This is the beginning of December, and I’ve definitely reached the point of unhappiness with my body. I’m annoyed now by the leftover fat, the stomach rolls, the weak muscles, the saggy boobs, all of it. Which sets me in this sort of constant irritation with myself because I can’t or don’t do enough to fix it. I like immediate solutions, so consistent exercise is difficult for me. I don’t see the results fast enough. So I quit. Then I get more irritated with myself. I need to accept my body right now, stop being irritated with myself, yet still keep enough motivation to drive myself into exercising. It’s a delicate balance…
I think the hardest thing for me has been returning to my “youth.” It’s not that I feel older or act older now than I did before. When I get around groups of people in my age range, I start shrinking away and pulling inward. It’s nothing they are doing. It’s just that when I hear them talking and everything is so lighthearted and easy, I can’t help sitting there thinking about what I just did. I have a child. I just survived a single pregnancy and an adoption process. I have had to be such an adult for the majority of this year, it’s just difficult to watch people acting our age. I feel separate. Like I can’t really return to that sense of lightheartedness. And it’s not because life is still difficult or I’m still emotional. Things are going great and I am so wonderfully blessed.
Maybe this is it… normally, I don’t think about my daughter all the time. I kind of ignore it and live my life and move forward – even when I’m frequently checking for new pictures of her from her parents. But somehow when I get around groups of people that I should fit in with the most, I’m reminded. Constantly reminded. I am different. I have grown up. I have been an adult, I have made hard decisions, I have known pain. And I don’t know how to come back from that.
By the end of December, I had weaned myself off of most supplements and was experiencing some emotional breakdowns now and then – never over big problems, but due to little things annoying me. They were generally short – maybe a day of growing irritation capped by a small fit of tears before a return to feeling just fine. Actually, I think these were far more likely the result of hormone imbalance related to the birth control I started using (no more babies for a while, please).
My body dissatisfaction had only escalated. The saggy boobs and big belly hadn’t bothered me at all in the immediate aftermath of my birth experience, but as time passed and I moved on with life, it became more frustrating to carry this extra weight. I rarely weigh myself, considering the number to be completely useless if you are healthy and like how you look, but since I had to get a medical done shortly after giving birth, I was forced into seeing the number I had avoided through the entire pregnancy (thanks to using midwives, I was never required to weigh myself while pregnant). I was ten pounds heavier than the heaviest I have ever been in my life, and thirty pounds over what I would like to be (despite “not caring” about the number).
I finally was able to use this as motivation to get moving again, going on power walks and planking most mornings while in Brazil, but there were still a lot of moments when I looked down and disliked what I saw around my middle. I think it’s difficult when your life has so drastically returned to normal (rather than still being focused on a new baby), yet you carry this constant reminder of what occurred. Whether it just made me think about the past year or made me feel less included in my own age-group, I didn’t like it.
Oddly enough, by another month later, I found myself not caring again. Exercise had already created a slightly noticeable change, and I was certain that I would be able to continue a good movement regimen as I got back to a regular work and life schedule. It could be because we returned to winter in the states, where more clothing covered up the belly I despised, or it could be a result of a busier schedule that left me less time sitting around staring at it. Whatever it was, I found it much easier to focus on other things and find satisfaction with my body.
The journey forward is an interesting one. It’s complex and unpredictable. There are so many unanswered questions. And I’m excited for it. I’m excited to make discoveries along the way, to experience the wonder that is being human. This is officially the end of my Nine-Month Journey series, but I look forward to sharing my joys and fears, my triumphs and failures, what I’ve learned and what I’ve done – my human experience – as I go forward. Thank you to all who have shared in my story along the way and offered encouragement. Let’s move forward!