Content Warning: Fertility Issues, Baby Loss, Pregnancy
Back in mid-November, I shared my post Growth for Sinful Sunday. When I wrote the text for that post I hesitated whether or not to press publish. I purposely didn’t use the word flaws. Yet when people read that post they seemed to think that is what I had said. I got comments and messages that were incredibly kind but in some cases, not all, but some I think the point was missed entirely.
I wanted to write some more about my thoughts towards my body, but never quite got round to it, then I saw Nikki from loveisafetish had launched her new meme Love Yourself and I decided that, hopefully, that was an ideal place to share my thoughts.
That post back in November wasn’t me saying I had oodles of flaws or even overly negative thoughts about my body, it was just acknowledging that it had changed and those changes were taking time to process. My shape was different, clothes looked different, my boobs were different, how I felt sexiest was different. None of those differences were necessarily bad but they were new and I needed time to get used to the changes and settle into them and decide if they were changes I wanted to keep or changes I wanted to address.
I think it’s also hard for some folks to understand that most of my body issues in the past haven’t been about external looks. When you lose a much-wanted baby, which happened to me in 2014, your relationship with your body can change. I hated my body for a long time because I believed it let me down. It failed me in the worst possible way and I felt betrayed. For a long time, I did have negative thoughts about my body and I never shared them because the response was always about how I was thin, or pretty, or had a nice butt, or some other acknowledgement of my external presentation.
So for a long time, I thought as long as I stayed thin and their version of pretty and dressed in a way that other people enjoyed I’d at least have something going for me. I’ve had partners who didn’t want me to put on weight, people who wouldn’t have approved of the wobbly bits I gained during lockdown, or the fact I wasn’t doing anything about said wobbly bits. Thankfully Mr F is not one of those partners and his attitude towards my body gave me a bit of a wake-up call.
He doesn’t mention the shape, or size or changes in my body. He doesn’t mention body hair or make-up. All he ever does is say I’m pretty and sexy and feels me up in all the best ways which makes me feel like I’m constantly sexy. He sees me in PJ’s or loungewear 99% of the time and thinks that’s super hot because I’m comfortable. He’s not fussed about lingerie because he just wants to get me naked and his favourite hairstyle is when I’ve just woken up and my hair is huge and all over the place. That’s not to say that he doesn’t offer compliments when I’ve done my make-up and dressed up nice, he definitely does. Those moments are not a requirement for him to find me attractive though and it really got me wondering as to why they were a requirement for me to feel at my best. The more I embraced his approach, the better I felt about myself.
By the end of lockdown I was having more sex than I’ve ever had and felt more desired than I ever had before. I’d also, through honest conversation, processed a lot of the guilt I’d held onto about losing my baby and realised that I was absolutely ready to try and make a baby with Mr F. To do that though I had to stop hating on my body. Even if that hate was more about the internal mechanisms than the external looks, I think the two are definitely linked and so I decided to accept myself the way I was and work on nourishing my insides in the hope that baby making would be achieved.
Amongst other things, I lowered my caffeine intake dramatically. Started taking a variety of supplements that were relevant to my cycle and past fertility issues and most of all I just rolled with the body I had and decided not to be that arsed about changing it.
I partially stopped wearing bras (and knickers) before lockdown, but only really on dates or when seeing Mr F because heaven forbid the outside world saw my boobs as they were instead of in the push-up bras I’ve been wearing since I was 16. During lockdown I just stopped wearing them entirely. Honestly, I couldn’t give a single fuck anymore about what the outside world thinks about my tits. Granted I’ve had to start wearing one sometimes now because pregnancy has made them go ‘boom’ and if I don’t wear a bra sometimes they jiggle a bit too much and it hurts!
I never really wanted this pregnancy to be about healing. I always felt that was an added level of pressure I just didn’t need. Truth be told though, it is healing in so many ways. I feel so incredibly grateful for this chance and I am so amazed that my body is doing this all over again. Admittedly it’s harder now than it was 9 years ago with Small Human, but it’s still amazing and all the aches, pains and random pregnancy symptoms just make me love and accept my body more and more each day.
I don’t talk about body-related feels very often because I’ve been told more than once that I don’t belong in those conversations because of how I look. Which I can accept wholeheartedly if I’m wading into discussions I have no experience or knowledge of. I do know what it is like to have your reproductive system be less than awesome though and funnily enough, our internal workings are part of our bodies too and that has always been my biggest body related issue and yes perhaps that did filter out into how I perceived the outer packaging, but if so that is my story to tell, regardless of how others perceive me.
This journey of acceptance has been a long one for me. I started trying to conceive my son when I had just turned 23. It took 4.5 years to conceive him, with some assistance. 6 months to naturally conceive a baby I was not destined to bring home. Somewhere around 6 years to deal with the absolutely gut-wrenching, soul-destroying heartbreak of that loss. Followed by 3 unbelievably short months to conceive the baby now growing in my belly. That is 13 years where my thoughts have been consumed by what my reproductive system did or didn’t, or could or couldn’t do. 13 years is a long time and I know the journey isn’t over. Not until I hold my baby in my arms, I think then, perhaps, rightly or wrongly, I will feel able to truly forgive my body and move forward.