i’m 13 weeks pregnant now. after 4 early term miscarriages (all before 8 weeks) this is a pretty big deal!
one thing that i’ve been noticing i’m struggling with outside of the morning sickness, exhaustion, and food aversions is some body image stuff reemerging. for years i struggled with my fatness. i fought it. like it was an enemy i had to beat back into submission. i hated my body. i would punish it for normal, healthy cravings. i would push it past enjoying movement and exercise into a battle i had to win. challenging that and changing that was hard. it took a lot. and it is a constant narrative that my body, fat, round, rolls, curves, all of it is beautiful, healthy, and strong in the face of all sorts of external narratives that present exclusively thin bodies as wanted, normal, desirable, healthy, even it seems the only bodies that matter or count in this society. searching out and finding positive representation helped but more than that coming to trust my body, eating the food when i’m hungry and moving when i want to move, that has helped me so much.
and now with pregnancy. despite my weight being stable for years – not gaining and not losing. now i find myself weighing daily. celebrating losses due to morning sickness and aversions. even struggling with thoughts of restriction (which at this point i can dismiss but that they even present themselves shakes me). the focus on how much weight is ‘acceptable’ for an obese woman like myself to gain is making me start to disassociate from my body. and that i think is starting my struggle again with acceptance of my body.
along with those thoughts, every picture – online, in brochures, at the dr’s office, on pintrest, and baby/pregnancy websites – is of a thin mother with a cute baby bump. and i feel, i look the same fat body that i want to love and it is starting to be a struggle
and i think the mental hang up from my previous csection with the vertical incision that cuts my lower belly in half so one side hangs lower than the other. and the sadness that seems to seep and hold on in the distended belly from the 4 losses with hormone fluctuations and no natural or normal end just abrupt, cut short, processes of expelling miscarried potential life.
all these things push in on the safe space i created for my own existence to be valid and real and matter even if or because of my body with its fat, its bigness. i’m scared to lose that while i grow a new life. i’m mad that it is under threat in what should be a happy time. i’m incredibly grateful for a friend who sent me maternity clothes so that i have comfortable clothes to wear which helps immensely. i’m trying to focus on the good things i am doing, the good things my body is but friends i’m also scared. of avoiding photos because i don’t look like the other mothers. of delving back into the circle of self hate that is so dark and difficult to emerge from. and so i write this. to reach out for help and to reach out to others who may be struggling too. we can’t be alone.