A Girl the Size of a Coconut
by Erin Bagwell, Founder of Feminist Wednesday
Co-host of BeaverTalk
Article edited by Diana Matthews
Just between us, I love my body. She is strong, slim, and pale like a ghost.
I like how in my family, my eyes are the lightest shade of blue and how I have a small curve to my hips. But just like every woman, there are also things I wish I could change about myself- like the fact my right eyebrow is half an inch lower than my left so it always looks like I have resting bitch face. Or that even though I’m petite, I’ve never been able to figure out how to tone my muscles or have Michelle Obama arms.
During my junior year of college, I was sexually assaulted and my relationship with my body changed. I disconnected with her. I didn’t try to hide or shame her, I just felt like our relationship had ended. My body was no longer my vessel for freedom, but the source of my pain.
For the last ten years, I’ve been working on rebuilding this relationship by cultivating moments of compassion to reconnect and heal her. Getting tattoos has helped me regain a sense of ownership of my body by being able to adorn myself with these visual postmarks of strength and beauty. And even attending speaker events and being on stage for work makes me feel more grounded. I love the ritual of spending a few hours getting ready for an event, and honoring the time it takes to do so.
Then at the end of spring I got pregnant and my body took on an entirely new purpose. She started to change, grow, and flood with hormones.
For first few months, I was humbled by this process. I was constantly sick with exhaustion, migraines, and nausea. My body didn’t ask me to slow down- she demanded it. There were no negotiations, I had only to listen and surrender. Thankfully, during the second trimester she changed again and I feel more productive and have more energy than I’ve had in months.
Inside me, a girl the size of a coconut grows. I can feel my daughter wiggle and kick and some days, I can even see the outline of her tiny frame against my skin. Because of her, my body is fuller- I’m seeing curves I’ve never had before, my nails are insanely long, and my hair feels thick like a horse’s mane.
I also feel more confident as if I’m experiencing the real power of my body for the first time. I take my prenatals and drink gallons of water, but other than that, I’m in awe of how my body just knows what to do.
So today, I ask that wherever you’re at with your own body, to take a moment to close your eyes and put your hand on your chest. Feel the powerful, automatic, and effortless beating of your heart- a lifesource that is there for you every single second of every single day.
Thank it for serving you and for being the vessel that so graciously holds and keeps all your secrets, fears, hopes, and wishes.