My midwife Alisa told me a little bit about the history of belly dancing. One of the ladies she leads a pregnancy class with teaches belly dancing for pregnant women as a means of exercise (and something to do to keep them feeling sexay). As it turns out, belly dancing was originally a way for women to teach their daughters about birth -- they would dance it with their daughters as a celebration of birth. A dance about the pregnant, vuloptuous woman preparing her body for birth by the fluid movements of her hips and abdomen. It was later that the dance was sexualized, but its original purpose and meaning is so beautiful to me.
Today John and I went to see a friend perform at a small festival, and the performance before his was a group of belly dancers. Immediately, what came to my head was what Alisa told me about the dance. The women looked beautiful on the stage. One lady (I assume she was the instructor -- she exuded so much confidence and performed solo, with more skill than the other women) was wearing a top that revealed her mid-drift. The first thing I noticed is that this lady was cut. I mean, wow. She had great abs. The next thing I noticed was that her skin was sort of lose and she had little stretch marks just above her skirt. Obviously, she was a mommy.
Then for a second I wanted to cry. Here was woman who was a mommy and had given her body to her child, and now was embracing her body, showing it off by dancing this breathtaking birthing dance (whether or not she, or anyone else watching, saw it as that) -- the whole thing was incredible to me. Incredible, beautiful, inspiring -- whatever you want to call it. (Clearly, I am a tad emotional.)
I can't wait to give birth. I know that may sound crazy, and I have people (mainly my younger friends who aren't even thinking of having a child anytime soon) ask me if I'm scared of giving birth, especially since I am doing it naturally, and I have found myself saying, "Actually, no. I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait." I'm sure once I'm 9 months pregnant and the birth is right around the corner, I'll be thinking a bit differently.