This is my body

I stand naked in front of the full-length mirror, critically appraising my 58-year-old body. I loathe the fat that has accumulated on my scarred abdomen, my jiggly arms and my disproportionate breasts. Just for a minute though. I smile, remembering that I successfully grew two beautiful, healthy babies in that belly. I earned the scars by enduring multiple surgeries to prolong my life. My flabby arms held babies, carried sacks of food and pulled wagons full of beach toys. And the boobs I have never liked produced enough breast milk to feed my babies (and probably twenty others). And now, this same body carries me through the joy and adventure of my very full adult life, creating memories all the way. It is still loved by my children and my husband. It is a reasonably strong and healthy body, which I honor by fuelling it with the right food, exercising it as much as I can stand and resting it more than I probably should. My imperfect, healthy body allows me to work, play and live the life I have chosen.

I love this issue of Maine Women Magazine because each of our feature stories, in its own way, tells the tale of a strong woman who is honoring her body. Meet Natalie St. Pierre (page 20), who was born with cerebral palsy and, in her 30s, began to discover what her body could do when she started skiing with Maine Adaptive Sports. A self-described “late bloomer” to sports, St. Pierre wishes she would have discovered Maine Adaptive earlier on. “I don’t know if I would have been an Olympian, but I would have had more of a sense of self and confidence.”

My favorite quote in this issue is from Beth Wilkas Feraco who simply says, “we can do hard things.” Feraco was losing some control over her life as she became more and more addicted to alcohol. She started attending AA meetings and continued for one solid year. During that time she took up running, which she hated, but she kept at it. “Running is not easy. It sucks,” she says. But she endured and today she has a new perspective and a full life. Read more on page 26.

Many of you have already heard of and read about Pat Gallant-Charette before you picked up this issue. We have admired her for years and wanted to tell her story in a way that maybe hasn’t been heard. Gallant-Charette, at age 67, has many swimming accomplishments, but she describes the beginning of her journey like this: “I was 48 and overweight and nervous.” Pat’s strong body has gotten her through hours and hours of grueling physical exercise, but it is her strong mind-body connection that she believes is the key to her success. Read more on page 16.

Maybe after reading about all these amazing women, the next time you stand naked in front of your mirror, you will see the beauty and strength in your own body.

Also, because this is our May issue, we wanted to give a shout out to all the moms for Mother’s Day! See our little tribute to some special mom’s on page 56. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to all of our social media for info on upcoming events and issues.

Lee Hews

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