Making Peace.March 20, 2012 at 8:39 am | Posted in Choosing Happiness., Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 9 Comments
11 days ago, my sister transferred two “really good” day 5 thawed embryos. She and my BIL named them Paul and Ringo.
Today at 9am, she has her beta.
She has been trying to have a baby for more than six years now.
Last May was her last failed transfer.
Please, please, please.
In my last few therapy sessions, the issue of body image has come up multiple times. It felt to me like the great big fat elephant in the room each session where it came up. And interestingly, I found myself resistant to discussing it.
Because seriously, who DOESN’T have body image issues? Fertiles, infertiles – doesn’t matter. The topic of body image ALWAYS comes up in conversations whenever we have a girls night with my college girlfriends. And the discussions are NEVER about how happy we are with our bodies, it’s all about wishing things were different. The curvy one wishes she wasn’t so curvy. The thin one wishes she had more curves.
I’m not unusual, then, in wishing my body was different.
But whenever I find myself resisting thinking or discussing something in therapy, it’s a sign that I really need to look at it, examine how I feel, and really understand it.
So yesterday, I brought it up. And in the course of the discussion, I talked about what I liked and didn’t like about my body. I mentioned how much I love my body when I’m running, how I feel strong and capable. And my therapist asked me if I felt that way when I was pregnant with Lucky.
HELL NO, I believe was my answer. Being pregnant with Lucky was probably the most miserable 37 weeks and 2 days of my life.
And I went on to explain the whys. But at the end of my session, my therapist said to me: I think you still have a lot of healing to do as it relates to your body.
I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since.
Infertility took from me any faith I had in my body to do, really, anything. It took surgery, doctors, and embryologists to create the cells which turned into a baby; outside my body. And then, when they transferred those embryos back into me, my body didn’t accept them. We went through so many cycles before we actually got pregnant that I really believed there was something wrong with my uterus. Killer Ute, I called it.
And when we did get pregnant, it never FELT right. I went from the ick of the first trimester into back pain into real physical discomfort 100% of the time.
And emotionally, the whole time, I was completely terrified. I felt like I had slipped one under the radar, and as soon as God turned around and SAW that I had gotten what I really, really wanted, be all like, Well darn it, how did SHE get pregnant? Oops! I’m just going to go ahead and fix this little mistake. And take it away from me. And it would have destroyed me. Completely utterly destroyed me.
That’s the thing with infertility, what I grieve the most about the whole damn process.
Creating a baby SHOULD be about our love for each other and borne out of our desire to be parents. It SHOULD be the magic of our love creating the soul that is our son or dauighter. It should be the rightness of our marriage, the hope for our family, taking seed and creating life.
But. Instead? Charlie Brown and I had to invite a phalanx of medical professionals into what should be the most intimate part of our marriage.
And even then, it took procedure after procedure after try after attempt… and then a well-let’s-throw-everything-into-here-in-the-hopes-that-your-body-might-figure-it-out.
So, no. I DIDN’T feel strong when I got pregnant.
I felt scared, and worried, and SO fragile.
My body worked enough that Lucky was term. And then, when he came home, my body worked enough that I could nurse him.
But the thing that’s helped me begin to heal, really?
When I started running, I had never run more than maybe 4 miles at one time. On a treadmill. With walk breaks. And then I signed myself up for a half marathon, inspired by my friend D.
It was the first time I ran 6 miles in my training that I started to regain faith in my body. For once, all I had to do was follow a training plan, and sure enough, I could run a distance I had never thought possible. And then, that turned into another half marathon. And then a full marathon last year. And now, even while injured, doing the right things in my rehab – strength training and swimming – I am healing from the tendinitis and actually even seeing an increase in my average pace now that I’m running again.
My body ISN’T broken. It is alive, and strong, and healthy. And yes, there are parts of it I wish were different. I wish my inner thighs didn’t touch. I wish I didn’t have all that extra pudge in my belly. I wish I were the kind of person who didn’t have to work so hard to keep weight off. I wish I could eat what I wanted in whatever amount I wanted – without having to spend 10 hours a week running.
I wish we didn’t need the doctors and nurses and embryologists to help us get pregnant. I wish we didn’t have to do another IVF cycle.
But that isn’t our reality. And I can spend the rest of my life hating my body for it, or I can choose to look at what my body CAN do.
I can run. I can swim. I can dance. I can touch my toes. I can lift weights, and pick up my son and toss him onto his bed at night. I can deadlift 50lbs. I can carry a baby inside my body, and can feed him with the milk my body makes. I can pitch my son a ball, and I can run after it, and I can run after him when he wants to play tag.
This is the only body I’ve got. And it’s time I started to APPRECIATE it more.