There are so many things I would like to see happen differently for women who are pregnant, women who have given birth, and women who want to have babies. A majority of it lives within the language we speak and the language we tolerate from others. As all things are generated from language first, this will be the first step before we can do anything differently in the world (policies, laws, etc).
One incorrect belief that I find that we hold unitedly is the belief that women’s bodies are downgraded after pregnancy and birth, and that because of that, there is a body to recover, or to get back. This is a belief that I would like to see eradicated by the time I leave this planet. So I’m starting here, to offer another point of view through language, and will continue to encourage people to change their minds.
Here’s what I believe to be true:
1. Just like any other intensely physical experience I’ve had in my life (a yoga practice, discovering new strength I didn’t know existed), my birth served as this amazing (painful, yes) experience that demonstrated the power that my physical body holds. Because I chose to have a medicated free birth, the work, (and yes pain)was handled all by my body. While I was glad that I had a team there to support me, especially at the end, my body knew exactly what it was doing and my mind was the one catching up. ( I recognize that this isn’t the case for everyone who experiences birth, and that there are complications that arise during this process. Yay for modern medicine)
2. Being pregnant again and having a 3 year old has taught me that I don’t have to think about making a baby for my body to make one. It innately knows how to make one,and I don’t have to block off hours of my day to concentrate on making lungs, or fingernails, or a spine for another person. This is incredible. How is this amazing process worthy of a downgrade?
3. Women’s bodies are also capable of not only growing a baby for 9 months, but then continuing to grow a baby once it’s in the world. Babies can be sustained for a long time on the milk that is produced through a woman’s body, without anything added. This milk not only provides nourishment to help a babe grow, it also serves as a way to keep the babe healthy through antibodies from the mama. (also have you read any of the studies that they are doing that women’s milk is the new cure for cancer?! Amazing to say the least). (*also, I recognize that this isn’t the experience or desire of every woman out there)
4. Women are literally the reason that the human race continues to exist. The process of becoming a mom is challenging: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Getting pregnant can be hard, and they don’t always go as planned. And then for some reason we agreed to the idea that women’s bodies need to go BACK to something. Yes, there is strength to be regained, and a new body exists that women can choose how they want to create it.
5. Nobody in my life has loved me less because I have stretch marks and cellulite. My body doesn’t work any less powerfully because of these things either. Nothing in my life has been profoundly impacted by any of this. What has profoundly impacted my life, my body, and my mind, is knowing and OWNING what my body is capable of through the growing and birthing of a child. I have learned what I am capable of physically, and what I can do, and also through this experience learned the reverence of rest and taking care of my body. Some of both practices were missing before.
So let’s start a new conversation, and use new words. Instead of on insisting that we go back, can we create brand new and even better than before as we stand in our power as women and creators of life?