins again with a different look but same outcome. We have a lot of work to do.
Insecurities that we face as modern women and mothers are not unique to any one of us and the pressures to not fall victim to them is a daily struggle we all share. It's like we are all on a dance floor and rather than swaying together we are perpetually having an epic, unceasing, relentless dance off...
And it's exhausting...