It's wild how rapidly life changes. I see this reflected in my ever-expanding belly, which seems to grow more each passing night. My belly that moves and flutters in the weirdest, most incredible ways. The same belly that occasionally challenges my deeply set beliefs about what is or isn't beautiful. See, today I'm wearing a bodycon dress. You know, one of those tight and stretchy numbers that shows every bump I've got - not just the one housing my baby. I used to wear these dresses in college, wanting to feel sexy. Though after a while, I stopped. I gradually donated those tight dresses and shifted to flowier clothing. I was exhausted from holding my breath so as to achieve the flattest belly possible. And I never looked back!
Well, that is, until now.
When I first became pregnant, I would walk around stroking my belly. I asked Austin constantly if I looked bigger. I brought it up in random, everyday conversation because I knew no one would be able to tell otherwise. I've always been a tiny person, but for once I yearned for a soft, round belly that showed the world I was, without doubt, experiencing the most sacred creative act I've ever had the opportunity to.
Of course, as the months went on and my belly started growing, I noticed myself becoming self-conscious about it. Putting on my loosest pair of jeans to find that they no longer fit activated a response from my past, reminding me of the times I became too heavy for some of my favorite clothes. Even all those years ago, I was only growing. I may have had the extra five pounds women are programmed to believe they have, but I was a growing girl. Not yet a fully formed woman. I was meant to grow! And still, then and now, it's challenging to witness my body becoming bigger.
Don't get me wrong: I am over the moon that I'm pregnant! My greatest priority is the health and safety of this sweet soul growing within me. But, damn it, those societal, programmed standards of beauty for women run deep. Walking around in my dress today, my mind wanders from intense self-love to self-consciousness. In one moment, I am strutting around feeling sexier than ever. In another, I'm meekly pulling at the hems of my dress and placing my purse over my belly. My monkey mind swings from tree to tree, then tries to make me feel guilty about swinging at all. But the truth is, creating self-love isn't a "one and done" type of situation. It requires us to remain vigilant against the negative thought streams. It asks us, in almost every moment, to consciously choose the higher path. And it's all too easy not to. Yogi Bhajan said that a single thought of self-doubt instantly zaps thirty percent of your energy. And with lowered energy comes more of those self-doubting thoughts. It's simple to see how we can fall into a downward spiral in the span of seconds. I've experienced it myself, countless times. I'm willing to bet you have, too.
Yogi Bhajan also taught that women are sixteen times more ______ than men. We are sixteen times more graceful, intuitive, committed, and powerful. We are also sixteen times more emotional, neurotic, and destructive. It all depends on the energy we choose to express, moment to moment. When I meditate on this, I realize how the media and society-at-large has used this quality against women, preying on our insecurities so that we tap into the neurotic, emotional energy instead of the intuitive, creative energy.
And you know what? I am so over it.
As I step into the third trimester of this pregnancy, I feel more ready than ever to have a bigger experience of myself as the radiant, creative, intuitive force that I am in this world. This sacred time won't last forever, and I deeply desire to celebrate my divine form, my expanding belly, breasts, and butt. I stopped wearing tight dresses because I was exhausted from holding my breath in. Now, I'm wearing them once again - with no breath holding whatsoever! My belly is fully on display and I'm ready to be seen in all my glory. Each time my monkey mind attempts to pull me into the subconscious, self-sabotaging thought patterns, I chant the Adi Shakti mantra and reconnect myself to the divine, creative, feminine power. I crack a smile and rub my belly. I dance around and tell my baby how truly excited I am to meet them, when the time comes.
Like I said, it isn't one-and-done. I still find my mind tugging me into insecurity on an hourly basis. Yet I find that these little practices have the power to quickly and radically shift my energy, reminding me of what a beautiful, fleeting time in my life this is. This moment, this day, this pregnancy... it only happens once. Enough wishing I still had a flat belly! This expanding belly is magic, and I'm celebrating every inch of it while I can.
All my love to you. Sat Nam.