Belly Drums

“Hey mom! You have a big ol’ belly! It looks great for playing the drums!” I look up at my three and a half year old daughter, and she is wearing the biggest grin I have ever seen and her eyes are bright with admiration as she begins to pat both our bellies. “Yours is louder, Mom but one day mine will be big too.”
I learned a long time ago that, in her eyes, we are both equally fabulous. Once upon a time, I cringed when my tiny, fabulous daughter would talk about “us pretty ladies.” I’m not going to lie: I still struggle with how life and experience has changed my body. For me, that might always be the way life goes, but my goal is to change that for my daughter.
I came across this post, and I bookmarked it so that I always have it to read. The author is spot on: the people that love me will want me in photos. They love me unconditionally and I am my own worst critic. Once I became a mother to my daughter, I realized that she is watching and imitating. I knew that I needed to be on my A game. So I stopped the pinching and pulling. I stopped the fat talk. I refused to grimace when she notices a part of me that I feel is flawed because she does not see it that way.
It has been said time and time again: we are bombarded with unhealthy expectations for our bodies. We are shown a one-size-fits-all body type and some truth get lost along the way.
I am reminded of a book we had in our home when I was a child. I was fascinated by the drawings in a particular chapter that showed the progression of a female body from child to elderly.  I could not wait to grow up. The female form curved a bit in the middle as the drawing progressed into child-bearing years. In all my years of studying that book, (which also contained a great chapter on various forms of body modification) I saw the female body as ever changing. Somewhere along the way, I lost that imagery.
My body has carried four babies to term. I have been fortunate enough to be not only fertile, but able to supply more than enough breast milk for my children. This process has forever changed my body. I have stretch marks that look like cross hatching. My skin is stretched to the point you can no longer see the scar from where my younger brother bit me when we were kids, and my abdomen muscles separated. I have a postpartum baby bump that makes me the perfect pillow and chair for my young children. I certainly find myself wishing fashion was better suited for my new mom body and I suddenly have a very solid understanding of the concept of mom jeans.
My body might not fit the current beauty standards, but it is strong and purposeful. When my daughter tells me we are beautiful ladies, I agree. I work hard to silence the part of me that seeks to view these changes through a negative lens. I speak about our bodies in terms of strong and healthy versus chubby or skinny.
And when my daughter notices the drum quality of my four times postpartum body? I say “Yes. It is a fantastic drum. Thank you for noticing.”
 
j&h
 

Jess Fayette

Jess Fayette

Jess is a writer, wife to Matt, and mom to six children living in the Omaha area. Before choosing to stay at home with her family, she spent several years working with low income women that had experienced sexual or domestic violence. She also writes at (www.jessfayette.com) and is passionate about domestic and sexual violence survivor advocacy, books, and her DVR.
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