Monday, August 25, 2014

This Body of Mine

This body of mine, we've had some hard times together.

I wrote a post over the weekend, a short status about how people seem to have commented on "how big" I am throughout this pregnancy. How I shrug it off and laugh and pretend like it doesn't bother me. How I know that their words aren't intended as a criticism or commentary on me per se, but are based on whatever their observations are at that moment without whatever filter they'd ordinarily have.

Something about being pregnant makes people feel compelled to comment on things about you they never would otherwise. It's as though there is this flashing "OPEN" sign to the world inviting comments from everyone who sees you.

I have tried as much this time as I ever have to not take these words personally. For the most part, it has worked, I've been able to keep the words from working their way into the recesses of my brain and setting up camp. There have been times though that they have tapped into that long standing self doubt, the voices in my head that told me for years that my value as a person was contingent on a number on a scale.

I was anorexic. 

Technically, I still could be, although that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense since I've never been thin. 

One of the greatest misconceptions about eating disorders is that they only happen to people who are already thin, or who become that way. There are all the people like me, who never achieved those unreasonable goals, but still starved ourselves in some attempt to get there. 

The other great misconception about eating disorders is that they have to do with food or exercise. The food and the exercise are a means to an end, not the root of the problem. They come from anxiety, from a feeling of needing to control something, anything about our lives. 

I still drift that way when things spin out of control. I've learned to catch myself when it happens. When I begin to welcome the gutteral pains, when I start skipping meals, when I push the food around my plate, when I'm just "too busy" to be bothered with eating, when I start obsessing about the number on the scale...that is when I know it's back. 

So, I'd suppose then that I wasn't anorexic. I still am, and probably forever will be, though it may not be active at any given time.

Like now. 

I will be 33 weeks pregnant this week. I'm doing a very delicate balancing walk on the thin ice of gestational diabetes. I have to be super disciplined about what I eat and when and how. I have to manage my medications and my other conditions and adapt and adjust with each day to make sure it all stays in check.

When you are pregnant, everyone assumes that you want to eat all the time. That you have cravings and can satiate them. That if you want to eat a piece of cake or four slices of delicious French bread, that you can. That it's a free pass to eat, to gain weight freely, to enjoy eating for once.

I can't. 

It doesn't even phase me though because I am so conditioned to food restrictions, even if they aren't self imposed at the moment. 

I can eat like a robot, a robot who dwells in this constant state of lingering hunger, never ever permitting myself to overeat because I can't. And I can do it because I have been anorexic. 

I'm well trained.

I have cravings, but I'm well equipped to ignore them. Pretending to not feel the grumbling in my stomach is something I've refined over the years.

People ask me all the time if it bothers me to have a diet this limited. They try to find me some kind of alternative or tell me it would be okay to just have one of whatever they want to feed me.

It doesn't phase me because I've been doing it for so long for a different reason. I don't want to even talk about food because it's not worth it to me. Nothing tastes good. Anything I'd ever want I can't have. And it doesn't even phase me.

It's a strange and twisted set of abilities and circumstances, I know.

It's with all of this that the words others say come into my ears and dwell in my mind. Sometimes I can fight them off, sometimes they linger and burrow.

Never mind that I will deliver this child at the lowest weight of any of my pregnancies. 

Never mind that my blood sugar is better controlled than it ever has been in the past.

Never mind that I haven't had trouble with swelling like in prior pregnancies.

Never mind that my blood pressure is perfect so far.

Never mind any of that.

Part of what is bothering me the most right now are the assumptions that my obgyn seems to be laboring under. She, maybe because it is what she sees in her practice, seems to be convinced that no matter how stable and well I am at this moment, that it's all set to go to hell and that it will and that she's certain about it and that she will be shown to be right. She's become trite about it, commenting on how much I've grown, except that the baby has only ever measured in the 50-60th percentile range from the beginning. 

It's as though she is almost hoping I deliver a gigantic baby or suffer some serious complications just so she can say I told you so

She wants me to doubt this body of mine, and I refuse.


I refuse.

This body of mine, it isn't perfect but it isn't broken.

This body of mine, it doesn't fit into our society's parameters of beauty.

This body of mine, it struggles sometimes.

This body of mine, it is working beautifully right now.

This body of mine, I'm taking the best care of it that I can.

This body of mine, has birthed four children and will soon welcome a fifth.

This body of mine, it is stretched and tested right now.

This body of mine, it's doing just fine.

This body of mine, it's doing what it is meant to do right at this moment in time.

This body of mine, it doesn't need your criticism.

This body of mine, I am celebrating it for all that it can do and has done.

This body of mine, we can't hear you.

I don't have much time left with this pregnancy. The days are passing quickly and soon it will have completed this, its last gestation. I will never be pregnant again. I will never have this opportunity again to sit and marvel at the movements in my striped and scarred abdomen. 

So just let me have this. 

Let me embrace the magic of this time without your harsh words. 

Let me enjoy these final days. 

Give me a chance to appreciate this body for all the amazing things it can do.

xo

9 comments:

  1. Amen lady! Don't ever listen to people who say such ballsy, shitty things. The fact that you're pregnant doesn't give them license to touch your stomach, give unsolicited advice and dole out unsolicited remarks. But they will and they do. People don't think before they spew. F 'em. You're fabulous. You're carrying a life for crying out loud, and they have no idea what you've been through. I admire you so much. xo

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  2. I am in awe. I still get mad at my body for failing me after #3 when I so desperately wanted two more kids (Mike and Sean were their names because honestly....I only produce boys). You body is bringing life into the world, and in my eyes, that makes it beautiful and perfect. But I am a sappy baby-loving, have-to-remember-to-not-touch-strangers'-bellies goof. Sorry about that. I'm working on it...I swear. xoxo mar

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  3. Your dr has a lot of nerve. Never doubt your body. I know the tight rope of gestational diabetes and did it 5 times too! Each time I listened to my bodies signals. Ate what I felt I needed while sticking diligently to the diet. And all 5 times perfect little people all 6/7 lbs a piece. I gained some. The most with my last pregnancy. I lost some of that. But the weight is what made us a family. It was there to support our lives and cushion the baby in its nest. And it still is as it gets widdled away breast feeding the last one. Enjoy your last miracle.

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  4. Amen, Kelly! You celebrate that beautiful body. I can't wait to 'meet' #5. You and Mr. Hive make some pretty special kids. I would say something about anorexia, though. It's not just about controlling food and one's weight. It's about controlling your life. When I was in my 40's, I 'discovered' that I was anorexic in high school. I argued with my therapist for a while that I had no issues with my weight and wasn't trying to lose weight (though, of course, I was painfully thin and became quite ill.) He finally (lovingly) battered me enough to realize and admit that my life at the time was in total chaos and I was trying desperately to control the only thing I felt I could -- food. It had nothing to do with food, weight, diet, beauty, my 'looks'. It had everything to do with struggling for even a semblance of balance in a world that was falling apart and completely out of my hands. -Amy.

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