Giving Legs Wings

18 Nov

When I was twenty weeks pregnant, I asked my doctor about a peculiarity of the developing being I was carrying. I said, “You know, everything I’ve read has described this early fetal movement as fluttery and like bubbles. Mine feels nighting like that.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well…it hurts. I feel real strong jabs and stretches. Nothing gentle. The force already wakes me up at night.”

He smiled, “Sounds like you just have an aggressive kid.”

When Lyra was born, one of the first things I noticed about her extra-lean body was how muscular she was. In particular, she had a distinct line separating her front quadriceps from her hamstrings. She looked like an olympic sprinter. A little gymnast. It was as though she had been doing daily bench presses. And judging by my still-bruised insides, I think she had.

Although her kicks are as string as ever—stronger even, quickly forcing you to move her feet away from you as any solid object quickly becomes a sparring partner for her kickboxing practice—the deeply toned muscles she had at birth have been covered by something I’m more familiar with. At four months old, they’re staring me in the face: my daughter has my thighs.

Her legs now look like delicious drumsticks, plump and round from hip to knee and quickly narrowing to a slender calf and bony ankle. Their mass is solid. The flesh is somewhat mottled, almost like cellulite, but much more subtle. I want to feel proud that she has inherited this quality of mine, this shared rump that all of the women in my family have. She came out looking so different from me (so different that I have considered buying this shirt), I think I should be pleased with seeing any of my physical traits emerge in her. Instead, I anguish over all of the jeans she will struggle to wear.

At the same time, I feel saddened that I feel any anguish over her physical traits at all.  When all of society is sending her messages that she isn’t good enough, isn’t pretty enough, just as she is, she will need me to fight those messages. To reassure her and convince her that a plump thigh is a desirable thigh. If my disdain for my own body sneaks in, she will sense it in a moment. She will know I am a phony and a liar.

And now we hit the tip of that iceberg. All of the reasons that I hoped my developing baby was boy, even though she showed herself to me in every dream exactly as she was: a girl. I knew a girl would force me to go front and center with my stuff. I knew how early girls receive messages to hate themselves. I wanted a boy because I am selfish and I am lazy. I didn’t want to have to go there with myself. And I felt like having a boy would easier: no girl gossip, no body image issues, no Bratz dolls. No problems.

But what I have is a girl. I will only ever have a girl. Fate has intervened. Lyra is it, my one and only child. Now I guess I better start figuring out an unconfident, body-loathing mom is going to raise a confident, self-loving daughter.

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3 Responses to “Giving Legs Wings”

  1. juliepippert November 19, 2007 at 6:12 am #

    Aewsome post.

    Yes, girls force you to deal with your femaleness and issues therein. It’s why so many of us (bloggers, for one) have banded to create a better environment for our girls (and ourselves).

    I know my Persistence will have to deal with being tall. I know how that path goes.

    I find my girls beautiful and slip and say so, but I try to emphasize how well their bodies work too.

    I try to watch what I say and think about myself and others.

    It’s a struggle—as you more eloquently wrote—but it works, too.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  2. Garrett November 19, 2007 at 8:53 am #

    It’s a great trait to have really… I mean face the facts. Very FEW women maintain a persistent weight throughout their lives. They are always going up and down a few throughout their lives at a minimum. It’s just the nature of womens bodies to be able to do this. I think its a necessary function of being able to have a baby actually. But, who knows what all is behind it genetically speaking.

    Anyway, thighs are a great place to put ones weight as it changes. You can put a lot of weight in the thighs without really changing your body shape too much. Yes Lyra is going to have your butt and your thighs and will face the same issues that you do. Namely trying to make clothing designed for skinny white girls fit around her bootay. Its nothing a few adjustments to clothing won’t fix. She will just be taught early on that clothing isn’t designed for all bodies and if she wants hers to fit it needs to be altered. Plus for every person that thinks thighs and an ass is not attractive… There are just as many who think its the hottest thing there ever was.

    Fact is everyone puts on weight in certain places.. Some people its in the face. Second they gain any weight it shows up in their face… Some people its all in the gut and a little weight and they turn into a beach ball. Not good places to put on weight if you ask me.

    Then their are people like you who are blessed with thighs and a great ass. I can’t think of any other place one could put extra weight that would be better than here? I mean seriously where else could you put it? Ankles? Back? Arms? Thighs are great place to put weight and it means she gonna have your butt too. I’m glad she got that trait from you. It’s one of the best you have to give her. :)

    All you have to do is stop looking at your traits from the minus side and just start looking at them from the plus side. Everything has a plus and a minus.

  3. Yolanda November 19, 2007 at 11:17 am #

    Gah. THat husband has gone and made me all embarrassed, again.

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