Goodness gracious, I have put you through a lot. From the first time I broke my left leg when I was 2 years old and hobbled around on a cast with one of my Dad’s giant socks pulled over it, to falling off the merry-go-round in fourth grade and needing stitches just above my knee where a sharp edge gouged out a hole. From flipping my pink-and-gray 10-speed bike over while riding down Devil’s Hill in North Dakota, to flipping head over heels on a trampoline in my backyard in California, banging my foot on the side rails and breaking it again.
From volleyball practice, to walking home from school. From days on my feet working at the candy store on the boardwalk in the summer, to drinking too much before Christmas break in college and puking so hard my eyes became bloodshot. And only several years ago, putting you through training for my first half marathon, then my second, and demanding you try Zumba, spinning, body pump, kickboxing, bellydancing, barre, yoga, swimming and now Torque, where I lift weights, do push-ups and squats and lunges and run hills.
Through it all, from as young as I can remember, you have helped me do all of these things. You’ve helped me hug my loved ones, you’ve helped me lounge around and read books. You’ve walked streets of Chicago, New York, Atlanta, London, Paris, Dublin and more.
And all the while, I’ve hated you.
I’ve hated your size. I’ve hated your rolls. I’ve hated your stretch marks and your flabbiness and most of all, I’ve hated how you jiggle.
For far too long, I’ve hated the thighs that hold me up for being too dimply. I’ve hated the arms that hold me as I sleep at night for being too soft and squishy. I’ve hated the butt I sit on for it’s cellulite and expanse. And I’ve hated my belly. The roundness and the softness and the wideness of my belly.
But now. Now there’s a sweet baby girl growing in that belly. This is where she lives, this is where she eats and hears my voice and the voice of her Dad.
Now my body is working overtime to bring us a child, to help her grow and form her little fingers and toes, her arms and legs, her belly and head and neck.
And I don’t want her to hate her body. I want her to recognize the joy it brings her — the jumping and running and hugging and dancing. I want her to see her body for all it can do and all she wants it to do. I want her to show her body respect and appreciation for moving her through this life.
You have given me so much, and now you’re giving me the gift of life. And even if another woman never has a child, her body has given her life, too. It has given her abilities that she probably takes for granted — I know I have.
It’s time I thank you, my body, for the beautiful moments we’ve had, and all those that are yet to come, and say I am sorry. I’m sorry for the times I’ve treated you badly, that I haven’t taken care of you. I’m sorry for when I haven’t given you credit for moving me, for embracing me, even when I hated you.
I am sorry, body. I promise to try to learn to love you, every inch of you — squishy belly and soft arms and dimply thighs and all.
I promise to thank you more often and treat you better.
I promise to love you.