Honoring the Belly

A full torso cast of me, pregnant at @32 weeks.

All my adult life, regardless of how much or how little I weigh, I've been asked when I'm due*. My belly is rounded and pushes out, defying the flat-stomach ideal that is our current cultural norm. And I do not suck it in. (Although I am trying to figure out how to actively engage my core as that link suggests.)

I once flabbergasted a bunch of fashion models by showcasing the six pack that used to lie under the softness of my belly. Teaching belly dance classes** meant my abs were in amazing shape, despite the soft layer of normal fat that lay on top of all that muscle. Amazing abs aren't the goal of belly dance, but they're a beautiful by-product, nontheless. 

Still, the shape of my belly (that it does not spread out, but pushes forward) is genetic***, most likely.

I look pregnant to most people, even when I'm not. 

This obviously causes some embarrassment and frustration.

But even when I'm wishing I didn't look quite so pregnant, I still love the shape of my belly. It is my shape. My belly has seen me through all my days, with style and grace. This is who I am, there is no point decrying it. My body is beautiful, just the way it is, pregnant-looking belly and all. Some days it is hard to keep reminding myself of this truth, but it is true, nonetheless: I am beautiful. My body is beautiful. Every day.

I'll let you know when I'm ready to say the same thing about my double chin. I'm not quite ready to embrace it as a symbol of my own beauty. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.___________
* Some days my tummy is more distended than other days, because of bloating and/or food babies.

** Actually, despite the fact that I'm not currently teaching belly dance, my abs are still pretty damn amazing. I make sure I can still do belly rolls. My flutters are a hot mess since having Remy, but I can finally do a belly roll up and down!

*** And also somewhat gender specific, since we XX peeps have a whole reproductive tract that fills up our abdominal cavity, whereas the XY variation hangs free ;-D