Saturday, August 29, 2015

Baby Weight and Stretch Marks, Eeeee Gads!

Let's just start with the fact that I am absolutely loving all the positive body image stuff that's been tossed about on the internet recently. I feel like people forget to add the tagline *as long as you're healthy* but I guess the pendulum has to swing hard at first if it's going to get anywhere at all. So Yay!

That's probably why it makes me sad how absolutely obsessed a hefty chunk of women are about baby weight and stretch marks. How do I get my old body back? How do I make stretch marks go away? What diet, cleanse, wrap, oil, product, miracle should I buy to be what I was before but better?! 

Pregnancy is crazy; you don't know how your body is going to change. Chances are you'll have to combine a lot of advice and mix and match story bits from others to match what you will go through, and if you are blessed enough to have another baby that pregnancy will probably be completely different than the first one was. It really grates on our modern sensibilities, our need for solid, unchangeable courses of action. Our need to become this unattainable ideal of what a human body should be.

As women we have it bad. I don't know who did it to you, I don't know why they did it, I can't tell you when it happened to you, but I remember the moment it happened to me. When the 'self image' monster ate my courage and logic and left me with an issue I might have to carry and fight till the day I die. 
I was 5 or 6, my sister had just cut all the hair off my brand new barbie doll that I'd gotten as an Easter gift. As a poor kid I didn't get a lot of new toys, this doll was the most awesome and beautiful thing to me and my little sister had ruined it. While crying and yelling at my little sister my grandmother came in the room and tried to console me. I would not be consoled; I was justified in my angry sadness and I would cry! She turned me to face the vanity mirror over the dresser and said words that are burned into my mind in perfect clarity. Even now almost a quarter of a century later I can hear her voice as if she still had her head over my left shoulder looking in the mirror with me. "Look at that ugly face. A pretty girl like you should never make a face that ugly."
To this day I cannot cry in front of another person without hiding my face. I will run away to be alone, I will hide, I will do the ridiculous to keep people from seeing my 'ugly face.' If Jex and I are arguing and I get upset enough to cry I cover my face with my hands so we can keep trying to resolve the issue but so he can't see my ugliness. 

Pregnancy is the great inflater. It takes these things and makes them more real, harder to ignore, bigger and heavier than they are. Women who would like to have lost a pant size and eat healthier are now absolutely horrified at their waist measurement even though that waist has another human being growing inside of it! They loose their minds when they have to eat saltines and coke for a day because they're too nauseated for anything else. These perfectly sane women are distraught over the marks that will forever 'ban' them from cute swimwear for the rest of their lives. They focus so hard on the weight they're gaining (Is it too much? Too little?!) and the flaws they're getting, or might get, on their skin. It almost becomes an obsession. 
It breaks my heart. 

Baby weight and stretchmarks, the price we pay for precious babies, become scars instead of badges of honor or rights of passage. Sure, if we lived where we could afford good food and traditional diets we might not be so bad off. But the fact of the matter is we don't. We live in our world, however imperfect. We need to remember that a little extra weight makes our laps more inviting to sleepy children and comforting to our hurting and confused middle-schooler. We need to remember that our stretch marks are proof of our babies' life inside of us and the strength we had to carry them for as long as we did. We need to remember that we are human and there is no such thing as 'perfect.' 
We need to allow ourselves to be good enough and let go of the idol ideal that screams at us in magazine adds and covers, that people fight against in strange and extreme ways, and be who and what we are without shame. Doing our best to be better every day. To let our hearts be lighter than before. 

My mom's lap is a comforting place to be, she is soft and warm with arms strong enough to protect me from anything. Her stretch marks look like fire, and remind me that if she loved me before she could see me or know me, she can love me even now. 

Remember my lovlies, The light heart lives long. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pregnancy, the great inflater.

Not only does it inflate your midsection, your face, and your appetite for [insert random and slightly weird item here] it also inflates what you feel.

No kidding. You can expect to bawl over a happy cat food commercial for any number of "reasons" or laugh for 10 minutes about your husband's chest hair... because fuzzy?

What's not as fun is when you have a legitimate unhappiness. Like today for me, I'm really lonely. I miss my friends, my family, I miss fall, I miss my husband who is working his ass off right now. Everything, I'm missing everything that I could possibly miss. I want to go back 'home' to Wohlsfeld, I want to go back 'home' to Misawa, I want to go back 'home' to Charleston and play with the gamers and talk with Mr Scott and Ms Adrianna. I am legitimately upset and lonely and the hormones are making it hard to deal with in a very mature way.

I feel like a little kid. Pouting in a corner for whatever totally justified, totally childish, reason. It hurts my pride that I can't just see the feelings, accept them, shake them off and keep going today. Part of me wonders if this is what it's like for people who actually have clinical depression (I think a lot of things get misdiagnosed/ overdiagnosed but totally believe these conditions exist). It makes my heart ache for anyone who has to fight this stuff on the regular.

I feel like everyone focuses on the physical aspects of pregnancy. How much you'll throw up, gain, eat, weird hormonal side effects. Sometimes in the weird hormones bit of a book they glaze over depression and other emotional things that will get inflated. Lots of people are like: "If you feel depressed seek help!" but no one ever goes into detail and for some one who is usually very capable in dealing with these things it's really hard to understand.
Well who do I talk to? Why can't I just buck up and do what needs to be done like I usually can? When will my face be dry again? lol But, really it's hard to know what to do, or even what kind of help you really need.

Do you just need a friend to listen to you whine, give you a hug, and then go out for milkshakes? Or do you need legitimate professional help? Wandering aimlessly around a pregnancy forum, hoping someone will hold a conversation with you, trying not to cry because no one is online you feel like bugging with your negativity, and having zero drive to actually do anything productive, what does all that tell you to do? I think it could easily be either. I think that some one with these same feelings could need to talk to an actual therapist to find the root of the issue. I also think another person in the same boat might just need some ice cream with a friend.

It's so hard to pinpoint the proper response. So I'm blogging! Because writing is totally my coping mechanism and some one wandering the vastness of the internet might end up here and relate. I want them to know that it's gonna be ok. Start with that awesome sauce milk shake and work your way up from there. Pregnancy is a crazy roller coaster ride in one way or another, for some it's totally about baby weight and back pain, and for others it's all about what's going on inside our heads and hearts.

I think next time I'll complain about how obsessed women are with how much weight they'll gain. lol

The light heart lives long, my lovlies, it really does. (^_^)