One night, after spending the entire day praying to the porcelain throne, I sat down to type out my sickly frustrations and distress. I wrote an article entitled “I Hate My Pregnant Body” and decided to post it for the launch of our website What We Are since our focus for the month of November was “the body.” Just to clarify, we aren’t talking about articles like, “Thanksgiving Smanksgiving: How to take off those last 10 pounds over the holidays!” Or, “Zero Gut, Tight Butt.” None of that shit. To be honest, I lost interest in taking off those last ten pounds years ago. I like beer too much. My co-founding partner Jen Dede and I sought to talk about “the body” in a much deeper way. Both of us were trying to figure out how to love our bodies through the pain, sickness, and disappointment we’d been experiencing. We were digging into questions like: How do you love your body when it has failed you? How do you love your body in sickness and in health? How do you love your body when it’s acting like a straight up asshole?!
Let’s roll this thing back a bit. A month ago, I was pregnant, and I hated my pregnant body. I was going on over 265 days of sickness. My body had been taken. It was taken and infiltrated by a sickly, vomitous (not a word), aching, gigantic boobied (also not a word), constipated, restless legged, hormone infused alien body. Everyday I thought, this sick body is not my body. My body would never be such a jerk. I decided against denial – you know…walking around pretending to be the happy, glowing pregnant woman society needed me to be – and instead I opted for the truth.
I wrote this scathing hate article directed at my body. I ripped it a new one. I cursed it for its non- stop vomiting. I berated it for making a whole movie crew think I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Sidebar: I shot a movie in my first trimester which meant I was keeping my pregnancy a secret. I constantly ran back and forth from the bathroom vomiting so much that everyone thought I had IBS. Awesome.). The vomiting went all the way to the end…even after I gave birth. I also gave my body a piece of my mind about my sciatica, restless leg, bulging disc in my lower back, migraines, constipation…the list goes on. I especially cursed it for my ridiculous, pornographic breasts.
My body usually has these really nice, polite B-cup boobies. They are portable. They can fit into any top or dress. They don’t give me migraines because of the neck strain. My pregnant body, on the other hand, housed these gigantic G-cups (Yes, that is an actual real life cup size). Everyone always responded, “Your husband must be thrilled.” In fact, he was not thrilled. Just close your eyes and imagine for a second the largest penis in the world coming at your face. Now, imagine that there are TWO of them. No bueno. No way. Not now. Not ever. He was traumatized. Which was a perfectly appropriate response.
But, I wasn’t done. I had a special hate filled place in my heart for one particular body crime. And before you hit send on any enraged tweets, Instagram comments, or Facebook posts about how grateful I should be that my body can get pregnant, please don’t. Of course I am grateful that my body can get pregnant. I am BEYOND grateful, thankful, and overjoyed. So just don’t. Also, let me finish.
My body made a baby with a congenital heart defect. That’s right. At five months pregnant, my husband and I learned the devastating news that our baby had not just one but three things wrong with his heart (four things we later found out).
Now, before I go on, this must be said. If you are a mother out there dealing with similar news, first of all, I am so very, very, deeply, truly sorry. Secondly, there is nothing you did or didn’t do to cause this. Every doctor will tell you that because its TRUE. Hear me. There is NOTHING you did or didn’t do to cause this. However, at that time, I could not wrap my heart around that truth. It just took some time for my heart to catch up to what my brain knew to be correct.
Anyway, we were told that without intervention at birth – aka open heart surgery – his condition would be fatal. I stopped breathing when I found out this news. After sobbing until my eyes were swollen shut, I became angry. Really angry. And I knew just who to blame. My wretched, stupid, sick pregnant body. On top of everything it had put me through, now this?! It had crossed the line. It was one thing to cause me pain, but to cause my child pain?? My body had failed me and my baby in such an unspeakably horrendous manner that I didn’t know if I would ever be able to forgive it.
So, now do you understand my hatred?
My original article sat unfinished for weeks. Please note. I am a task master. I am in it to win it. So, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I was unable to finish it. After my baby was born, however, I quickly understood why. I gave birth to the strongest, most mighty, precious, beautiful, warrior I’ve ever known. His will to live and survive against all odds is the single most inspirational thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life. My pain was nothing compared to what this kid went through. The anger at my body dissipated. Whatever vomiting, restless leg bullshit I had experienced was forgotten and replaced with gratitude, pride, and joy the size of which I’ve never known. My thoughts of “My body made a child with a broken heart” were replaced with, “My body made a miraculous, warrior of a child.” Something inside me must have known this moment was coming. That’s why I couldn’t finish the article. Somewhere, deep down, I knew I would be forever changed by this experience. And I have been. My son taught me that I am stronger than I ever imagined. I am tough as nails. Like him, I am mightier than I ever thought possible. Physical pain be damned. It’s nothing compared to standing strong and mighty with your child as he fights for his life. Now, that takes guts. And I would do it all again and again and again…the pain, the sickness, all of it…for him. To have him, to make him, to give birth to him. Well, except the gigantic breasts. I never want to see those again for the rest of my life.
Lesson learned. Sometimes, the most beautiful, perfect, phenomenal blessings can come from the most excruciating pain, suffering, and imperfect beginnings. My son is a superhero. He is a marvel of God. And he is mine. Next time pain comes knocking on my front door, I will give some side eye quite certainly, but then I will allow it to cross the threshold because I will know that on the other side of that pain is a full blown, real life miracle.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works,
my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139: 13-16
* If this blog reaches any one who might be going through something similar, please do not hesitate to reach out. I would love to offer my support, resources, love, or just an ear to listen.