I have been wanting to do a post like this for a long time. However, I always thought I'd wait until after I was done having babies and also had my "After" tummy tuck picture to do it. And I thought I'd write it, not here, but a site I have come to love called The Shape of a Mother. I am not sure what has given me the courage to do this now, of all times, but it's time.
Is it the fear of being newly single after 13 years with the same person?
Is it my Surrogate Group's openness?
Is it the thought that some other woman will see my picture and see herself in a new light? See that she is still beautiful?
All the above?
You see, one of my Surrogate Groups started posting pictures of their bodies and bellies. There are only about 35 of us on this particular group and each one is all sorts of Awesome. We trust each other immensely, enough so that even though we sometimes don't feel so great about the bodies that we've been left with after our own babies and our Surro-babies, we still feel safe enough to post up pictures. Some of them are tiny, some of us are not . . . but I've found that we're all beautiful. I decided that I was going to do it too and GOD, was it freeing. To be able to show off what I try so hard to hide . . . to say, "Fuck it! This is me. This is all of me."
Now maybe after I publish this I will feel weird knowing that people out there will have seen what I've been hiding since I started having kids back in 2000 . . . but this body has nourished and grown 7 babies, 8 if we count the one I'm currently pregnant with. This body has breastfeed all of them, from a few days to over a year (depending). This body has completed my own family and has brought joy to two others, three (after July). This body has been good to me and others. This body has brought about so much joy and love. This body has been thin, tan, white, pregnant, stretched out, heavy . . . you name it. This body has seen things that some others have only dreamed about.
This body is mine. I will no longer be ashamed of the way it looks because it has been phenomenal to me and those I hold so dear. It is who I am. And in the future, if I ever get the tummy tuck, or lose more weight, whatever, it will still be mine and I will love it just the same.
Like I put on my Facebook/Twitter today after doing this, "I am Smart. I am Funny. I am Beautiful inside and out. I am a Great Mom. I am a loyal companion . . . and I need to say this aloud everyday to remind myself. My life has changed but "Kelly" will emerge . . . because I am also strong."
I decided to not take a different picture because I was sure I would've tried to get a better angle or change it to try to make it better, perhaps show more of "the girls" since they're pretty great (even more so when in a bra LOL) instead I'm posting the picture that I took when I ran into the back room at work, pulled up my top and clicked. A quick "This is my belly" picture to join the "photo movement" the women I love so much were courageous enough to do themselves.