I've been thinking, once more, about how today's standard of beauty is much closer to a skinny teenage girl, rather than a mature, fertile woman who looks as if she is ready to bear children. A fertile woman normally has feminine curves and a healthy amount of flesh - only a minority of women are naturally very skinny. A typical woman is not skin and bones. She looks soft, womanly and motherly.
I've been somewhat on the petite side all my life - never even close to overweight. I've also been blessed to have healthy food preferences during pregnancy. I developed an aversion to chocolate, sweets, and almost all types of fried foods. Instead I've been craving fresh vegetables (in particular tomatoes) and fruit, soft cheese, and fish. Also, while I experienced a certain increase in my appetite, I'm not consuming double or tripe portions.
However, as would be naturally expected, I'm slowly gaining weight and becoming curvier. And you know what? My husband is very happy with that. Contrary to what glossy magazines promote, men like women who look like women. Soft curves were considered attractive in all times and cultures.
Open any magazine for women, and in many of them you'll see an ocean of tips on how to shed pregnancy weight, and squeeze into those jeans you used to wear in highschool six weeks after you gave birth. What nonsense. I realize I will never look like a teenager again, nor can I be reasonably expected to. I'm not saying we shouldn't make efforts to eat healthily and stay fit - on the contrary. But we must be realistic. Age, as well as bearing and nursing children, will change the shape of our bodies. Our husbands, too, won't stay eternally young. Our health, happiness, and loving relationships should not depend on, or be damaged by, the simple fact that we are all growing older.
Of course, in a culture that encourages 16-year-old girls and 40-year-old women to dress the same way - and very immodestly - it's difficult not to feel inferior because you gained a few extra kilos, the shape of your body has changed in some places, and you have stretch marks. But when you are liberated from exposing your body to strangers, only the loving eye of your husband will see the markings of age - which you acquired during your life together, and through bearing and nursing his children.
In a world ruled by feminism, mature women are pressured to look like teenage girls, and men are encouraged to look and behave like teenage boys. Androgyny is promoted, and men and women who dare to look and behave like mature adult men and women may feel less than welcome. Masculinity and femininity have been sacrificed on the altar of "equality", to the grief of the part of humanity that still has some reason left.
Pregnancy, nursing babies, and motherhood in general are now regarded as a weakness. Of course it cannot be completely eliminated, but it can be minimized by pushing birth control down our throats, and subtly convincing women to put off childbearing until such time when they wouldn't be able to have more than one or two children. Maternity, which used to be as natural as breathing, suddenly became a hindrance to women who are taught they can have it all, and don't understand why it seems near to impossible.
A few weeks ago, I happened to overhear the conversation of two women, one of whom was a mother of an 18-months-old toddler, and very pregnant with another baby. She was bemoaning the fact that her babysitter quit while she is in the middle of exam time in college, and she is forced to leave her little one in the hands of someone she hardly knew and didn't really trust.
"But what am I supposed to do?" - she asked in sincere frustration, - "give up my degree?"
This young mother, whose love for her child was shining through her very eyes, was clearly torn apart. Maybe all she needed was to have someone close and supportive who would tell her: yes, in such a situation it's better to quit college and take care of your family. Your husband and children need you.
We can be so much happier and so much more peaceful if we only stop fearing our nature, our age, and the changes the cycle of life draws upon us. Let us be women; let us be mothers; and let us be proud of the way God shaped our bodies and designed them to function.