This morning the baby woke and wanted to sit with me in his chair so we say together reading a book. He up my shirt exposing my squishy belly. I tensed and got nervous, I’m not generally a big fan of my belly but he plays a game with his Daddy where he drums on daddy’s belly and thinks it’s hilarious.
Instead of distracting him with something else and hiding my belly away in embarrassment I said “yeah that’s Mama’s belly! Mama’s belly isn’t hard like Dada’s belly, it’s squishy! That’s because you used to live in Mama’s belly!” Of course he’s way too young to understand what I was saying but he started drumming on my belly and smiling at how it jiggled. A wave of frustration and disgust creepy through me as I watched my belly dance under his tiny hands. He pushed his hands into my belly which gave way to the pressure of his strong arms, folding like a brand new down pillow around his hands. I felt anger course through me at the state of my once tiny tight belly as it engulfed my baby’s hands….. And then he started laughing. He thought it was so funny that he could push hard on my belly and it folded around his hands. I started laughing with him and pushing on my own belly in a very kind and playful way.
I realized that to him, my big squishy belly was beautiful, he loved the way it bounced and folded the way only a belly that has once held a growing life can. All feelings of embarrassment, regret, anger and disgust disappeared in that moment, just like his hands had disappeared into my beautiful squishy belly.