I looked up from the hospital gown that draped over my belly, my knees poking through the stiff cotton fabric, dotted with green diamond rosettes, and was surprised to see the straight black hair framing the face of my still pregnant girlfriend, as she poked her head through the doorway. She had come to visit my first-born son and me. I had been through an ordeal… my emotions within the last 24 hours had run through the possibility of loosing my son, to an emergency c-section, to the beautiful realization that he was all right, to the awareness that I now had a catheter, and to the excruciating pain in my belly if someone dared to make me laugh. Or worse, if I had to sneeze, or cough. Excruciating pain.
Like a true girlfriend, she sat down on the bed beside me, and snuggled up close to see how I was, before checking on the baby. I lifted the sheets, and showed her how magically this birth had just “flattened my belly like a pancake.” A weight had truly been lifted off of my lungs, and air was much easier to take in. I was thinking how lucky I was to get off so easy – no crunches required. The second I gave birth, my stomach was instantaneously “concave.”
Except when I lifted the sheets and saw her eyes, I sadly realized my perception was a little skewed from reality. Maybe it was all those percocets I had been taking. She looked at my belly, and back up to my face and said, “yeah, it takes awhile to loose some of that.” A bit embarrassed, I pretended to know what she was talking about, brushed off her words and turned our attention to the little baby lying beside the bed.
Fourteen years later, she surprised me again by standing on my doorstep, her black hair falling forward, framing her face. Like a true girlfriend, she plopped down on the sofa with me, and she held me close, knowing a hug was what I sorely needed. Her hand dropped slowly across me, and we both noticed the four-inch wide gap between the waist of my pants and the now truly concave shape of my belly.
A girl may carry her emotions on her face, but it is her belly that reveals what’s happening in her spirit. The belly is the center of power. Yogis tell us that strengthening the belly is vital, as all the energy centers radiate from the frequency given off by the belly. That little pouch that first appears signals the arrival of a new life, or the “extra tire” reveals her satisfaction with the people she loves, and in her confidence to eat just two more of those chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes the belly is not just flat, but seems to be missing. The cookies have lost their charm, and greasy indulgences of junk food are simply passed over. Nothing seems to fit. Almost as if she is getting rid of everything that no longer belongs to who she is. When the belly is truly concave, this is a time when a girl is quietly giving birth to herself.