I don’t know about you but I rarely see bellies these days.
Other women’s, that is.
They are hidden. Cosseted in clothes, tight sometimes so you can see the outline but rarely exposed.
When my twins were about two, I bravely ventured to a swimming pool.
I wore a bikini and was so shocked by what I saw that afterwards I went straight out and bought one of those tankini things.
The pool had been crowded that hot, summer afternoon. Full of mothers with their preschoolers and not one woman with a child, not one had worn a bikini in solidarity with me.
I couldn’t understand it. I was bewildered.
What was so terrible underneath the swimsuit fabric that it couldn’t be shown? I felt I’d damaged the sisterhood somehow by my exposure.
One woman did stand out for a similar but different reason. She, too, wore a bikini.
But she was nine months pregnant and wearing her bump in all its’ massiveness.
I couldn’t decide whether I was drawn to watching it because it had a life of its’ own (it did – I could see it change shape as she walked along) or because it was so huge.
Or simply because her flesh tones stood out amongst an ocean of green and blue lycra.
Surely not all these women had bellies so hideous that they needed to be covered at all costs.
So when I was analyzing my blog stats over the weekend and saw that someone had connected to me from The Belly Project, I was intrigued.
What I found there was a revelation. It was fascinating.
Finally, I could see what’s going on under all that fabric.
There, on the site, was a veritable display of womens’ bellies.
Pre- and post-pregnancy. Slim and not-so.
I could remind myself what mine used to look like by looking at a photo an 18 year old, never-pregnant belly. I could see what other bellies besides mine looked like under their tank tops and t shirts. You’ll see, if you go to the site, that women’s bellies are like fingerprints – no two are exactly the same.
It’s a place to go to get validation.
To find someone who looks like you and check out belly buttons.
I haven’t uploaded my picture. But I promise I will. And when I do, I’ll tell you. Go take a look.
That’s quite a collection of bellies.