For as long as I can remember, I have been rather uncomfortable in my own body. Not in any way that could be classified as a psychological disorder – or maybe it could. I don’t know. Anyway, my point is that up until now, no matter my size, I’ve always been self-conscious about my body. I’ve always hated having my picture taken, and speaking in front of groups, and in general any situation where I might be “on display.” I don’t know if it’s because I’ve always been at least a little overweight (and more than a little in the last few years), or if I would have felt the same way as a slender person.
After my miscarriage, I not only felt uncomfortable in my body, I hated it. I knew it wasn’t my body’s fault, but emotionally I felt like it failed me and my baby. And then I had trouble getting pregnant and learned I had very severe endometriosis. Add to that 7 (or 8 or 9) failed treatment cycles. More strikes against my body.
When I did finally get pregnant again, I didn’t know if I could trust my body. Would my baby grow and be healthy? If she died, would my body know it or would I again need help to complete the miscarriage process?
Now that my body is changing, my stomach growing with a healthy baby, I’m gaining much more confidence. I find myself wearing clothes that emphasize my swelling abdomen, rather than hide it like I used to do. I find myself looking down at it throughout the day and studying its shape and size in the mirror each morning. It’s not a vanity thing, nor pride. It’s disbelief mixed with wonderment and a healthy serving of gratitude. I still can’t believe this is happening to me, while so many other more deserving women are still struggling to get pregnant, waiting to start treatments, or grieving the loss of ever being able to carry a baby.
I remember what it’s like to look at a pregnant woman and feel nothing but jealousy and sadness. As much as I hoped and wished that someday I would be pregnant, it bothered me to think that I could one day be the source of another’s pain and sadness. Now that day has come. So, while I am much more comfortable and confident in my body, part of me still doesn’t want to go out in public or be seen by anyone. Part of me wishes I still looked just fat.
Don’t get me wrong: I am incredibly grateful to be where I am. I’m happy to be pregnant, and I look forward to all the ways my body will change (well, maybe not all the ways – incontinence, for instance). This is just one more example of how infertility ruins what should be a purely joyful time in my life.