Pregnancy, Postpartum Body Love, & Dance

Five years ago, I entered into the “Bellydancing Mama” group. It’s not official or anything but it’s a rather small group. We all have danced through pregnancy, to some degree or another. A select few continue on to keep dancing, but our dance is never the same as before.

How I danced before, during and after pregnancy is completely different.

During pregnancy, I had to slow it down. My body would ache with certain movements, and I had to stop turning because of the shift in weight. Not only was my body changing, but they way people treated me as a dancer was different.

Suddenly, they were telling what I should do with my body. They would say things like “Just be careful. or “You shouldn’t do this because…” and the dreaded “We can’t have you dance anymore because you might get hurt.” Now these people were not doctors, they were concerned and I get that. But could I get hurt? Yes, it was possible. But did I know my limitations and adapted to them? Hell yes.

And don’t get me started on the belly touching………

Postpartum was a whole new ball game. I had twins to term (37 weeks) I gained 60 pounds and had Diastasis Recti (separation of the stomach muscles). My stomach was still huge, my skin sagged, and I felt like a truck hit me. I started to feel resentful of those who had 5 kids and somehow, through some black magic maybe, got their stomach back.

They don’t tell you that your body won’t feel like your body anymore. Sometimes, we lose a connection to it, and it shows in our dance. As our life is pulled in new ways, our body falls to the wayside. We start to hate or resent our bodies, because they didn’t go back after exercising, like they said!

Going back into dance, I had a number of people look like they wanted to ask me if I was pregnant to actually asking that dreaded question (which you should NEVER EVER ASK, OK?). Some dancers focused so much on “the look” that I felt like I wasn’t a dancer anymore.

I wasn’t skinny. I had sagging skin. My boobs were bigger (that’s a plus), and my stomach stuck out. But, it took me 5 years to finally start being happy with my body. All the voices in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough were 100% wrong. My body IS amazing. It grew two humans at the same time and still kept me dancing.

The pandemic really forced me to slow down and start finding new ways to dance. With diastasis recti, there are a few moves I cannot do the same anymore. So, I found teachers who understood body mechanics and showed me that I can still do them, just differently. I can still do belly pops, just differently. I can still dance, and I feel like I’m growing exponentially.

No matter what you look like, dear dancing mama, you ARE a dancer. Your body is amazing and there are many of us who don’t look like the celebrities with flat stomachs. We continue to dance. We connect back to our bodies. We listen more closely to them. And, we can sometimes out dance even the best.

When we are vulnerable, and share that with audiences, they go on that journey with us and love every minute of it.

Want to join me for some bellydancing love? I’m opening my NEW virtual studio at www.Ko-Fi.com/AriyanaRaqs September 30, 2021! You get four levels of membership to choose from and stand alone pre-recorded workshops to level up your dance. Click on the link and sign up!

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