Six. Six times has my body housed tiny spirits. One spirit went away all too soon; its light is forever with me. The other five nestled themselves within the fleshy walls of my insides and kicked and rolled and played for days on end. Pregnancy really is a miraculous thing.
But it is also a very hard thing. It is a sacrifice in every sense of the word. For 7.5 years, I have let my body morph into new shapes and sizes. For 9 months, my stomach and legs adjust and inflate like a balloon, only to semi-deflate after a mere few hours of labor. At that point, my skin feels foreign and strange on my body, hanging in places I wish it wouldn't, and it takes months and months of healthy eating and strenuous exercise to get that skin to tighten up, even if it's just the slightest bit. It is a grueling and humbling experience to try to get pregnant, stay pregnant, deliver a healthy baby and then nourish that baby forever after.
For 7.5 years, as my body has stretched repeatedly, I have faced some of my darkest demons. Pregnancy is mind-numbingly difficult for me, a person who battles voices inside every single day. I fight myself about eating too big a bowl of cereal, too many carbs, too little vegetables, one too many treats because I cannot escape the voices. They are always with me, haunting me...taunting me. I rarely look in mirrors because I cannot see past the imperfections of my stretched skin and thickening thighs, and I never step on a scale. But even still, I have managed to enjoy the second half of all my pregnancies because I have somehow been able to hush the voices, even just a little, to realize the beauty of creation.
However, this pregnancy has been different. The weight is different; it's shifting in areas I'm not used to. I have been so self-aware and nervous about my growing appearance that somedays I struggle to leave the house. I'd rather stay inside and hide--hide from friends, strangers, mirrors at Target, everything.
I've only really expressed my inner thoughts to Tim because quite frankly who really knows what to say to a pregnant person when they start babbling about their weight. I don't. I bet you don't. Tim sure doesn't, but he's kind and supportive and mostly quiet about the whole thing. The other day I had a terrible appointment with my OB/GYN. He told me I had "gained far too much weight for this point in the pregnancy," and he lectured me, "Let's not make a habit of this. Do you understand healthy eating? Do you understand how sugar works?"
The conversation sucker-punched me. Luckily I was busy trying to entertain my girls while he spoke so spitefully, or I would've cried. Every time he asked me a question, I tried to explain myself, but I felt no support or understanding. In fact, I'm pretty sure he thought I was lying. "How many caffeinated drinks do you drink a day?" "None." "How many cookies do you eat a day?" "I'm actually not eating sugar except on Saturday and Sunday." "Oh...well, you should probably avoid it those days too." "Do you know how sugar works?" "Why yes I do." "Well, your weight says something else."
Blah!! I'd write a few expletives at this point, but really, the conversation was pure crap. I trudged out of the office with Birdie around my expanding waist and Elle clinging to my leg, and I felt like garbage. I banged my head on the steering wheel a few times before starting the car. Why the hell are people so insensitive some times?!! Doctors, especially OB/GYNs, should never be insensitive. If I didn't live in such a small town or if I had any other options to switch doctors, I'd do it, but I don't. I'm 23 weeks and far enough along that it doesn't make sense to change doctors at this point.
If only my doctor knew that since Wednesday, I have not been able to look in a mirror without wanting to cry. Or that since Wednesday, I haven't wanted to get out bed let alone see anyone. Or that since Wednesday, I've questioned every bite of food that's entered my mouth, and I've even considered not eating versus eating in certain circumstances.
My heart aches. The voices came screaming back the moment my doctor opened his mouth. I don't think there is any way to silence them at this point. I'll just have to live with them the remainder of this pregnancy and for the challenging months after birth when all I have left of my old self is saggy jello.
Please be considerate of what you say to people--whether it be about weight or race or religion or whatever. And if you can't be considerate, mind your own business because you don't know people the way they know themselves. One mean sentence or word does more damage than you know. I promise you. Like really promise. Now, I'm going to hide under my covers because I have about 10 minutes left of quiet time, and I really need to escape life for just a minute.