I wanted to come out and say it, I'm guilty of body shaming my own body. It's true and I'm sure I'm not alone, not by a long shot. I've been on a long journey of healing for as far back as I can remember. Like many I didn't have the absolute best circumstances growing up and life didn't get much easier as I grew into adulthood. Throughout the ups and downs I've sought peace, I've stood up to challenges, I've prayed for support and strength. It's been a very human experience this life of mine. About a year and a half ago I found myself joyfully and utterly knocked over with the joy of being pregnant. I was SO excited for that baby. My body ached for that baby. And a little over a year ago at nearly 12 weeks I miscarried that treasured baby. It is so common, yet relegated to some far off corner where we can only whisper its name, infant loss.
This was my second pregnancy. I'd had a lovely, fairly carefree pregnancy with my first child. The birth of my first child was not so idyllic as many women can share in that particular pain. It left me scarred, literally and more than a little shaken in the confidence I had once reclaimed for my body. You see the confidence I had while pregnant with my son was HARD fought. Like many women I came from a history of abuse and had worked for years at loving and nurturing my body after the hurts it had endured. So after a particularly traumatic birth experience I was sad, I grieved what was not and what I felt should have been. My confidence in my body was again rattled to the core. I wondered, am I capable of birthing a child naturally? Why did my body fail me? It took me some time before I was ready to try again, my son was nearly 3 when we got pregnant again and when I miscarried. My newly regained confidence in my body was once again taken down a notch. I felt uprooted and more than a little unsure that my body was ok.
The miscarriage was extremely hard for me, both emotionally, but also physically. I never realized how hard a miscarriage could be on a woman because I'd never heard women speak of the physical side of the loss. I felt alone and again ashamed, why was my miscarriage so hard for me? That's part of why I am writing this post, because if sharing my story helps one woman feel a little less alone it is worth it. You lose a lot of blood, you don't realize what that means until you are actually losing the blood. The cramps will take your breath away. Gather support around you. You've suffered a loss and you are allowed to grieve in whatever way you need for your baby. Your partner will suffer this same loss. You will grieve differently. That is ok, be supportive of each other, cling to one another, but respect each others need to grieve in their own way. You may not be ready to try again right away. You might want to try to conceive as soon as possible. There are a lot of hormones to process so there will be a lot of emotions. You were pregnant, take time to honor your body and what is has done for you. Your body did NOT fail you. Pregnancy is a miraculous and extremely complicated process, if everything is not right, the body in it's wisdom will decide to start over. It will say, "No we need to start again, this will not work the way we planned." Trust that your body does know best, it did nothing wrong, it was not a malfunction and you are not broken.
I thought I'd want to have another child right away, but after about 6 weeks when the hormones started to go down I realized I did not want to try again. I was tired, really tired. My body was asking for a rest. I decided to focus on healing my body and building the business I had been dreaming of. So now I find myself a year later and still not ready. I'm still honoring my body and all it does for me. I've developed a deeper relationship to the wisdom within myself and I hear it loud and clear telling me, no not yet.
I've come to a place in my healing journey to say, "I'm fine just the way I am, I am right where I need to be, and I honor this place, this body." Fertility and childbearing is a beautiful gift our bodies offer up in celebration of life. I choose to be dazzled awhile longer so that when I hear my heart longing for a child I will know with every cell in my being I am enough as I am in my whole and precious body.