As I shifted uncomfortably from side to side, trying to get my hips into a less painful position, it suddenly dawned on me. I have been incredibly ungrateful to you for as long as I can remember and taken you for granted. It’s only now as aching sets in and the spontaneous groans exit my body when I bend down to pick something up that I realise how much you have actually done for me.
As a teenager, I blamed you for everything. You were the reason boys didn’t think I was pretty and so I starved you. I’m sorry for that. I’m also sorry that the not feeding you properly lasted ten years or more. My weight was a constant source of antagonism to me; it taunted me and told me I wasn’t good enough. Even now, I could have had the most amazing day professionally and/or personally but taking my clothes off in the evening, inspecting every flaw and fat roll, can make me feel worthless and pathetic. I believe I can only be truly successful if I am thin and that I am not and have never been.
You gave me two beautiful babies and fed them. Maybe not 100% perfectly or conventionally but you did it and yet I cursed you for not doing it properly. I never had to experience the pain of my body failing me. I never had to stare at you and ask you why you didn’t work properly or why you let me down. But somewhere I still blamed you for my lack of perfection.
Despite the lack of respect for you in the early days, you are healthy. You’ve stuck it out and haven’t given up on me. So, I’m turning this around on it’s head for once and am going to give you some gratitude.
Thank you for my children. For providing me with the most satisfying part of my life. Instead of meticulously inspecting the scars of motherhood and wishing they weren’t there, I will from now on be grateful. My husband is. He sees what you did, what you’ve accomplished, and I will try to see you through his eyes.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to engage and play with my children, enriching their lives and mine. As much as I may moan about being on my hands and knees crawling through yet another soft play or having to run after them to stop them charging into danger, I am so very grateful that you do and when my back hurts at the end of the day, or my hip is giving me stick, I’ll remember that you’re helping me make wonderful memories for my children.
Thank you for keeping going. Those days when each step feels like it could be the last, but you put another foot in front of the other until you’re home again. Those days when you’re merely holding things together, precariously balancing on the edge of oblivion, but mustering the energy from somewhere to see it through, I am so very grateful that you do.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only I had been able to see past the surface when I was younger, I might not have been so hard on you. I can’t guarantee that I won’t be hard on you still but hopefully I’ll be a little more gentle and perhaps my vision not so obscured by what you can be, but by what you are – a fully functioning human body with the ability to ensure your daughter doesn’t have to envisage her potential in hindsight, but only the reality of what she is now; brilliant, magnificent and good enough no matter what shape and size she is in the future.