Friday, August 26, 2016

On Body Image in the Midst of Infertility


I tried on a dozen outfits this morning. There were several reasons I couldn't wear each one but here are the top three:
  1. This makes my head look bobble-y and weird (while wearing a dress). 
  2. My feet look so small I should tip over (dissatisfaction with my converse). 
  3. I'm not sure I like my shoulders anymore. So let's cover them (while wearing a t-shirt). 
These are critiques I don't often make of myself. Lack of abs, length of legs (freakishly short), and amount of boobs (particularly when I REALLY want to go without a bra) are common concerns. But it's rare that I allow my body to deter me from wearing something. If I bought it, I obviously felt good in it and since I'm not any different in size or shape now, I'm hating these clothes because of emotional circumstance.

Lately, the emotions are making the choice. Lately, I'm struggling with my body. I'm struggling with the way it looks, the creases that call it home, the faint stretch marks that grace the secret places -like on my hips and my chest. I'm struggling with it in a way that's new, frustrating, and unfamiliar. It's a foreign land that's hostile and unfriendly, land that's tiring and laden with emotional bombs.

I've been blaming my scale. I've been saying that the number there is my problem and promising to skip carbs, eat veggies, inhale protein. But I've weighed the same number since our first anniversary -since I dedicated myself to losing the newlywed pounds. I've been that weight, been happy, been proud of my running and working and painting and words.

Back Then, my one hundred thirty-five pound frame was feminine -with some curves and kindnesses- in a way that made me beautiful and proud. A way that was alluring to the man I call mine. A way that laid open with promises of pregnancy and parenthood and opportunity that always looked pretty. Back Then, I didn't expect my Right Now.

Because Right Now, my body is a point of contention, a reminder, a tool that's -at the same time- impressive and incapable. The wound of infertility doesn't lay in the empty nursery or our master bedroom. It's not raw and ragged like tears in public and unpredictable fits of rage. It's silent, secret, almost hidden from myself. It's this body that is apologetically incapable of achieving a life goal.

Body, it isn't you, it's me. It's me and the grief that is tied in to swollen pregnancy dreams. It's mourning and grieving and acknowledging that -YES- a miracle can happen, but it also cannot. And it is here between the news and the miracle, that I acknowledge the Even If. Even if I don't carry a child in my womb, I will call myself His with utter faith and blessed grace. It is here in the Land of Even If that I'm trying to find peace with my fate and love for my body -flaws and all. Because it's this body that is broken, that isn't producing, and I'm fighting to find love while making some semblance of peace with the truth.

I'm relearning to love. I'm learning to love the promises my body can make, even if it's not the promise I find myself desperate to hear. It's this body with its dimpled chin and blue eyes and pointed ears that can promise a resemblance to my Popsicle and to Mama Bird. It's this body with its breasts and belly and acne-scars that can promise another breath, another heart beat, another mile covered and, for now, that has to be enough.

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