When I began to offer the Into The Belly events I asked my lovely friend Sophie if I could use this photo of her decorated belly whilst it was still home to their young son, with both his mum and his dad´s hands cradling and holding him.
I loved sharing this photo as it so beautifully celebrates the power of a woman´s body to create, nurture and hold-safe new life.
I have always had a curvaceous body, with a soft belly and breasts on which my nieces, and nephews and my son would rest and cuddle into when they were babies. Mine has been a body that lent itself easily to maternal comfort. But I was busy and active and I was never overweight. And then in the past couple of years I have moved into being more heavy than I have ever been, and yet more comfortable and at ease in my own body. During the Into the Belly immersions for women I have often received comments from women who recognized my comfort in my body, and this is a body that might be judged by our society as heavier than it should be.
When I had the fabulous Nikki de Gruchy of Unlimited Exposure staying, and she agreed to an impromptu photo shoot, I felt compelled to ask her if she would take some photos of me that celebrated my belly in its power and wholeness. The two photos below really capture this; the raw power of the female body; with soft flesh and stretch-marks as evidence that my belly has held the new, growing life of my sons. When I saw these photos, even I was in awe of the power of a woman´s sexuality when it is untethered and allowed.
And then I woke the next morning. And I couldn’t understand my feelings of guilt. Then I recognized the source of this guilt – that I had allowed my power to be photographed; that I had shared this naked power. And beyond the guilt was the fear and vulnerability in sharing these images of myself, even with close friends. And knowing that I needed to share them more widely.
And so from my truth and my vulnerability I extend an invitation to lay your head upon the belly of the goddess…..