My lovely friend and BodyLove expert, Dr. Mary Pritchard makes this week’s contribution to the Transformation Goddess Summer Writing Series. This series is comprised of articles written by several of the women who will be speaking at the 2nd Annual Goddess Talk Sessions Global Event this September. I know you will enjoy The Art of Learning to Love Your Body.
“All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am. So many stories of where I’ve been and how I got to where I am.” – Brandi Carlile
Three months before my wedding date, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, placed in drug-induced menopause and told I would never bear children. I was 21. My soon-to-be-husband and I were devastated at this news. We hoped for a few years that my condition would improve, but after 5 surgeries in as many years and 3 rounds of drug-induced menopause, my body entered natural menopause when I was 26.
That’s when I began to hate my body. I felt that my body was a traitor, a betrayer, that it had unfairly taken my God-given right to bear children away from me. When I looked in the mirror at my belly, I saw nothing but scars marring my otherwise unmarked skin. Flaws of nature’s design, a constant reminder that I was “less than.”
Then when I was 35, after being in menopause for nearly a decade, I got my period. My doctors told me it was impossible, a fluke. You can’t cure yourself of menopause, they told me. 28 days later, it happened again. Apparently, my body had accomplished the impossible.
That summer my mindset began to shift. I began to see my menstrual cycle for the gift it was – my body’s ability to renew itself each month. More importantly, I began to see my scars not as reminders of my infertility, but as symbols of my strength, my perseverance, and my ultimate triumph over my endometriosis. They represent not a loss of the ability to bear a child, but the gift of getting my menstrual cycles back, the gift of my feminine nature, and the incredibly powerful ability of my body to heal itself.
As I began to appreciate my body for what it could do rather than what it couldn’t do I knew that to completely transform my relationship with my body, I would have to show it some love – scars, adult-onset acne, cellulite, stretch marks and all.
One morning I stood naked in front of the mirror. I made myself say something positive about every single part of my body – even the parts that I had loathed for decades. What emerged was a love letter to my body. I offer you a sample of it below (you can get the full version at www.DrMaryPritchard.com). I hope this inspires you to show your body a little love and appreciation today.
Love Letter to My Body
I love you butt. I love your stretch marks for they tell the story of where you’ve been and how I’ve grown. I love the way you jiggle. You provide me with such a good cushion to sit on. And I love, love, love the way you look in jeans.
I love you belly. I love your extra padding – I know you’ve got me covered when I get too busy to eat. I love that you digest my food and send the energy to all the cells of my body so I can do what I want to do each day. I love your scars, for they tell of your struggles and of your triumph. Of all the surgeries you’ve been through. I love your cute little innie belly button.
I love you back. You are strongly, and silently supportive. You help me stand and sit up straight and keep good posture. I love when you ache because you are letting me know that you need a little TLC and that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends again and need to take a break. I love when you protest so loudly that I have to call my chiropractor for she takes excellent care of us.
I love you arms. You let me reach for the stars and never hold me back. I love when your elbow tendonitis kicks in because it lets me know I’ve been working you too hard and you need a break. I love your softness. I love your sun spots and freckles for they tell of all the exciting places we’ve been.
I love you face. I love your wrinkles, for they tell our story – of all the good – and not so good – times we’ve spent together. I love your sun spots for they remind me of when we were in Hawaii. I love that you still get acne at age 40. It makes me feel young again. I love that you have smile lines. It lets me know I’ve lived a good, happy life.
I love you ovary, fallopian tube, and uterus. I love our struggle with endometriosis because it made me realize what a gift my periods were. I love that you sacrificed one side of my reproductive system so you could thrive. I love that you took a little 9-year break to recoup before coming back in full force. You make me feel like the powerful woman I am.
I love you blood. You are my life. Without you, I could not live. I love that you transport nutrients where they need to go. I love that you bleed red – the color of life. I love that you pour forth from me every 28 days and remind me of what a gift you are.
I love you, body. I give thanks for you – for all the miracles you perform every day.
I hope you will take some time today to celebrate you and your body. You (and your body) are truly a miracle.
Dr. Mary Pritchard
Dr. Mary E. Pritchard, PhD, HHC is the creatrix of 30 Days to Body Love, founder of the thriving “Awakening the Goddess Within” virtual community, a BodyLove Expert, an esteemed blogger at Psychology Today and Huffington Post, and a frequent contributor to Aspire and Bella Mia magazines. She is also co-author of the international best- selling books Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness, Wisdom of Midlife Women 2, and Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy.
Learn more about Dr. Mary at www.DrMaryPritchard.com