Loving the “during” – unconditionally

May 16, 2014 in Blog

20140517-104501.jpgCaught this link on HuffPo today…  This Woman Wants To Change How All Of Us See Our Bodies.

This was really meaningful to me today. I was benched from exercise two weeks ago because of risks that presented in my 12th week of pregnancy. Since then I’ve been struggling with anxiety around what is happening to my body. Will people wonder if I’ve let myself go (again)? I’m letting it rob me of the joy of growing a healthy baby. This post reminded me that my body and my baby need me to love myself where I am today, for taking care of my and my baby’s needs. Easy to say, harder to embody. But of course saying it may be my first step to feeling it; to being it.

I do feel a little like a hypocrite.  I walk around espousing the virtue of loving our bodies and who we are in our bodies, but I didn’t start doing this until I had lost nearly 40 lbs and could clean and press a solid oak bunk bed.  My body wasn’t perfect.  I had stretch marks.  I had a rice pouch.  My breasts are too big for my frame and creates fat rolls in weird places.  But I walked around saying, these are the breasts that nursed my babies.  These stretch marks provided them safety.  This body creates life. And did I mention the bunk bed?

Even though, twice, this body did not create.  And both times it didn’t I did not, in that moment, love my body.  Particularly when my second baby died in my uterus, I was furious with my body for tricking me into thinking I was healthy and strong.  I wanted to punish it.  I don’t know if I did.  But I remember wanting to.

And a few months ago when I found myself pregnant, for the fifth (and final) time, I grabbed my Running while Pregnant book and started flipping through the pages trying to figure out what deals I had to make, how much work I’d need to put in, where the threshold was between keeping my body as strong as I’d worked it to be, and keeping this baby healthy.  I felt guilty that I was willing to find that line so I could walk right up to it.

So when two weeks ago, the bleeding started, and I thought for certain that my body failed my family once again I started to hate it.  Again. And when it turned out to be fine, that the baby was fine, that it was no big deal… but that I was not allowed to run for a few weeks or go to cycle class… I started dealing with the doctor.  What about jogging? So that’s no on Body Combat? I almost didn’t even ask about the three days a week I did Body Pump.  My husband did.

For two weeks I’ve been feeling guilty about missing my workouts.  But I also realize that I feel terrified that I won’t be one of those women who is back at the gym 3 weeks post partum.  It takes me a while to establish a new routine with a newborn and the older kids.  It’s taxing.  I get tired.  I’m old.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my body back.  And I don’t want to sit and hate my body while I’m doing it.

So I start now.  Today.  This moment.  Remembering, re-iterating, that to love my body means to love it without condition.  Not because of or in spite of what it has done for me.  But to love it and to want to care for it in the best way I see fit.  Remembering to love my body unconditionally means to sit proudly, no hiding.  Feed it well.  Take pictures of it.  And laugh.  My body LOVES to laugh.  Love my body not for the before picture or the after picture, but for the now picture.  The during picture.  The – here, while I’m living, I’m loving – picture.  That’s what I’ll be working on.

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