The other day my Squish looked at himself in the mirror for the first time.
It happened to be a low mirror, and he was standing up (with my help, of course), so he didn't see his face - only that beautiful chubby little body, earnest strength under dimply softness. He took in his moving legs, the pudgy knees, the healthy round tummy, the stomping little feet. On his face was a look of awe, of wonder.
Not a trace of judgement.
I'm going to come out and say I love my body. This is not to say I don't judge myself - I have a few little hang ups (which twin pregnancy has drastically recast) as we all do, but overall I like what I see, how I feel, and what I can do. I love my body's capacity for change, for efficacy, for sensual grace and for frank expression. Bodies give us the distinct gift of an evolving, expanding concept of beauty throughout our lives. They force us to continually reckon with ourselves. Martha Graham famously said that "the body never lies." Yes, bodies are so honest it's almost brutal, but what's better than the truth? This is who you ARE, and it refuses to be cowed by the expectations of others.
There are, however, expectations of others.
Already, people ask us which twin is bigger, longer, heavier. They make predictions on future size and strength, on who will walk first and who will have a bigger head (this is an odd obsession in my family). Noses are compared to relatives and eye color speculated upon. Later, I know my boys will come under pressure to throw the furthest, run the fastest, maybe even be the thinnest or have the coolest hair.
A day will come when Squish looks in the mirror and sees, for the first time, himself through the lens of others' judgement. I only hope he can dismiss the voices that cause him harm, and hear echoes of the ones that deepen his acceptance of himself.
I will strive to be one of those positive voices.