Women are at war with their bodies. From when we are very young we are encouraged to view our lovely bodies with suspicion and disgust. Whether it’s a photoshopped supermodel on a billboard, or a boho supermum doing yoga on the beach, the self-harm is the same.
We look at the radiant curated image of what society deems perfection, and we measure ourselves next to her. We fail. We are always going to fail – because billboards are never going to promote images of women that make us feel good about ourselves.
The predominant narrative about the female body is that our bodies are wrong. The narrative exists to make us feel less than we are. We believe we are too fat. We obsess over the shape of our breasts. The curve of our tummy. That our butts aren’t round enough. We rage at our bodies for not being billboard perfect. Our lips are too thin, our foreheads are wrinkled. We are condemned to feeling unwanted and unloveable in our prison of self-loathing; our bodies.
How can we, as women, have positive powerful relationships with those around us, how can we be powerful in the world if we don’t have a powerful loving relationship with our own bodies?
This year I made a pledge to myself not to use any negative language or thoughts about my body. I decided to only speak to my body with kindness. I decided to love my body and honour the stories that she carries. The things she has achieved – what she has endured. This is my mum body. My soft, fierce, sensual, strong, and amazing mum body.
I honour my breasts – the breasts that fed four of my children for 11 years. They are not the breasts of my 21-year-old self – they were working breasts, now retired – these are the soft heavy breasts of a woman in her 50s. I love my breasts. I still love to wear a low-cut top, to show the world my lovely middle-aged woman tits. My real tits. The world needs to see more real tits.
I love my strong feet; feet that scream when I wear heels and breathe a sigh of relief when I don runners or thongs. I love my legs. My legs that were once smooth and brown, that are now lightly circled with veins. Tiny explosions that spider the top of my thighs – and behind my knees. Proof of life. A varicose tattoo. These legs have carried my heavy body through four pregnancies. They have run on beaches, kicked me through waves, and have walked me home late at night.
I love the perpetual roundness of my tummy. The soft skin that has stretched as tight as a drum to carry my children, then shrunk back to a smaller enduring roundness. I love the roll of sumptuous flesh that sits above my jeans. The dimple of my bellybutton. My giant glorious butt. An arse that can’t be caught by two hands alone.
And my vagina! My amazing vagina that has birthed all my children in a matter of hours; like birthing was as simple as breathing. The vagina that has given me both exquisite pleasure, and exquisite pain.
I love my face. I think I love my face more now than I ever have. This is my mother’s face. This is my face. I see the story lines across my forehead, the places where my eyes crinkle because I laugh hard and a lot. It reminds me of my happy life. But there is evidence of sadness too.
I look at my hands, the strong hands that have unpacked a million dishwashers, hung washing, soothed fevered brows, applied lipstick, made cakes, served kids at canteen. My hard-working mother’s hands.
This is my mother’s body. My unremarkable remarkable body. I am perfect. And so are you.
This Mothers’ Day I challenge you to write your body a love letter, and then to carry that through the year. A year of self-love and kindness. I wonder, if you do this, if we all do this, just what we will see next Mothers’ Day?
What do we look like when we love ourselves?
Let’s rewrite the narrative about our bodies. Worship your Mum Bod!