Tonight, I got home early, hoping to do some mama/baby yoga with Nora. But then, I learned that what she needed was a feed and a nap, tout de suite. Even though I know in my bones that what she needs comes first, I felt disheartened. I thought, My day job and my mothering is why I will never lose this damn baby weight. But like a good mama, I swallowed that impulse and did what was right for her in that moment. I fed Nora and waited for her to get tired.
While I wound her down, we listened to this Ani DiFranco song on my iPod and I sang to her:
Lately, I’ve been glaring into mirrors, picking myself apart
You’d think at my age I’d thought of something better to do
Than making insecurity into a full time job
Making insecurity into an art
And I fear my life will be over
And I will have never live unfettered
Always glaring into mirrors
Mad, I don’t look better
And now I’ve got this tiny baby
And they say she looks just like me
And she is smiling at me with that present infant glee
Yes, and I would defend to the ends of the earth
Her perfect right to be, be, be, be
I teared up as I sang to her because I know that she doesn’t have that nagging body hate that so many of us women carry around with us. She is still learning she has a body and each day, as she discovers some new limb, it’s beautiful and fun and frankly, something to try to shove in her mouth. I wondered how long I get to keep her like this, keep her happy in her perfect working body? I want more than anything in this world to not burden her with that heavy baggage. Step one is to release my own burdens about my body, which is so much easier said than done.
Now, as she lays against my breast bone, comforted by the sound of my heartbeat and the movement of my breath, I am telling myself that my body does good work. I may not get as much exercise as I would like and I may not always eat as healthfully as I should, but my body is good. It is a source of comfort and nourishment to my child and a thing of beauty, even as it settles into its new shape. I was once as blissful in my body as my daughter and I want to mirror that bliss back to her as best as I can, for as long as I can. That’s my new job.