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A Few Thoughts About Women And Their Bodies....
Author: Marion Carroll

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Being a woman has it's perks, but the whole monthly ordeal, it seems, could have been better thought out. Men have absolutely nothing even remotely similar to compare it to, although I am sure there are aspects of being a man that women are clueless about also. None come to mind, but I suppose that's because I am a woman.....

A womans body goes through some rather shocking and disturbing changes as she goes through the various stages of her life. I look at young women today with their flat stomachs, slender muscular legs, and perky, beautiful breasts and shake my head in wonder at the progressively degenarative condition that seems inevitable with the whole motherhood and aging process. We take our beautiful bodies for granted, never imagining that the fullfillment of being a woman will alter that landscape irrevocably. And Hollywood, (and the marketing world), perpetuates the myth that a woman's body is only womanly, before the changes that are inherant with the aftermath of having played in that playground. It is unnecessarily demoralizing. Regardless, the rewards of having babies, and becoming the personification of the word "love", are too many, to care too deeply about what is lost and left behind. But I am, at times, envious of the days when I was effortlessly thin and my body was pleasing to the eyes.....including mine.

I am completely convinced that I was born into the wrong species. In spite of enduring all my formative years as a young woman being completely flat chested (fried eggs were mountains compared to me), I still believe that I was truly meant to have been a dairy cow. Upon having my first child, the milk ducts kicked in and (literally) overnight, there sprouted upon my chest, two rather sizable spigots, which produced copious amounts of breastmilk. (I was the answer to starvation in ALL the 3rd world nations, but transportation there was an overwhelming problem, and hence the problem remains.) My thumbprint sized, rosebud pink, nipples darkened to an almost purplish-brown color and required their own bodily zip code. My breasts were stunningly massive, and were quite a sight to behold.

For about 3 days.

The tender (and heretofore, unused) support tissues that held them in place, were overwhelmed by their sudden size and weight, and despite my best efforts at wearing a support bra 24/7, my new endowment slid like overly large scoops of ice cream, melting off the side of their cones. This is not to say that they landed too close to the ground, but perky would never be used to describe these holding tanks. Having breasts, finally, was still nothing compared to holding my child to them, and nurturing him, and his sisters who came later. It didn't matter how incredibly painful the experience was to start with. An infant has incredible strength in their jaws and their ability to suckle so delicate a thing as a nipple, and produce enough sustenance to feed them and make them grow, is comparable, in terms of pain, to volunteering for a mammogram every two hours. Believe me, there is NO arousal happening during this experience. It gets better as you lose sensitivity, and your body becomes almost psychic to the needs of the child. Holding your baby and reveling in their innocence and beauty is a breathtaking experience. I would have had a dozen children, just for the joy of breastfeeding. Truly, it ranks as one of the 7 wonders of womanhood. It would take several months of contemplation to tell you what the other 6 are. I would say "multiple orgasms" would make the list, but I have never experienced such a thing and I remain a sceptic, believing that said occurance is an urban legend created by female compulsive over achievers. (I would LOVE to be proven wrong.) Anyway. Breastfeeding is definately up there at the top of the list. Trust me.

And then, once the milk was no longer needed and the production stopped, these beautiful mounds shrank and hung like laundry left on the line. I joke that what I roll up and stuff in my bra now, is all me! (Excuse the horrid visual. I say these things mostly because they are funny. heh, heh. Mostly. It's not really that bad!!!) But it would take a surgeons scalpel and GM approved airbags to restore them to their full luster. Now, every month, when the cycle starts all over, like right now, those little ducts inside get all excited and think, "Oooooooh, she's gonna have another one" and the production begins again. For 5 days, or so, my breasts become heavy and full and I have been tempted many times to attach them to a pump and see what happens. Maybe this time around, I can make a difference for world hunger.

The really odd thing, to me, is that for the lack of resiliant fat tissue in my chest area, there became, and remains, (shockingly) no shortage if it in the belly area. The taut flatlands which lead to the oasis in my abdominal dessert, were suddenly whipped by hormonal sand dunes, created, I'm convinced, by the StayPuff MarshMallow man, and separated by the scar which is my trophy for having too small a pelvic opening for any vaginal delivery. Sadly, I could almost be mistaken for having breasts on my belly. Ewwww. 3 Ceasareans. Come on guys......you were already in there....how hard would it have been to peel the fat out, while it was open? We're only talking about MAYBE another 5 minutes in the surgical suite. Sheesh......for what I paid you.....but I digress. Having given birth to fully ripe watermelons, my abdominal cavity resembled a baloon that had lost it's air. Rand McNally has only to pull my pants down to find their lost map to that hallowed oasis. Hollywood types that claim excercise and diet restored them to "BC" (before children) quality bellies, are LIARS. They have the money for all that lipo and tummy tucking, so don't believe them. Despite a rather wide range of weight fluctuations and many dietary attempts, my belly has never been even remotely close, "AD" (after delivery) to its glory days. There are good reasons why Plastic Surgeons are generally the highest paid physicians around. There are bad reasons why women are willing to pay them.

My body is a totally changed territory. Where I was once hard and flat, I am now soft and round. Despite all the demoralizing advertising and the belief that I would look ridiculous in anything by Victoria's Secret, I am still ok with my body. What matters to me, more than my shape and size, is that it all still works. I can still walk, and(if necessary) run, I can still reach and hold, I can still twist and bend, pick up and put down, and see and hear and taste and smell and speak. And most of all, my body has accomodated something else that has grown larger, over the years, that I will never want to decrease in size. And that is: my heart, and all the love that flows like a river from it. The sacrifice to artificial, external beauty, for what I have gained in wisdom and experience, is trivial, and I would not trade or go back for one minute. I am a woman; a passionate, loving, sensual, articulate, intelligent, caring woman. And I am beautiful, not necessarily for my exterior packaging, although it isn't too shabby. I love my body, just the way it is.

------- Author's Notes -------

What matters the most, is what's inside.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

Meridian (71.241.10.241) -- Thursday, March 30 2006, 01:59 am

Beautiful! Simply Beautiful!

Marion, I tell ya, never have I read a poem so explicit, so HONEST for that matter...So beautifully written. You take the reader on a journey with your outstanding descriptions. The exterior changes over time, sags, expands here and there...but the most important thing is the heart. The future has all sorts of suprises waiting for us as we continue aging. The outside of our body could be transformed due to an accident, a surgical procedure, weight gain, discoloration, needless to say, crow's feet, jowls, and wrinkling. Love isn't prejudice, nor does love discriminate.

This poem left me in awe! You go Marion!
MC (152.163.100.5) -- Thursday, March 30 2006, 05:03 am

Well, it wasn't really a "Poem", but

there seemed to a few poems and thoughts being shared on this site about the effects of aging, and I wanted to share mine. Glad you like it.
Tammy (66.38.4.111) -- Thursday, March 30 2006, 06:25 am

MC

I truly enjoyed this story, and I can relate to the changing body after babies, My bottom, and belly has more stretch marks then a map has rode lines....lol, but I love who I am! Great Story
Catyrose (128.123.221.126) -- Thursday, March 30 2006, 04:07 pm

Loved it

The outward effects of aging have been bothersome to me lately. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. More days than not I am grateful that everything still "works". And that it is the inner beauty that is of most importance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a delightful way :)
MC (205.188.117.65) -- Thursday, March 30 2006, 05:49 pm

Glad you all enjoyed this

I actually wrote this several months ago to share my thoughts with a friend. Men's bodies don't go through the changes that ours do. They just really can't relate. Did you ever see the movie "The Sweetest Thing"? Cameron Diaz stands in front of the mirror and, with her fingertips, raises her (barely there) breasts, and says, "22" then drops them (and they move, like a millimeter)and she says "28". I LMAO, because SHE'S one to talk! Everytime I look in the mirror now, I'm tempted to turn around and see who that other person is, that's in the bathroom with me, because that woman staring back at me in the mirror has GOT to be someone else!!! I'm almost 48, but I still feel like I'm 18.
JF (81.101.27.236) -- Tuesday, April 4 2006, 05:51 am

Relate

Well Marion, I thought this was a very good story, well composed with a satorical line of humour running throughout. I did enjoy, and may I say from the male pont of view, that we can relate to the effect of passing years! We may not sag in exactly the same places, but at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Excellent story.
MC (205.188.117.65) -- Tuesday, April 4 2006, 02:50 pm

So true

Beauty is in the beholder's eyes. If we love someone for their looks alone, we are bound to both disappoint and be disappointed. When you love someone for their heart, the exterior packaging is completely unimportant.
 
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