Rites of passage


I trudge upstairs, my body weary from being seated all day, working. I put away the kids clothes in their respective closets and walk noiselessly to my oasis. The half hour I spend each day tending to myself. As I rub the oil in gentle circles on my taut, swollen belly, I see them. The stretch marks, the bluish welts from the insulin shots. I let the oil soak and look at my self. My body. A vessel carrying life. It hits me then. The enormity of what it is all about. At a very primal level.

Growing up, I watched my body change. I was at ease with it because it was a rite of passage. One that all of my peers went through. I took pride in the fact that I followed a trajectory that evolution carved. When I struggled to become a mother, I grieved the loss of what I thought as a dream. A dream denied. I found closure eventually and went on to chart my own course into mothering. What I missed out in carrying my children, I made up for in other ways. Feeding them long past the age they could feed themselves. The physical act of nurturing seemed to compensate for what I missed.

Watching my body adapt to nurturing life within, I realized along with the dreams of being a mother, what I had lost out then was the rite of passage into motherhood. Something very elemental. Changing into clothes that are slowly stretching at the seams, I felt a sense of wonder wash over me. For years, I have loathed my body. For the first time, I feel pride. Pride in the swelling torso. Amazement at what nature is capable of. And a humbling realization that there is a divine hand at work here.

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