“You’re broken and couldn’t even succeed at the one thing you were designed to do! Why don’t you work? Why don’t you pull yourself together and function properly??? Why does everyone else seem to get the one thing you can’t do? Why oh why???”
I was standing in the bathroom at church, tears streaming down my face, having an internal conversation with my reflection in the mirror. I was glaring at myself, specifically the uterus area of my body, questioning all over again why I couldn’t seem to get or stay pregnant.
“Because you are broken. Your body is broken. You are a failure.”
The answer came swiftly. I dropped my eyes from the mirror, not wanting to see the body that has continued to fail me for almost seven years. I took some deep breaths, splashed some cold water over my face and exited the ladies room. But the thought haunted me for the rest of the day, making me feel small and useless and like a failure. I’m broken. I thought that I had moved past these thoughts, this mental beating, this bad view of myself. I thought I was doing better, that I had accepted our fate and was learning to live fully again. I thought wrong I guess. All it took was one pregnancy announcement to knock me down again and fill myself with self loathing again. Someone else’s body was doing what it should and it made mine feel like it failed me again. I hated it that day.
But in the hate and the feelings of failure and brokenness, I reached out to my sister. I told her that I was having a rough time, that I was angry at my body again and I wanted to work on my attitude towards it. She showed me love in her response. She said that my feelings were normal, that it’s okay to yell at my uterus and that positive body image is a lifelong challenge, even for those who do get pregnant.
So I took some more deep breaths and I clicked on the links she sent me that discussed positive body image. The first article was titled “10 Steps to Positive Body Image” and the first step was this: #1 – Appreciate all that your body can do.
Punch in the gut.
All that my body can do? It can’t do anything!! I angrily closed the article and decided I might just stay mad at my broken body. But a few days later, with my hurt and anger still weighing heavily on me, I opened the article again and kept reading. #1 – Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.
Nope nope nope nope. My dreams are to get pregnant and have a child and raise a family with my husband. My body was still totally failing at bringing me closer to my dreams. This article officially sucked.
But something in me needed more, needed to work on this anger, needed to work on not feeling so broken all the time. So I kept reading.
#1 – Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you – running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
Okay, so maybe this article wasn’t so bad. Yes, my body can’t do all that I want it to. Yes, my body is totally failing at bringing me closer to my dreams of a family. But…it is still pretty amazing. It moves, it breathes, it laughs, it loves, and it is me. This body is mine and it really does do incredible things on a daily basis.
I kept reading the article and a lot of the steps are actually helpful to get you thinking better about yourself, like listing things you like about yourself or surrounding yourself with positive people. I read it and it did help me appreciate my body a little more. If you want to read the article yourself, here’s the link to it.
But here’s the thing, one article isn’t going to make all my hurts go away. It isn’t going to all of a sudden make me love my body and forgive it for not providing me with a baby. I will still feel broken and like a failure. I will still have bad days. But, recognizing this brokenness and trying to work on my attitude towards it, that is something that is important and something I want to do. I don’t yet fully know how I will go about this, how I will work on feeling less broken, but I plan to take baby steps.
I know other people feel this way too. I know I’m not the only one. So if you are feeling alone in your broken body, please know that I’m right there with you. And it sucks. But we can work on our attitude and our view of our body, all it takes is one positive step. So today I want you to take a deep breath and do this one activity – do something nice for yourself. Take a bath, get a pedicure, make yourself some tea, colour, read a book, take a walk. You deserve it. I deserve it. Our bodies deserve it.
Anyone want to share what has helped them learn to love their body again? What steps are you taking to improve your body image? We can all use a little help in this area, especially those of us struggling with infertility.