Do any of you remember, not that long ago, when pregnant bellies were taboo? Expectant mom's tummies were seen as ugly and shameful. A big lump to be hidden under frilly, over sized, unbecoming tops. And now, since the 90's, pregnant bellies are proudly exposed in bikinis, draped in sexy fabrics, fitted into stretchy lycra and nylon, and recognized to be the beautiful expression of burgeoning new life that they are.
Well, I am campaigning to apply that same right to be appreciated for everyone, and older women in particular. Bellies are awesome containers - they hold our vital organs. We are most vulnerable in our soft, unprotected bellies. Nothing compares to gut experience. And if mine sinks a little under the weight of that experience, well, that is what wisdom looks like. As I age, I am learning how natural it is to develop a little sag, a little paunch. It happened, no matter how much I exercised or how little I ate. I take good physical care of myself well as those of you who know me, know. I work hard on my emotional health too. I deserve to feel good about my belly, my insides, and all of me.
When I looked on the web for photos of bellies to accompany this blog, there simply were not photos of older women bellies at all. There were scantily clad young women, pregnancy through each week, men with beer bellies, and this adorable dog. I chose the dog. My belly has been through teen anorexia, cervical dysplasia in my 30's, pregnancy and birth in my 40's, IBS and pain, now. I don't want to have to choose a dog to express feeling good about my kind of belly.
Its all about bellies and our perception of them. I want us to listen to the stories of our guts and learn to love our stomachs as they are, not some idealized, impossible version of what "fashion" has decided they should be.
I am on a mission. Be on notice, I am putting a call out now. Just in talking casually about this project with friends, three people already volunteered to bare their bellies for a photograph and talk about wisdom that their bellies hold.
If you would like to share your gut story, you can connect by clicking on the button below.
Thanks for reading!
Marian Wolfe Dixon
MA, LMT (OR #3902)
NCTMB Approved Provider
Continuing Education for Massage Therapists, CHt, TCMBB.