“I promise to love you in every form you take.”
I spoke the words aloud as I touched my smooth, muscular torso. I was 3 weeks pregnant.
My body slowly expanded. When I stood in the shower months later and couldn’t see my toes, I touched that swelling torso again. “I promise to love you in every form you take.”
Months passed. Internal organs rearranged themselves to make space for the life taking up more and more room inside of me. Heartburn kept me up for sleepless nights in a recliner, running to the bathroom with acid bubbling up my throat.
Pain crept in and intensified as Braxton Hicks and lower back pain were present almost daily throughout the third trimester. These bodily sensations were an unfamiliar and unwelcome guest.
I had promised to love the form of my body, not the function.
As the end of pregnancy drew near, my body became foreign to me in both form and function. It had journeyed miles away from the powerful, pain-free athletic vessel I was accustomed to living in. Pain and weakness had rarely been present in my physical body, so this body felt like someone else’s, as though a body swap had happened without my consent.
A light switched on one day as I thought,“You are doing sacred work.” I stepped mentally outside of my body and recognized it as being on a special mission, a not-so-secret assignment. I was simply a passenger along for the ride, and the changes in form and function, although extreme, were only temporary; needed for this assignment.
In the end, I kept that promise to my body, pledged days after seeing those two pink lines. Okay, I mostly kept it. I also learned a valuable truth:
My body is not who I am.
My body is not who I am. It is both part of me and separate from me. Through that truth, I could accept (not love or embrace wholeheartedly, but accept) the changes it was experiencing on its special mission of baby building.
Because baby building is weird, painful, lonely, beautiful, sacred work. And I am grateful to have been along for the ride.