Nobody is looking at my upper arms. Nobody is tracking their girth or tone.
And yet lately I find myself at times scowling at them, sighing and fretting about the state of my triceps.
I am typically at peace with my body. I do my best to practice self-love and compassion when it comes to my body image. After my daughter was born, I wasn’t very phased by the extra weight I still carried. I was grateful for the extra fat my body had to fuel nonstop nursing and to help my child gain the weight she needed as a preemie. Then, I lost my mom later that year and I gained more weight, and for the most part I was ok with that too. Oh, Paula Deen grief pies, I loved you so. Worth every calorie.
All this to say that I generally do not fret about weight. Except right now.
My recent miscarriage resulted in more weight gain than I would have expected. In retrospect, I began grieving immediately after the baby’s heartbeat stopped, which was nearly two weeks before I found out that I had miscarried. I ate all the chocolate. All the potato chips. Kummerspeck, if you will.
Well, some of the kummerspeck came off quickly, and the rest, well…it is slow-going.
The other day my sister pointed out that I have been talking about this weight A LOT. She is both a great listener and perceptive. My first response was, what on earth are you talking about?! And then I was like, oh wow, she is right, because now that she mentions it, I can see that not only am I talking about it a lot, I am THINKING about it a lot.
Why is my body image on my mind so much?
Because the excess weight reminds me of the loss. Because removing the excess weight will set a reset button, and magically make it OK if I get pregnant again, protect me from loss…Yes, I think that is basically the magical thinking.
I need to change the script.
Last night I did the seven minute workout. I love this thing. Seven minutes! I feel great after I do it. The heart gets pumping fast and I love that I no longer have to nearly lay my entire body on the ground as I attempt to do push-ups.
I had an a-ha moment where I realized that I feel stronger and have better stamina even compared to several weeks ago. I feel GOOD. I have more energy.
I want these to be the things I think about my body. Which got me thinking about what else can be part of this new mental script. Here are a few to start with:
- working out makes me feel good, and I love feeling strong. My body is capable of powerful things.
- When I feel triggered by this extra weight, I want my message to myself to be: this weight is a reminder of the life I was able to carry, however briefly, and I am grateful that I could be a mama to this baby who could not join this physical world.
- This weight might remind me of the sadness too, and that is ok. I mourn the baby who could not come into this world. This weight makes me sad, because instead of joy at being pregnant, it reminds of sorrow for a baby who is no longer with us.
- When I see my large thighs and butt, I want to think, wow, my body was prepared to birth a baby, to carry extra fat to feed this baby. This is both beautiful and sad—beautiful because of the amazing things my body is able to do, and sad because my body was not able to do it for this child.
I like this new script. I rings true, and I hope that it helps me to be gentle with myself. To give myself a mental hug when I need it, and to also celebrate my strength.
Have you had a script you had to change after miscarriage? I would love hear what worked for you. Blessings! -Sarah