Today is International Women’s Day. I have never felt more like a woman today than ever before. My day started at 6 AM by breast feeding my three month old child. From there I ran some errands with him which included my last visit to the lactation specialist office. When I got home I continued to ponder the meaning of international women’s day. I thought about all of the women around the world who have come so far in their independence, and also about the women/societies that haven’t been so lucky. I feel that I have experienced one of the most primal examples of woman-hood within the past few months through becoming a parent. I wish I could say that this experience has made me feel whole as a woman, however a glance in the mirror at my postpartum body left me saddened by what I saw. My body is more saggy and full of stretch marks and cellulite than ever before. Since I have always thought of women to be beautiful, strong, and courageous it was difficult when I stared at the body in the mirror that didn’t fit those descriptions. Insecurity set in. Then I picked up my baby and went back to that same full length mirror. I looked at the body that had naturally delivered a healthy 7 lb 14 oz baby into this crazy world just 11 short weeks ago. Every stretch mark is a reminder of my sweet baby boy. Woman-hood is not defined by the shape and appearance of our curves, skin, hair, eyes, and nails. The word woman simply means a female human. We must determine the definition of the word by ourselves. No one can define who a woman is but us.
I hope that over the next days, months, and years I am able to transform my definition of what a woman is. I want to challenge myself to be strong and courageous and rework my idea of what is means to be beautiful. I hope this definition will grow and change with me. I hope to break free of the societal stereotypes that I assign to myself through my insecurities.
I challenge you to create your own definition of “woman”. Write it down where you can see it often. Challenge yourself to break your own molds and stomp out those insecurities that are screaming “YOU CAN’T BECAUSE YOUR ARE A WOMAN”. Woman is a gender not a disability or deficiency. Be brave. Be courageous. You are beautiful.