Tonight I had the perfect example of just how subjective beauty truly is. Each time I was pregnant my husband would lovingly rub essential oils on my growing stomach every night. After our last child he stopped doing so. It made sense to me on a logical level, I was no longer growing one of our children, why lavish such care and devotion upon a part of my body that I for one was not keen on at all!
But in the quietest part of my heart’s secret garden I felt differently. I’d loved those moments when he’d gently caress both me and our unborn child. Those moments made me feel beautiful, sacred, special, cared for, cherished. After Miss G’s surprise arrival we were told I couldn’t carry any more children. We were told I wouldn’t survive the pregnancy/labor. So of course we took steps to ensure that I would never become pregnant again. I am completely at peace with this concept, I feel like our family is complete. I feel very blessed with the children we have, I feel that I have been given 5 extraordinary children that call me mom, 3 that I got to carry and 2 that I did not carry myself.
But in that quiet, almost still part of my secret garden there lay the whispered thoughts I don’t tend to speak out loud. One is that I miss those moments when my husband would smile at me while he gently rubbed my stomach. Once I fully realized just how much I missed it, I spoke up, and his words surprised me. I told him that I missed it, and he told me that he’d only stopped because I made him feel that I didn’t want him to touch my stomach anymore. I made him feel that it was “off limits” once it no longer housed our children. I told him it wasn’t, and so he smiled and gently rubbed my stomach. He told me that to him my stomach was always beautiful, regardless if I was pregnant or not at the time, I had been pregnant, and each of the marks was from those sacred times, the roundness that still exists was sexy to him. One of the parts of myself that I have often found ugly he showed me that in his eyes was in fact beautiful. Not just in a sacred Motherhood aspect, (that as well yes, but not only) but attractive; honestly attractive. And in doing so made me see myself in the same light, as beautiful and attractive exactly as I am.
As we approach the new year, I hope that each of you that struggles with being overwhelmed with the mass media’s false ideals of fake beauty has someone to show you the truth about yourself: That you are beautiful and attractive right now, exactly as you are. And I hope for each of you that you allow the often overlooked idea that you could be beautiful or attractive without changing your outside inside the secret garden of your own spirit, where it might grow and flourish until you no longer doubt it. Until it is a constant fixed view that you have of yourself.
Footnote: While the concept that beauty is subjective to the person contemplating said object has been found in written works since the 3rd century, the exact phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has been attributed to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her 1878 work “Molly Bawn”