Physical Reminders

As I wrote this, I took a breath.

abstract watercolor illustration of a woman doing a yoga pose
Image created via Midjourney

Two vaginal deliveries in a five-month period left behind a wreckage of physical reminders.

I was bleeding for weeks after each delivery. Weeks. Just like any delivery. A daily reminder that I had given birth.

I began lactating. Unexpected, painful, brutal the first time. Less likely the second time, since it was earlier in the pregnancy, but of course I could not be spared. At least I was prepared. Days of sore breasts, leaking milk, that through my tears I tried frantically to suppress.

A rash appeared after the second delivery, resulting in a skin biopsy and a permanent scar on my face. A hormonal imbalance at best guess.

And the weight. Twenty-one weeks into the first pregnancy, I had gained twenty pounds. I lost ten almost immediately, then another five over the next few weeks, but was not back to pre-pregnancy before becoming pregnant again. I didn't care.

Anxiety and nausea slowed my weight gain in the second pregnancy. Sixteen weeks in, and I was about ten pounds above my original pre-pregnancy weight.

It seemed insulting that on top of hating all of the other betrayals of my body, I had to deal with needing to lose weight. Being put on a moratorium to wait at least six months before attempting pregnancy again, I thought that this would not be an issue.  I thought hot yoga would melt off the pounds. I did nothing in particular, but thought that returning to my normal, non-pregnant eating would be enough.

Yet here I am, six months later, still eight pounds above pre-pregnancy and frustrated. I know I am slender overall, so never feel like I have a right to complain, but I am unhappy. I feel like I have no one to talk to about it. My therapist asked me immediately after the loss how I felt about my body, but nothing since then.

Yoga has strengthened my muscles, but not done anything for weight loss, even after five months since I started and still going three times per week. I take photos every month, in my yoga attire, hopeful to see a difference.

No increases in quantity of eating, but likely not paying as much attention to what I eat. More eating out than normal. A definite increase in alcohol consumption, as a numbing effect. Likely all have something to do with the weight I cannot lose.

If I continue to struggle with the last few pounds, I will become even more bitter. I do not need to have a constant physical reminder that I was pregnant. That I am curvier than I was before. And I hate it.

I saw a Facebook challenge of "I am beautiful, just the way I am" with the directions of posting five photos of only oneself. I couldn't bring myself to compile photos to post publicly. As I wrote this though, I took a breath.

I also could not bear to include any photos of myself from before these pregnancies and losses, because I was a different person then. I glanced through the few pictures I had and noticed the common theme: yoga, or a reference to the losses (blurry and tattoo).

Only one smiling picture, when my four-year-old caught me off guard and decided to play photographer.

Physical Reminders
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