Roxy Menzies, body movement instructor

I’m 37 weeks pregnant with a daughter. I’m marvelling at what my body’s going through, what it’s capable of, the strength it possesses and the vulnerability it holds. In the past, I’d feel more self-conscious about my size, my butt or how I’d look in something. But with pregnancy, I’ve realized there are more important things than worrying about how you look.

Three years ago, I had a loss at 20 weeks. At the time, I felt my body had let me and my son down. I watched him take his first and last breaths. Though I was only five months pregnant, your body holds on to pregnancy for a while.

Nowadays it’s more common for women to speak out about pregnancy loss or infertility, but even close family and friends get uncomfortable or avoid the subject. And at the time, I was in an environment that had an attitude of “Get over this and move on” – and it was literally only a couple of months after it happened. It was an isolating feeling and, looking back, I wish I had sought out more support. 

Although this pregnancy is going great, I did have a lot of fear, especially in the beginning. I would always breathe a sigh of relief at each appointment when everything was okay. The fear is less and less, but it’s always still there at the back of my mind. That’s why I talk to myself about trusting my body, trusting my daughter and trusting in the universe and god. It’s not easy, since some of that trust felt broken three years ago. 

I used to be a professional dancer and I was going to dance classes even at eight months pregnant. I’d tell the teachers beforehand and I could see the fear in their eyes. They thought I was going to give birth in their class. But I just wanted to move my body. It was fun to see what I could still do and what I couldn’t do. I wanted to take every opportunity to explore what it’s like with this body, embracing all of the changes. 

One day my daughter will look at this photo and realize that she’s in it too. She might think, “Wow, my mom was a bit crazy!” but I hope it also inspires her on her path toward a healthy physical and emotional relationship with her body.

The whole “body image” thing is never finalized. It’s a work in progress. But I hope my daughter, and all the other girls coming up, will be even stronger.

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Samuel Engelking

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