I was today years old when I learnt that the part of the body we affectionately refer to as a pouch has a proper scientific name.
Ladies and gentleman, introducing the panniculus, “an apron of skin and fat that sags below the navel, particularly after pregnancy or weight loss”.
While I won’t be adding panniculus to my baby names list, I do think we should show it a little more love. Because despite what you might see on social media, having a pouch, or a panniculus on a Sunday, is entirely natural and normal. And to prove it, I refer you to the drawing attached.
This piece of art was created in 23,000 BCE, on the walls of a cave in what we now call France. Opinions vary as to whether it represents a woman in childbirth, or an appreciative ode to the female form, but either way her pouch is clearly visible, and she was important enough and interesting enough and beautiful enough to commit to rock for eternity.
It can be hard to feel good about our bodies after pregnancy and birth, and there’s no denying that we have been forever changed by the experience inside and out, but it’s even harder when we try to live up to unattainable and constantly shifting beauty standards.
That’s why this piece of art brings me such joy, the figure is undeniably and unashamedly female, lumps and bumps and all. And if a woman 25,000 years ago, whose life was undoubtedly much harder than mine, can handle this jelly, then so can I.