A smiling woman with her eyes closed and her hands on her face

I am grateful for my hands and feet. 

My feet have taken a lot of damage throughout the years. They’ve been blistered from taking me up mountains or from supporting me during long days in high heels. I used to run long distances before I learned to pace myself. One day, I got home after running for a few hours and noticed red foam leaking from my sneakers. I had glued my shoes to my feet with blood. 

My hands have typed thousands of words. They’ve shaken from medication. They have driven a truck across the desert. Now, they wear three rings. They hold my baby. My hands are an extension of my heart. 

I became pregnant almost a year ago. My body didn’t need to gain much weight to sustain this particular pregnancy. Now, “I’ve gotten my body back.” I don’t like this saying because I never felt like I lost my body in the first place.

Now, “I’ve gotten my body back.” I don’t like this saying because I never felt like I lost my body in the first place.

Sure, it was shaped differently. Yes, I had to prioritize my baby in my physical habits, but my body was still mine. It was exercising a strong, feminine power that I owned: the power to give my daughter the necessary environment for her to sustain life.

I appreciate the changes in my hands and feet that remind me of what my body has carried me through. To support my daughter, my heart pumped 50 percent more blood than it had before. It consistently circulated my life force around my body, pushing hard on my veins and pushing them out on my hands and feet. Now, when it’s hot, or even when it’s not, I can see webs of rounded lines. 

The outlines of my veins are a reminder to me that I am able to support my daughter’s growth. I know there will be times when I doubt my ability as a mother or as a woman. I only have to look down at my hands and feet to remind myself of what I can do. 

I only have to look down at my hands and feet to remind myself of what I can do. 

Now, I look at my daughter’s soft, chubby hands and pink bubble toes and wonder how they will age. Will she run marathons? Will she wear high heels? Will she also support the weight of two lives with her little feet someday?

Maybe she’ll do none of these things. Maybe she’ll surprise me by doing something I never expected. I know I’ll be proud of her however she grows. 

I invite you to look at your feet and think about the ways they’ve supported you. Look at your hands as loving extensions of yourself. Think of all the ways they’ve helped people. The marks of age on your hands and feet can remind you of where you’ve been and give you hope for where you might go. 

How has your body changed as you have gotten older? How are you learning to appreciate the changes?

Image via Erin Foster, Darling Issue No. 24

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