It took me 30 years to come to terms with my body. To accept all of her beautiful flaws and revel in her extraordinary womanly wonders, such as being able to create, support, and maintain life, not just my own but that of another. It was during my first pregnancy when I really saw the exquisiteness that is the feminine being in which my essence resides. However ever since my body betrayed me on the day it decided to no longer keep my growing daughter safe, I have been thrown back into the place I was for the past 30 years, trying to learn how to re-accept, re-love, and re-trust this vessel I walk my days in.
In the early days after my womb failed to protect my daughter from death, I resented my body. I was angry at her, feeling betrayed by her in every way a woman can be. It was like being betrayed by a lover, one you gave yourself to, your trust to completely only to have it snatched away in a blink of an eye. But this infidelity is harder to live with, 10 times worse than a lover leaving, because when I wake up each morning I see the woman who betrayed me in the mirror, I see the body that failed me and my baby.
In between pregnancies I somehow came to a place of forgiveness with my body. My spirit and physical being seemed to make amends with one another. It’s almost like they had to, like two divorced parents, learning how to coexist and live together in order to be able to raise their child, but in my situation, it was in efforts to conceive another one. This reconciliation seemed to work for conceiving, but that thin treaty of trust forged between body and soul was breached the day the pregnancy test came back positive.
Now that I am pregnant again, trusting my body to be faithful to the feeble promise of growing new life and producing a healthy, ALIVE baby has been challenging to say the least. I struggle with comments I hear from other mothers with living babies and health care providers who say, “Your body knows best.” You see my previous story line is different. My body last time didn’t do certain things it was supposed to do to help protect me and baby. I have a deep fear that the lady caring for my baby—my body—no longer has my baby or my best interest at heart.
With all this anger, second-guessing, and betrayal living inside of me, I still ache to trust my body again, to believe she wants the same outcome as my soul—to give birth and life to a healthy, living child. I’m struggling with trying, every day, to trust her again, as I really have no other choice, but like a watchful mom leaving her kids with a babysitter for the first time, I’m always checking up on her. I have one eye on my daily tasks and one eye on my body, double-checking every ache, baby movement, and bodily fluid that she produces. It’s a daunting task, hovering over her in this way. So sometimes, when I can no longer take the daily questioning of my body’s loyalties, I give in and accept a strange notion that crosses my mind from time to time, that her failure in the past might not be a betrayal at all, but a war on her that she just could not win, no matter how talented of a solider my body might be and no matter how hard she fought, maybe my body was let down too.
Knowing this and learning to accept it has helped me in starting to practice trusting her again. I write my body letters about how I feel as a way of communicating my conflicting emotions to her in a journal. I started repeating a mantra daily that goes like this, “I trust the infinite wisdom of my body to protect this baby and produce life.” Even though it’s hard for me to really believe at times. I’ve also spent more time in silence, with my body and baby, getting to know my growing belly, feeling the normal belly aches and baby kicks and monitoring my weekly bodily changes. All the while holding a conversation in my mind, pleading with my body each day to please try again, one more time, to keep this baby safe and produce life. Maybe then I can love her again.