Why don’t you just have surgery on your hernia?
Why don’t you just have surgery to fix your diastasis recti?
These are questions I’ve been asked more than once. My answer is two-fold:
Firstly, I have had surgery on my hernia. I was born with an umbilical hernia (apparently 20 – 30% of children of African descent are). At age 6, after months of bullying, I had surgery on it. Who knows what the surgeon was taking because he cut me open and absolutely did not fix my hernia. Instead he left with a huge scar to add to my body image insecurities. I remember the surgery process well. It was a painful, unpleasant experience that I never want to repeat. I think a lot of people see doctors as gods. Yes, doctors are trained medical professionals with a lot of knowledge, but they are human. They don’t know everything and they make mistakes. My surgery was a mistake. Having another surgery will not guarantee success. I don’t want to have a string of surgeries hoping for a perfect result that I may never get. It’s not worth the risk to me. I’m not against surgery but cosmetic surgery is not for me. My hernia causes me absolutely no physical pain; the only pain I’ve ever experienced from it is the emotional pain of feeling like a freak.
Secondly, I think we live in a world that puts a huge emphasis on perfection, especially when it comes to physical appearance. Perfection has become the standard. You can have children, but you better not look like you have. You need to weigh 100 pounds but you better have a big fat ass and D-cup boobs to balance that frame out. I refuse to let perfection be my standard. My body is not perfect. That is not my goal. I want a body that works. This herniated; split abs body has carried two pregnancies to term. I think that’s pretty awesome and it’s not something I desire to mess with.
Weakness comes when you deny the power within you. Weakness comes when you give your power away. I had surgery as a child because I allowed the cruel comments of others to define how I viewed myself. Although I have said that my hernia and DR is aesthetic people still ask why I just don’t have surgery. I believe they ask this because they cannot understand how I can love a body that is flawed; how I can love a body that looks weird. I can love it because I’ve decided to love it. People think it’s weird because it’s not something they often see. Those with it hide it because they are embarrassed. I am not going to be embarrassed my body anymore. I won’t get surgery because I refuse to let other people tell me what is beautiful and what is acceptable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am the beholder of my beauty, and I behold that this body is awesome; Flaws and all.
There is an unspoken “truth” within the fitness industry that happiness will come when you have your “goal body”. That’s a lie and will always leave you wanting. Happiness comes when you decide to embrace the person that you are and the body that you have. I exercise to make my body stronger, not to make it perfect. It may have taken 29 years but I’m OK with my hernia. And I’m not going to hide it anymore.