Belly Laughs

Fiona belly laughing

The beauty of a one-year-old is that they don’t care if they are wearing mismatched clothes. They don’t care if they are covered in dog hair (after gleefully stealing the best spot in the house in the center of the dog bed). They don’t care if they have snot dried under their nose, or pizza sauce on their cheeks. It doesn’t matter. They aren’t self-conscious.

I had a choice yesterday to embrace the joy and freedom of that attitude, or shut down under the embarrassment and shame of our culture. While nursing, Fiona realized she could lift my camisole and see my belly. Oh, she thought this was the best thing ever. She could lift and lower my shirt, exposing and concealing the one part of me that still bears the signs of pregnancy. Squishier than it used to be, stretch marks marring my once-smooth skin. Delighted with her new game, she started poking my belly.

I had a choice — tell her no, pull my shirt back down, teach her to be ashamed of such things. Or, play back.

I lifted her shirt, exposing her adorable little “Buddha” belly. She looked from her belly to mine and back again, making the connections in her bright little mind. She poked my belly and laughed; I poked her belly and laughed.

It was a joyful moment to share with my daughter.

She doesn’t care if I’m squishy.

And I want her to know that she was worth every single change in my body.

And I hope that someday, when she holds a babe of her own, she will be proud of all that her body can do, not ashamed. And those are values I can teach her right now.

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