I wrote a post at the tail end of my IVF cycle about how I was feeling strong and confident in my own skin for the first time in a long time.
It was sort of an amazing place to be after all of the body image damaging experiences I’ve had over the last 5 years since we started trying to get pregnant. Then with my pregnancy with Leopold, I gained 50 pounds on top of my already larger than desired bod thanks to fertility treatments and the depression that accompanied loss and infertility.
I was in a really great place for the last half of 2012, body image wise. I was running a lot, feeling strong. At the end of the year I was eating better than I’ve eaten in a long time and I was down nearly 20 pounds from where I was when I got pregnant with Leopold. Then I got pregnant again and despite being so proud of what my body was accomplishing I also felt so out of control and uncomfortable in my own skin. I was unable to run (not allowed during first trimester of an IVF pregnancy since your ovaries are still huge) and I was unable to eat well due to morning sickness.
And so, I’ve gained more weight than I wanted so far. First trimester of this pregnancy was all about survival mode – just getting through the day, finding something that I found appetizing and trying to peel myself off the couch when possible. Now that I’ve hit the second trimester, I’m feeling so much better and I have a lot more energy. I’ve been able to work my way into running (more run / walking, but it feels great!) and yoga too. I’m feeling stronger and though I’ve put on more weight than I would have liked, I’m okay with it. I’m doing the best I can and this baby is growing great. I’m proud of what it’s done.
The newest battle I have to fight isn’t about how my body looks or feels, but it’s all about trust in my body to do what women have been doing since the beginning of humanity – give birth. I never knew how much I would have to fight to for this. I have to find the right doctor, doula, and get in the right mindset to be successful in a VBAC and then somehow be okay with the outcome even if I end up with another c-section after putting so much effort into it all.
Body image for me right now I guess is in flux. Every day I trust that my body is nurturing and helping this baby grow strong. We had a scan at 19w on Monday that showed it was doing just that (I do have some gender news to share from that – which I will write soon, I hope!). Baby looked perfectly healthy and was measuring a little over a week ahead. Simply amazing. But I think about all the changes to come and I get a bit overwhelmed.
So positive body image, I’m fighting for it, I make it a priority, but it’s not a simple task and it’s a bit of a moving target right now. I have all this emotional baggage behind it that I have to work through. Pregnancy is obviously a body-altering event and you have to surrender to the experience a bit while working to maintain your strength and sense of self as much as possible. After delivery, it will be back to the breastfeeding, recovery, and eventually making my health and fitness a priority while taking care of two little tykes. (A double BOB running stroller is at the very top of my wish list. )
I’m trying to focus on one step at a time and doing the best I can in the moment I’m in. I can’t get too ahead of myself and think about how far I have to go to get back to where I was fitness-wise, it is what it is and I wouldn’t trade where I am for anything. I’m proud of my body and that it’s fought hard for kids for 5 years now and was successful in one pregnancy and nearly half through a second. That’s incredible and I’m one lucky lady.
This post is a part of the May monthly theme post over at PAIL on body image. Check out more posts like this here.