Embracing Your Changing Body

A client of mine (we’ll call her “Amy”) who has been working on feeling more comfortable and confident in her sexuality broke into a beaming smile as she exclaimed, “Liz, you’ll be so proud of me!” She recounted a moment from a few days prior when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Due to a recently inserted IUD, Amy’s body is still adjusting to the influx of hormones, and she has noticed some weight gain.

“I don’t have a problem with the weight gain, but I feel different – not how I’m used to my body feeling.” We’ve done a lot of work around shifting her mindset, and she used this instance to practice the skills she’s learned. 

“Whenever I see other people’s bodies, or even in art or in the media, it’s really easy for me to see their beauty. When I look at my own body, it’s too easy to point out what I see wrong with it. It’s like I view their bodies with a different lens than I view my own. So I decided to look at my body in the mirror and intentionally focus on what I admire. I tried to view it with the lens I have when I’m looking at someone else’s body.”

Amy told me about how she spent some time twisting to see her naked self from various angles, growing a sense of love and appreciation for her body. She bent forward to let her belly and breasts hang, and instead of cursing them, she caressed and admired her changing shape. “It felt great. I’m going to look at my body like that more often!” Amy’s experience got me ruminating on this thought:

We need to do better about celebrating our changing bodies…

It’s no secret that our society has a deep-rooted ideal standard of beauty. I’ve been glad to notice more acceptance and celebration of other body types, shapes, colors, abilities, and so on (though we still have a long way to go). I’ve seen more representation of body variation in the media, some clothing stores are carrying more sizing options, and there’s been a general push for more body-positivity. 

What about when a person’s body changes from what they’re used to? We’re making moves to celebrate different bodies, but I don’t see a lot of work around bodies going through a change. Yes, the body-posy movement encompasses this idea, but I don’t see too much about specifically embracing a body in transition.

Your body’s ability to change and adapt is beautiful, let’s embrace it.

Whether you’re pregnant, on new medication, reacting to stress, on your period, aging, adjusting to a different routine, healing from an injury, or simply living life, your body adapts as a survival tactic. Your body is trying to keep you alive the best way it knows how so you can thrive on, sista! It’s truly amazing! 

Next time you’re feeling bluesy about your body changing, I encourage you to model after Amy and decide to embrace the change, thank your body for doing its job, and have a naked dance party in the mirror.

For the record, you’re right, Amy. I am so proud of you.

Liz Mallers is a Charlotte-based sex educator with an M.Ed. in Human Sexuality Studies from Widener University. She specializes in women’s sexual health, intimacy, and pleasure, with an overarching goal to help people embrace their sexuality as a vital part of their overall health and well-being. Liz is often described as informative and entertaining with an upbeat and trustworthy personality. When she isn’t talking about sex, you can find Liz dancing at rock concerts, creating and appreciating art, and trying desperately to keep her plants alive.

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