Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Body Dismorphia

Like most women I am hard on myself. I get ready in the morning mostly avoiding the mirror or shuffling past it quickly. I read articles about self-esteem and body love. I am aware of the constant struggle we face with media and photoshopping and the unattainable perfection that surrounds us. My brain tells me it's smoke and mirrors, but I still find myself trying to reach some mysterious body goal.

 I don't exercise enough, I enjoy cocktails, and although I tend to eat mostly vegetarian, burgers and fries cross these lips on occasion. My pre-pregnancy jeans fit me, but a lot tighter than I'd like. I suppose I could buy a larger pair, but I refuse. For the last year my weight has plateaued at 20 pounds above my comfort zone. I wouldn't say I'm fat, but chubby, curvy, and jiggly, all fit the bill.

Yesterday, I visited some good friends to take maternity pictures. The mama is one of my "avatar" friends, tall, german and naturally gorgeous. She has this beautiful baby tummy without any stretch marks at all. We took a bunch of shots, and in the this world of instant digital gratification, she looked at the proofs on my camera. First reaction: "look at how chunky my arms are"! See how we react? It's ridiculous.

Our bodies are amazing. We grow humans. From nothing. Bones, and nerves and blood and skin. It all comes together inside of us.

Last night I looked into the mirror intentionally. My hips are rounded. My belly is softer. Not fatter, but less elastic. When pregnant I had deep purple ravines on my belly. My poor skin was stretched so tight trying to make room. Almost magically those marks have faded, the texture is different, but they are the same color as my skin again. Just a faint memory of the babies inside. I no longer have a girl's body. I have a mama's body. And I am gonna love it.

Two babies or a beach ball, hard to guess.

2 years post twins. Photoshop used to fix color and crop out my bed head (after I wrote this I had a tiny window of self-assuredness that I had to seize before I chickened out).

Friday, January 10, 2014


I grew up an only child. So for me, it was natural to only want to have one child. Then I met someone who already had two children, and the idea of getting pregnant meant that we were automatically going to have three. Three is definitely enough. And then - I found out I was having twins. Twins! It was scary but the idea of two at once seemed kinda great. And four - four became the magic number, two boys, two girls.
And Mia died. And it was three. And three was not four. And one girl - not two. Everything all of a sudden was off balance. I've cried a lot about it since then. So the pregnancy debate began. Were we going to try again, should we try again? The cons seem to outweigh the pros.

Ripley fell today. Down a staircase. I was in another room when I heard her cry. I ran to the top of the stairs and there she was, at the bottom. Face down and crying. I raced down and grabbed her, trying to simultaneously comfort her and assess any damage. She was ok. She is ok. But I can't help going down the dead baby road. If I lose her, and I am no longer a mother, what am I? These girls have redefined me. Making me stronger and more fragile than I have ever been.

Once a friend told me that you need a big family to insure that you have backups if you ever lose one. After Mia I know that's not true. You can never replace. You can never forget. If I had another, I would love them, but this little hole in my heart would still have Mia in the center.