If I truly accepted myself, my belly would be the most luscious beautiful voluptuous bit of flesh on the planet. I would gaze at it lovingly, pat it absent-mindedly in meetings, paint it in warm glowing colors instead of cold putrid ones, and tell stories about its glory.
I would tell most especially about how it expanded lovingly to hold my precious children as they grew from cells into sentient beings. How it grew to bulbous proportions threatening to pop or to topple me over with its lopsided heaviness as I plodded wearily through the final days of my third pregnancy while still nursing my second baby. Yet it contained everything - my hopes for this child, my love for him, my health, his safety, a generous place to spend his first moments of this lifetime. It protected him from my exhaustion and made sure he had enough food, enough liquid, enough oxygen, enough room, providing him seemingly automatically with just the right amounts of everything as I lay down to sleep each weary night, dulled to the distress of each day by my exhaustion.
If I truly accepted my belly, I would thank it constantly for offering my children such a safe and loving haven for their first nine months.
And I would realize it is my belly that taught me about prejudice and injustice and the cost of each. My father's orders to hold it in cursed me and made me feel humiliated to be a woman, to have a woman's curves. I head him tell my mother the same, and I learned to bristle at the injustice though at the time I had no recourse.
But now, thank you, dear belly, for not disappearing despite my two hundred adolescent sit ups a night. Thank you for the constant reminder that you are the seat of my empowerment, my rage, my fight to help all women grow into their own bellies.
My power has been gestating there, growing and growing with just the right amount of everything. And now it is becoming time for its birth. It is preparing to enter the world just as my beloved children did, alive, awake, alert, and ready to make its mark on the world.