My Body and Me
I am being so mean to myself lately, very often putting down this body that created Mackenzie.
In the last ten months I have gone through five rounds of IVF. We started IVF eight months after I had given birth to Mackenzie and one month after losing her. We started IVF while I was in the deepest and harshest depths of our grieving because we needed hope. We needed to know that our world, our future would not just be us, alone with our grief.
My body carried a beautiful baby; she was born a healthy happy little girl. She weighed a healthy 3.89kg and was 54cm long. My body not only carried her and nourished her but it birthed her. Almost two days of being induced and labour, two hours of pushing and then eventually, when Mackenzie decided she didn’t want to come out, enduring a C-section.
My body then healed from this major surgery whilst also nourishing a little bub. And she grew well. I carried Mackenzie around in my arms, rocking and swaying to comfort her or put her to sleep. My back ached, and my arms strained but I never wanted to fail her and put her down when she needed me and my body didn’t fail me either, it held up and did its job well.
In the past ten months of our IVF, my body has been pumped full of hormones, daily injections, tablets, human growth hormones, and has had dietary changes, blood tests, acupuncture, internal ultrasounds (fondly called the ‘dildo cam’ between my friend Kath and I), five egg collections, five twilight sedations and all the emotion and energy that goes along with IVF. The hope, the fears and the tears.
I guess that because of the above, I recently haven’t been feeling good in myself. Despite not having IVF injections at the moment I am ‘strangely’ soul-shatteringly tired. Each day at work I feel like I could fall asleep at my desk. Even though I go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 6:30am, it is still not enough sleep. Sometimes I worry that something is wrong with me. Wouldn’t I have felt this tired during the IVF not now? Why, when we are having a break from IVF, am I so exhausted? Why now? It’s as if I have been holding my breath for past ten months and now my body can finally breath, finally relax. Is that it? It seems so.
I am also feeling bad about myself physically, my appearance. The IVF has caused me to put on weight. My stomach, that used to be jiggly but flat, now sits over my jeans. None of my clothes fit or make me feel beautiful. I feel that I am in an in-between no-woman’s land. Too big for my old clothes but I don’t want to buy new ones because I always have a hope of being in maternity clothes soon. So instead I wear loose clothing which, ultimately, I feel makes me look fatter and daggy.
My skin is dull and sometimes breaks out. I have bags under my eyes from feeling tired and, just as the final kick in the guts, I have found my first grey hair, right before my 35th birthday. I suppose it isn’t surprising, if stress has a role in causing grey hairs or just the inevitable effect of passing of time.
I want to be happy with my body because I know that in reality I don’t look that bad. In twenty years’ time I will look back and wonder what the heck I was complaining about! But instead, right now I sit here feeling flabby, tired, drained and old beyond my years.
I am trying to feel good about myself. I am eating well, I am going to the gym, I try to drink enough water and thanks to some kind people, lately I have been treating myself with facials, manicures and eyelashes etc. But then, even after those appointments, sometimes I feel that I just look like a pig in lipstick.
I know that I don’t speak nicely to myself. I realise that my self-talk is often negative. It is quite frankly gross of me to behave this way towards myself. You know what I’m saying, we all do it at times.
I see memes that say ‘if you had a friend that you spoke to the same way you speak to yourself, how long do you think that person would allow you to be your friend’.
Writing out the list of what my body has done in the last two years, I feel awful. How can I feel so badly about myself, about my body which has been through so much? How can I treat myself like this?
I have to remember be gentle, be kind to myself. My body is amazing. What it has done for me is incredible, I should be proud of it, not putting it down.
Can someone please remind me of this the next time I falter?