THE DAY I DECIDED TO LOVE MY BODY
Note: this post references miscarriages and related grief years later
A few months ago, I was really struggling with feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t at my fittest, to be sure, but it was something deeper than that. More primal and profound. After days of being sick and tired of feeling crappy about myself, I was sitting along in my room and decided to journal. At first it was just stream-of-consciousness but it turned into a letter to my body. To say it wasn’t the kindest tone is an understatement. Lots of frustration and resentment and distance showed up. But I kept going. It felt both freeing and painful to acknowledge this type of hate towards my body. As I continued, gratitude followed the negativity. And then something shifted. I started thinking about the birth of my son and I snapped back into that connection and intimacy with my body that I had while pregnant. I adored so much about being pregnant. Those magical feelings showed up in my body again and- as has been the key step in so much of my growth- I softened. I immediately felt the shame wash away and love wash over me. I love my body. I am thankful for it and in awe of what it can do. In another way, though, I haven’t been loving my body in the sense that I’m not caring for it and listening to it.
In this more open state, I felt my body answering back. “I’m so sorry about the babies.” Whew, I was not expecting that. The tears flowed and flowed as I eventually accepted my body’s apology. I had suffered several miscarriages over the last decade and I knew there was grief there but I didn’t realize how much I had been holding onto right below the surface. I didn’t realize I had been avoiding my relationship with my body completely and blaming it at every turn.
After this cathartic conversation with myself, I had taken the first steps of forgiving my body for the miscarriages, thanking it for taking such good care of me, growing and protecting my son and being so strong despite how I’ve treated it. I apologized for detaching. And from there the next steps in rebuilding a healthy relationship with my body seemed doable. It’s like we were on the same team again. Now when I hear the phrase “love your body”, this experience comes to mind. For me, loving my body is not about having achieved a quantified goal that I deserve to be proud about or thinking my body looks good from the outside, it’s about choosing openness, gratitude and intimacy. And I’m so thankful to be able to say I absolutely LOVE MY BODY.