I’ve touched briefly on my relationship with my body during this past year a bit in this post, but I haven’t discussed it at length. Come to think of it, unless we’re talking about our reproductive systems, it’s doesn’t seem to be talked about much in this community (because, honestly, I think we have more pressing issues we need to get out). I’ve been thinking a lot about how this whole thing has effected me body-wise lately. I tend to be going through a constant up and down with how I’m treating myself, and right now, I need to bring it to light so I can force myself to head back up. So here it goes.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve taken pretty damn-good care of my body. It’s something I’m quite proud of, actually. I was a vegetarian for 16 years, and through that, I had to learn where I could get proper nutrition from non-animal sources. This also kick-started my love of cooking. Once I got sick of pasta and bread in the beginning, I had to start getting creative if I was going to do it healthfully and not get bored. Then while I was living in Rhode Island, I met a raw foodist and he inspired me to try raw for a little bit and the result was few weeks of increased energy and a feeling of overall lightness. Of course, if you’ve ever tried it, you know it’s a hell of a lot of work. So time started outbalancing lightness and I bailed. But it left quite an impression on me and made me re-think what I put in my body. I was still vegetarian up until right before I got married 2 years ago when I started eating poultry again. It happened after months of all of a sudden craving chicken, and I finally couldn’t keep denying what my body obviously needed. I jumped back in and haven’t looked back since. I still don’t eat red meat and honestly don’t believe I ever will (see here). It doesn’t even dawn on me to eat fast food, and I rarely touch soda unless I’m going to a movie. Now that I have said all of this, you should know I’m also far from perfect. I have a sweet tooth like no other and chips are my nemesis. I also really like bourbon, as well as the occasional beer. And don’t even get me started on my love for pizza. So yes, even though I’m a pretty healthy eater, I certainly have my downfalls. And even with the years of healthy eating, I still don’t love how I look. I just think that in this day and age where Americans are dying of heart disease and kids are being diagnosed with weight-related diabetes, it’s something I can be proud of.
So where am I going with this? I swear I have a point, and here it is: over this past year and as a result of my losses, this default for me of healthy eating, has been challenged immensely. I’ve had, unconsciously, a love-hate relationship with my body. For obvious reasons, I felt like my body failed my baby. It didn’t give it a safe place to thrive, and ended my pregnancies. I wasn’t just disappointed in my body, I was pissed-off at it. I felt like it betrayed me and I wanted nothing to do with it (good thing it’s so easy to escape your body!). The weeks immediately following the losses, I couldn’t care less about what I was putting into my body, if anything. If it weren’t for Tim, I probably would’ve survived just on bread and water. I didn’t want to nourish the body that took my babies from me. I felt it (I) didn’t deserve it. Eventually I came around each time and knew that if I wanted to give pregnancy another shot, I’d need to start treating my body a little better. I would start taking my vitamins again and eating my greens. I give up my beloved coffee and quit drinking. But even now, 9 months after my last loss, I still find myself going through periods of hating what my body did to me*. These past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve started not caring again about how I’m treating my body. For me, it’s always a sign that something’s not right with my emotions and I’ve started getting angry at it again for still being empty, a year-and-a-half after this journey started. Somewhere in my delusional part of my mind, I think punishing my body will give me my babies back. Fortunately, I come to my senses and know that’s ridiculous. So I know I’ll come back around, especially now that I’m admitting it out loud. But it has been a difficult month for me, and I’m sure that has everything to do with it. The difficult stuff is starting to turn around, and that’s usually when I give myself a break body-wise. I know I’ll jump back on track. It’s in my nature at this point to eat healthy, I know I’m fortunate for that. So I’ll get there.
But I’m wondering what your experience has been like. If you’ve had losses or are struggling with infertility, were or are you angry at your body in a similar manner? Have you caught yourself retaliating against it through your diet? Could you, like me, really go for a cupcake right now?
*Intellectually, I know my body was doing what it needed to do, and intellectually, I don’t blame my body. But subconsciously, I can’t seem to let it completely off the hook. With the help of my therapist, I’m working on it.