I am on my 30th week of pregnancy and needless to say I am counting. For some weird reason, my head is filled with thoughts of dread nothing to do with labour or bringing out the baby; flashes of pregnant Elsa Pataky getting mocked at this year’s Oscars and accused for carrying a “beer belly” and not a twin-pregnant bump crosses my mind. I am also reminded how Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai became the butt of all cruel jibes and extreme criticism last year for not “bouncing” back to her former self in a matter of months. Ironically, most of the jibes in both cases came from men or women who choose not to have a baby (absolutely nothing wrong with it though).
We do live in a funny world where we expect newbie mums to suddenly become alpha mothers with a perfect waistline. Because anything less than that is an unworthy sight, apparently. I do have my moments of doubt, moments when I think I look like a baby elephant and that my prized legs would never be the same again. But accepting my body comes naturally to me—I was a size UK 12 when I was my biggest and a size UK 6 when I was the smallest (just few months before my pregnancy). Surprisingly, the earth did not shatter or my brains and smarts did not stop working when I was a 12. Life (and a bloody good one at that), went on.
Till now, I have only felt wonderment towards my own blossoming curves. If at all, pregnancy has brought in greater respect and appreciation to the wonderful, goddess-like female form. And every time, the sliver of doubt enters my mind, I quickly remind myself of what my hubby and my BFF often tells me, “A life chose to live and develop there, enjoy it, nurture it, treat it like the blessing it is.” Truer words have not been spoken.
Almost everyone will tell you that pregnancy is a wonderful journey what no one will tell you that it is equally challenging. Throughout these 40 weeks (that is almost 10 months) you experience some or other pain, you experience massive mood swings that makes your regular PMS seem like a cake walk and yet this little life develops from the size of a rice grain to a full-fledged human being; oblivious to everything.
I still don’t know how us women get the strength to go through this journey but one thing I am sure of is this: those who call the female gender the weaker sex should definitely get their brains tested because my friends there is nothing “weak” about this whole journey. As American actress Betty White famously said, “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”And the journey is over only after an intensive (mostly) period of labour; after a good amount of pounding. Isn’t it incredible that only if us women decide to go through this journey; life as we know would perpetuate?
To me, it has been (so far) a rather powerful journey. But as they say with great power comes great responsibility. I would loath if my child is enslaved to the weighing scale ever; or if she or he fails to understand that we are more than our bodies; that there are so many things that makes a person attractive and that beauty is not just restricted to some size numbers.
I have begun to accept the stretched skin, the stripes and even the scars I will get because I know pregnancy is only the dress rehearsal to parenthood that will teach me to yield and adapt. Most women tell me that eventually you forget about the stretch marks, the squishy belly and expanding thighs; because there is a lifetime of selflessness and compassion to be learnt. Suddenly, “bouncing” back to your former shape seems last of the challenge that motherhood bestows, isn’t it?
Now, despite knowing this truth; if someone has the nerve to critise the wonderful female body and not give it the respect it deserves, this is what I will tell them, “Why don’t you try squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon and see how hot YOU look?”
Well, we all know the answer to that one ;).
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