“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Rumi
Somewhere in all of this I’ve lost trust in my body. I have been fortunate enough to never go through what I saw many of my close friends and acquaintances go through. As early as middle school, my best friend started putting smaller portions on her plate at dinner and then shuffling it around to make it look like she’d eaten, but in truth had barely touched it. In high school I grew increasingly concerned about a close friend who no longer ate lunch with the rest of us, claiming she’d eat when she got to work that afternoon or home later that day. In college it was a roommate who exercised excessively and severely cut back on calories. My first year teaching I confronted a colleague I was close to about her shrinking size when she was in a volatile relationship. As concerned as I was and as much encouragement as I gave, I was an outsider to their battle.
I still don’t understand it completely, having never walked in their shoes, but infertility has challenged my trust in my body. I am working at regaining it and seeing my body for all of the wonder and beauty it possesses, regardless of the fact that it hasn’t done the one thing I’ve asked of it: nurture a life for nine months, keeping it safe and healthy. In reading the self-help books after my miscarriage, I read the advice to not grow angry at myself and how I shouldn’t hold myself responsible for the loss. At the time I didn’t. I was still working through the shock of having seen the baby thriving, his heartbeat chugging along at 115 bmp on the ultrasound still didn’t mesh with image only a week later of complete darkness and no evidence of life. I was still working through how quickly things can go from truly miraculous to devastating. I wasn’t looking to place blame on anyone, at least not yet.
Now several months out from losing him, I admit that I’ve blamed my body. Part of the reason I’ve stepped away from treatment was that I needed to heal, but I also needed to reconcile my relationship with my body. For the first time in my life, I’ve loathed it. I’ve wanted to trade it for another one, one that would protect the life I want so desperately to bring into the world. I have a mistrust of it. How is it that I can create beautiful eggs and with the help of my husband, beautiful embryos, but my body won’t allow for them to thrive? Now with only three embryos left and one last transfer possible, I’m struggling to trust that my body will cooperate.
As part of my healing process, I’ve turned to other things I know I can do. I decided to sign up for a race and start training. I told my husband I needed something else to work towards besides baby making. I needed to work on trusting my body again. I needed to feel its strength. I needed to know I could rely on it to get me through a difficult challenge. I have also returned to my yoga practice. Allowing myself to trust my body as I flow through poses and keep my balance. Working at getting out of my head and having my body to lead me. I’ve needed to see how beautiful it is, even if it is flawed. I’ve needed to appreciate it for all of what it can do and how it allows me to do things I truly love, instead of hating it.
I’m working at letting go of the fear and mistrust as we move closer to our next attempt. I’ll admit it is a daily battle. Having gratitude and love for my body is hard when I feel I’ve been betrayed by it. It is wound that needs constant attention and mending. I’m working at making a choice. In all of the things that I do, I can allow myself to believe the constant ticker of doubt that runs through my mind, or I can put my faith in my body to carry me through the last painful quarter-mile. I’m working at not allowing myself to strictly define who I am by what my body hasn’t been able to do, but by all of the possibilities it holds.