Pregnant Student In Prenatal Yoga Class

This morning, I woke up and went about my usual morning prep in front of my bathroom mirror. My reflection by now so used to the routine of leaning forward to get a closer look, leaning down to wash my face, and up again, face momentarily obscured with the face towel as I patted myself dry. I move through the face oil (under eye - check, neck - check, forehead - check) and other creams both consciously and unconsciously (did I or did I not put on SPF today is a thought that races across my mind whenever I’m out in the sun.). Today, in the mundane of morning prep, my reflection caught my eye and she said to me: “The greatest living and breathing paradox is the female body.”

There is no other species quite like the human female body. No other body understands and measures Time quite like it. We can measure the days, weeks and months with our body. 14 days into my cycle I know I’ll feel ovulation pain. My tender breasts and bloated belly will tell me the end of the month is about to arrive and I best pack my menstrual cup. The sudden fatigue just before the crossover to my bleed and I’m in bed catching more winks because I know it’s going to be winter time. And winter is my hardest season. 

When I carried Lea, the weeks measured in stretch marks appearing, crease by crease like an unfolding of an old painting stored away for too long. They never leave me, and no amount of stretch mark cream will ever make them disappear. When I was in the throes of labour, I felt timelessness in the threshold between maiden and mother. As I birthed Lea, I felt like my body swallowed me whole. And then. The reset. My body no longer following the designs I have been so familiar with. It was as if I was given a new but old body. I never knew it then as I bemoaned the aches and pains of parenting, but that oldness I felt was Time telling me to change the way I lived my life. “You’re not the same” said Time. The extra weight I carry - heavy in my bones, both a gift and burden, just like Time is. 

In many cultures, Time is god-like. To be able to understand Time was to be inches away from heaven. Age and Time are often conflated. The wisest of us know that age is a measure restricted by years, often a reflection of your physical form and in the female body, your fertility. Age as in when the doctor says “you need to have your second child quick before you hit 40.”. Age is a number to be hit (and also not). 

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Time on the other hand  is measured in many more ways beyond the obvious minutes and hours. Metrics to memories, sentiments to stories. “Remember that time..” is how we often begin our talks with our best friends. Time is recollection of all the good stuff that makes you feel warm inside. Time is more than the numbers you fill in. 

Yet, the female body in today’s world is always in pursuit of stopping Time. We are mistresses of it, yet we are constantly defying it with serums, filters, make-up and other concealments that society have deemed necessary to function. Here we are, our bodies so powerful in its time-telling, yet we spend so much time and resources hiding it from full view. Perhaps it this because of this concealment we have also concealed ourselves from our power. We become forgetful and not in a good way. On our deathbeds, here lies my body that forgot how to live with Time. 

Remember how our grandmothers’ skin shrivelled, but also luminescent. I once read as we get older our skin starts to become more and more transparent so as to reveal our soul, our spirit, our spark. How different we would live if we saw the Crone - from the Greek deity Cronus (or God of Time) and from Latin Corona or Crown - as a figure to aspire to and eventually become. What a beautiful world it would be. 

I closed the jars and screwed the caps shut. One of the bottles feel empty. Usually my mind will make its own mental note to restock the next time I’m out shopping. 

Not this Time.