one cannot spell postpartum without art and tum

IMG_7709 34 weeks pregnant with the twins

This week on I wrote about the juggernaut that is body image. 

...As an adult, I have learned to embrace my body as a thing I am okay with not loving all the time. In other words, I have made peace with the parts I cannot help but loathe. Instead of trying to embrace my body, I have embraced my inability to, and found peace through accepting that I was never going to be the body confident superhero I always wished I was. And that? That has set me free...
IMG_9219 Yesterday. My "baby bump" never quite went away. 

...When I gave birth to my first daughter, I decided to forgive myself for all the times I cursed my reflection when I should have been in awe of it.

Since then, I have learned to embrace my body by looking, not in the mirror, but through it. 

...And yet. There's still that nagging voice—the one that reeks of criticism and shame and self-loathing... the voice that appeared somewhere around my 13th birthday and has loitered within me for the last two decades...
....Which brings me to last week, when Revi came home with her "Happy" collage and the words she dictated to her teacher that read, "Mama's tummy makes me happy." I mean. Of all the things in the world, that is what she picked...  My post c- section/lumpy/bumpy/bulge-y belly?
Amazing. And all at once I felt my heart punch THE VOICE in the chest.

"Take that, voice! You don't know shit, voice! YOU DON'T MATTER ANYMORE, VOICE."

I think a lot about body confidence. I live in Hollywood where youth is bought and sold...  The girl who once begged her parents for liposuction has become the woman who refuses to color her hair. I want my kids to see what age looks like. I want my daughters to see that I can rock some gray strands and still be beautiful and confident and powerful. I feel the same way about my emerging wrinkles. My lines...

I want to battle the voice that has, for as long as I can remember bullied me into thinking I wasn't _____ enough.

And every day I do.

I have taught myself to compensate with a rebellion against my own self-doubt, substituting insecurity with a sing-it-sister kind of self love. I have become militant in my need to keep my natural hair color and parade around my house naked and unafraid so that my kids can see my lumps and bumps and scars and grays and know that THIS is what a 33 year old mother of four looks like. 

...It is liberating to know that I can own my body in front of them in ways I cannot with myself... Having daughters gave me NEW mirrors to stand in front of every day, and it has made all the difference.  Their pride in my body—Revi's happiness— has liposucked the shame out of my soul...

ED: I told Fable I was going to write this post and asked her if she would draw a smily face on my belly to illustrate Revi's collage...  She did. And then she kept drawing. And then Bo and Revi joined her until they were all drawing all over my belly and IT WAS AWESOME. And then I thought about "pregnancy belly art" and how rad it would be if we could, as a community, come together and do something similar for our postpartum bellies...

With our KIDS' drawings.

After all, one cannot spell POSTPARTUM without ART and TUM....
And I don't know about you guys, but it's impossible for me to feel shame for a belly covered in the drawings of its former inhabitants. I MEAN THAT SHIT IS AMAZE.
Thank you for the body confidence, Coach Revi. I love you with my whole entire WONDERLAND of a bod. And indeed it is one... I know it is. Even when I don't. 
....You can read my post in its entirety, here.