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.

But.

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?

Running.

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.

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9 Comments »

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  1. REALLY hoping this it for your sister. Fingers tightly crossed.

    Don’t forget, your body overcame an obstacle on it’s own. If I remember correctly, you didn’t think you were going to be able to breastfeed lucky at all because of your breast reduction. Well, you did, your body worked for you.

    Thoughtful post. We could all learn to appreciate our bodies a bit more. Even when, in our eyes, they are failing us.

  2. Hoping for great news for your Sister.

    I really needed to read this today because I need to appreciate mine too. I’m not a runner and I’m not in shape the way you are, but my body does so much for me on a daily basis, I should be much more thankful for it.

  3. Sending good thoughts for your sister.

    And I hear you about body image … I poke and prod at mine, too. But yet, it is strong and capable … most people around here are running around with toddlers in their 20s, not when they’re almost 40. Thanks for this reminder to appreciate what DOES work!!

  4. Really hoping your sister got good news.

    Thanks for this post. It resonated with me a lot today.
    xoxo
    T.

  5. Really hoping for positive news for your sister

    I do believe that body image issues (and IF issues, in the ‘railing against it’ way) have to do with acceptance. I have never felt that my body failed me or that I failed, per se, because I accepted that we had ‘unexplained infertility’ (and because we tried month after month for YEARS, I really did believe it) and I was grateful that there was actually science that I could take advantage of to help us have a child.

    My pregnancy was perilous and I was afraid every single day of it. I was so grateful that my body nurtured my son through 38 weeks (even if, structurally, it didn’t want to carry a pregnancy) and that I, too, could nurse him effectively. I don’t know if this is going to sound new-agey, but what struck me in reading this post is that I have never felt defined by my body and my body isn’t who I am. It is the vessel that I occupy on this earth. So, maybe that is it. I am connected to it, for sure, but I spend most of my waking moments in my head and heart and very few focusing on my body.

    I also wonder how much it all has to do with losing my brother when I was 11. In an instant, I learned the fragility of life when someone I loved was taken from me so violently. It set my priorities at a very early age.

    Lots of food for thought bundled up in your one post.

    So, yes, re-framing your self-talk, the endless loop of things you tell yourself, should be helpful and I am so glad you’ve chosen to work toward acceptance as you deserve to be set free.

  6. Ooh, really hoping for your sister! Please let us know.

    (There’s so much to say about body image, I’m not sure where to start. I think I am going to leave the rest of your post alone for now. I just wanted to get those good thoughts in.)

  7. I’m so glad that running has restored faith in the strength in your body. It’s funny… for me…my weight can fluctuate 5-10 lbs…but as long as I am running and I feel fit…I feel good about myself. I feel strong. For as long as these bodies hold out for us, we should try and find ways that make us feel alive and appreciate the blood coursing through our veins.

  8. I hope your sister’s cycle works!

    I can totally relate to this. I was just on vacation, and I kept looking at the moms who had a bunch of kids, and I was so, so envious of their fertile forms. (Some of them were none too fit, but that didn’t matter to me.)

    Then I realized how dumb this is. Just because a body functions in one way (by producing babies) doesn’t mean that there are tons of other things bodies do. So then I went horseback riding and felt awesome about my body: I’m good at it and it’s physically demanding. Just like running makes you feel good about your body.

  9. This is just… amazing. Thank you for writing it.


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