In the mirror, the girl looking back at me has green eyes. She’s got short(ish) blonde hair that has a mind of its own and tends to poof out at the slightest hint of humidity. She has a tiny scar on the left side of her nose where her nose ring used to be and one on the right from when she pinched her nose too hard going down the water slide when she was 12. Her teeth aren’t perfect and her top lip is a little “m” shape above her thicker bottom one.
She looks like me. But I don’t recognize this girl.
The girl I used to be didn’t care that she had a bit of a double chin when she smiled for pictures. Now I can’t stop obsessing over it.
The girl I used to be didn’t obsess over how much her skin was breaking out because of all the hormones. Now I can’t stop obsessing over it.
The girl I used to be didn’t care that her thighs and ass jiggled a little when she walked. Now I can’t stop obsessing over it.
The girl I used to be loved when her husband grabbed some part of her body, any part, to pull her in close. Now I can’t stop obsessing over how much fat he grabbed in doing so.
The girl I used to be was confident. She could go to the beach and not worry about whether everyone was looking at her wondering why the hell she was in a bathing suit looking like that. Now I can’t stop obsessing over it.
Because ever since I became “infertile”, my body has become the enemy. My body is the reason that I can’t call myself a mother and no matter how hard I try, I can’t help but blame it. I pump it full of medications and the doctors tell me “Everything looks great!” and yet, it still can’t do its “job”.
Everything that makes me me, I begin to pick at. I begin to pick it apart to try to figure out where the issue is. In doing so, in scrutinizing myself down to the last hair on my head, I begin to find things I don’t like and it spreads. I don’t like the way my hair looks today turns into I don’t like that I have a zit right at the edge of my hairline turns into I wish my nose weren’t so oddly straight turns into I wish my ass wasn’t so flat. It’s an endless cycle that leaves me wondering what (if anything) I like about myself. And sometimes on really bad days, the answer is nothing.
But I am so drained from the whole thing- the obsessing, the emotional, the physical -that often I don’t have the energy to turn it all back and make it positive. The self-care and self-respect that I was very good at giving myself all my life has become the last thing on my to-do list.
My husband told me the other day that he misses that girl I used to be. He misses the Mally that could rock that cute top without wondering whether or not it her arms looked too big in it. He misses the Mally who danced like no one was watching, literally. He misses the Mally that jumped into Dublin Bay in just her bra and panties in the middle of March, without a care in the world who saw her- she just wanted to have fun! … And you know what? I miss her too.
So I’m making a promise- much like that which I made to my friends and family in a previous post– but to me. I’m going to promise myself that I will make room for me everyday. Make room to appreciate that I am worthy and whole, with or without the title of “mother”. To live in the present, to enjoy my body as it is, as it was, and the potential it has in the future. And to remind myself that I am an incredible being who is capable of love beyond bounds and more than she ever thought possible.
Just because I haven’t seen two pink lines on a pregnancy test doesn’t mean I don’t have many things to celebrate. It is really easy to forget that in the infertility madness but I’m going to remember today and everyday from here on out. I owe it to myself to be the best version of me, no matter what the outcome of this journey. You only get one life to live, right? I’m got to live mine to it’s fullest.