There was a point in the middle of the hardest part of my labor where I was hunched over in my shower, moaning and singing and swaying as hot water streamed all over my back, where I asked myself who was doing this to me. Who was making all of these unbelievably intense feelings happen to me? Instantly, I felt myself answer: You. You are doing this to you. Your body is doing all of this. Also? You're kind of a badass and not one to be messed with. Labor and delivery taught me to love my body, mostly by making me confront just how powerful my body is, despite how little it typically requires to be such a force.
In exchange for some food (OK, a lot of food, in my case), water, rest, and affection, my body not only keeps me alive but has successfully created a brand new (and quite adorable) person. As much as I used to begrudge myself the rest and other inconvenient needs of my body, after labor and birth I just couldn't. All this time, my body was doing so much, and is capable of so much, yet I was looking for ways to cheat it. I wanted to figure out the bare minimum I could get away with, especially in terms of sleep, to stay alive instead of giving it the full care it deserves.
I don't look for ways to cheat myself anymore. I can finally, honestly say that I love my body, not only because it made my precious son but also because I finally realized just how precious I am in the process of birthing him.