Image Description: The photo is taken from a white birthing person's perspective, looking down past his now empty tummy to his baby lying in the cot.
His hairy tummy, which only a few hours before would have eclipsed this view, is now empty and he is pressing it in with his left hand to show the absence of both baby and organs.
Words are powerful. Especially when you find something repeatable to help anchor you through difficult things. At some point, once I've done a bit more processing, I will write about my birthing experience from this pregnancy. It was hard and there were times I didn't think I could get through it (spoiler, I did). And one of the things I did during that experience was make a phrase to get me through the contractions.
"I got through the last one, I can get through this one And I'll get through the next one".
Seeing it written the words seem small but those few sentences said over and over again anchored me, it gave me power and it truly got me through hours of contractions. For a while afterwards I couldn't even tell people about them because saying the words overwhelmed me with emotion.
In the days after my baby was born I found myself floundering as I had this new body to love. I toyed with the idea of having some kind of ceremony to close my body and thank it for what it had done, but as I started writing ideas I realised again that what I needed was words. Words to thank my body and remind it that it's loved.
I've written them and I'm wanting to share them with you. At the moment, I am using these words when I'm alone in the shower or bath. I also touch each body part in turn and that touch is important, I'm learning to love this body not just in thought, but also physically. I want to literally embrace all that I am now.
So as you read these words, and certainly if you take these words and use them (please do, they feel really good to say out loud), I really recommend that you also ground yourself using touch.
"To my hips that bore the weight of my children I honour you for what you did And I love you for what you are.
To my belly, for the skin that stretched and the muscles that moved I honour you for what you did And I love you for what you are.
To my chest which swelled with milk I honour you for what you did And I love you for what you are.
To my body, for the new life you made and the new shape you're in I honour you for what you did And I love you for what you are."
It's simple and repetitive but I've found it really powerful. Especially as I am regularly instinctively touching my tummy, only to find it empty and soft. In those times, I honour and thank my tummy. It did something amazing and I need to keep remembering that.
If you would like to use them, the words can be changed to your needs. You can add in about a C-section scar or scars from tearing or an episiotomy. The words here are mine but I give you permission to make them yours.
As birthing people our bodies are often sold as something to be changed "back" to some mystical before time. But we have done magic with our bodies and they deserve to be loved and honoured for all that they did and all that they are.