The look of shock and awe on their faces was priceless. I had just told my babysitter and her friend that the baby-in-belly would wake me up at night with his hick-ups. Here stood two beautiful girls, with bodies of women, who in some parts of the world would be mothers instead of high school students, completely unaware of what it means to have a person growing inside you.
I can home that night and talked with Matt about the experience, trying to figure out why it left me feeling sad. Matt, though admittedly out of his range of expertise, listened with the heart of a man who has daughters. And this is what I came up with; we lost it somewhere. We lost the magic, the power of what it means to be a woman.
Are little girls told what amazing things their bodies are? My body has the ability to grow a whole person from just a few cells. This person has a heart beat, arms and legs, can swim around in my belly, all before anyone in the outside world would know they exist. When this child comes into this world, which is an amazing feat of its own, my body will sustain them. The curve of my hips, the shape of my body has the power to attract. My body possess a brain equal to any mans. I can be hard nosed or soft hearted. My body is an amazing thing, capable of things a mans could never do. But with great power comes great responsibility and this is where we fail our women.
What would happen if we accurately explained to a girl, yes GIRL, what happens when a baby grows inside her body? What if we explained the hormones and cycles, without judgement and embarrassment? What if we captured her heart and her mind with the power her body possesses? Would she still choose to have an abortion if she had full understanding? Or, back it up, would she allow a man to treat her body with disrespect, to use her and leave her? Would she dress her amazing body in a way that said she believed it was the best thing she had to offer the world?
This year many states have made an ultrasound mandatory before an abortion. While I can certainly understand what they are trying to achieve, I find it to be too little, too late. Not to mention I am, on principal, against the government making any rules regarding my body. Showing a woman an image doesn't change the terrible position and choice she has in front of her, she needed the information when she had power over the choice.
The church has made an effort to talk to girls about bodies too, but so often it is dealt with in a shame-inducing method or completely un-sexualized, which sell a woman, who is a sexual being, very short. They are told about "purity" but amputated from the power. It doesn't help that the bible was written in a very patriarchal society and time and pretty much disregardful of a woman's ability to lead, develop, and disciple.
And then there is our culture, who has pretty much boiled our girls down to boobies and booties. Pakistan has more female representation in its government than we do. Where are the female role models for my girls? The ones that show them that powerful women are not the ones who are half dressed, searching for princes to rescue them, or all around just bitchy?
So I am not sure where that leaves me. I desperately want to raise girls who have a full appreciation of the awesomeness in which they were created. I want a "rite of passage". I feel like my voice in my children's ear falls so short when contrasted against the media message in which they are surrounded. How do I teach them that the ability to grow people is a huge responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly when they see all these women who chose to disrespect it? How do I share with them that the secret of birth is not that it is painful, but that women are amazing and strong? How do I let them know that the beautiful, rounded curves of their body can be used for good, not evil?
Once again I find myself on my knees, a problem bigger than just me and the girls intrusted to me. I pray they are surrounded by amazing women who show them as much as tell them. I pray that my words are those that empower respect and awe, not preach. I pray protection of hearts and bodies. I pray for something bigger than I can do.