Here is what we need to do:
One: Love our bodies as they are.
Short ones, tall ones, fat ones, sleek ones, flabby ones, toned ones- it doesn't matter. We must first make friends with our own bodies. Our culture teaches us to loathe our bodies no matter how they look- we can never quite measure up. That is why we need to stop right now and choose to love our bodies no matter what they look like. I choose to love my chocolate brown skin, my full lips, my gray-speckled hair. I love it all. I find no fault with it. I groom it and dress it up and endeavor to look my best everyday. While I do have a goal to lose weight, I don't give myself negative messages. I make good food choices and work out almost every day. I know if I keep this up, I will lose weight, but I don't care about looking good tomorrow. I care about looking good today. So I buy nice things that flatter my physique as it is today. I must confess I have a great sense of style and I do get compliments almost daily on my appearance- despite the fact that I do not fit the standard of beauty in our culture. To the unobservant eye, I'm an overweight, old, black lady. Yes, I am those things, but to my own eyes, I am also beautiful. I believe that I am- so I project that view out onto the world from the inside of me. Hell, I'm downright sexy. A few rolls of fat can't stop the sexiness from oozing out through my pores. I believe with all my being that I am beautiful, therefore others believe it too. (There is a great lesson here. We cannot convince others of that which we ourselves do not believe .) How do you start to love yourself? Perhaps you have been bombarded all your life with messages that you are inadequate and do not measure up. Start there. Change those messages (at least the ones that come from inside you). Whenever you start to criticize your body, stop and change the words, even if you don't quite believe them yet. Say to yourself, "I accept my body." "I love my body." "I am grateful to my body." Women who do not love their bodies, do not believe in their bodies ability to birth. So let's start there. Love your body.
(You might also read 'A New Earth' by Eckart Tolle)
Two: Recognize that our bodies are not us.
They are the shell we travel this life in. While it is important to love your body, it is equally important not to mistake it for being you. You are a triune being, composed of body, mind, and spirit. Your spirit will live on, your body will age and die. It is all too easy to get caught up in the life of the body. Especially if you are a mom and have little ones at home. But please recognize, dear ones, that you are more, so much more, than today's laundry list of chores and meetings, and doings, and havings. Take time to honor your mind (read a good thinking book, or practice daily phrases of that language you always wanted to learn!) and to honor spirit (light a candle during daily quiet time, make time for prayer, or meditation, or if those kinds of activities don't suit you, dance wildly to music you love and that speaks to your soul, howl at a full moon!) You want a life of balance- well you don't get it by being mired in the body. Get out of the body if only a few minutes a day and pamper the mind and the spirit. You know what makes birth such an amazing experience? It doesn't just happen in the body, it happens to our minds and spirits as well. All the great landmark events of human experience do. We just get distracted with the physicality of birth, yet it is a tremendous mental/spiritual event as well. Make a plan today to honor all aspects of your amazing being- body, mind, and spirit.
(To emphasize these principles, it might be helpful to read Victoria Moran's 'Creating a Charmed Life')
Return to love, dear ones. Do not give in to our culture's condemnation or perversion of the feminine form. We must learn to love ourselves, and then loving birth will come to us.