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7×7: the body shop, response

April 6, 2009

These are my answers to the 7 by 7 questions up at glow in the woods.  Good food for thought.

1 | Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.
Before: happy, imperfect, competent.  After: soft, soggy, failed, tired.

2 | What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?
I’m better at taking vitamins and my thyroid meds.  I drink less water than I used to, which is bad, and I spend more time in front of the TV, which I’m not too thrilled about, either.  I do go to yoga twice a week, and I give myself permission not to care about many things that used to seem important but now seem like trivia.

3 | Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.
Before: joyful, playful, passionate, necessary.  After: fervent, hesitant, and (in the words of Salt-N-Pepa) very necessary.

4 | Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?
I have a c-section scar, a very flabby belly covered with stretch marks, increased hypothyroidism, and eyes that seem to perpetually itch from crying.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight, and I’m much less flexible than I was at this time last year, but hopefully I’ll be able to touch my toes again come May.  I’m only bitter about the belly and the stretch marks.  Partly because I had such very high amniotic fluid levels, I ended up with a pretty sorry looking belly; looking at it makes me feel failed and ugly, a deflated Venus of Willendorf.

5 | Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?
It was very easy for me to overeat and drink too much for the first several months after losing Teddy.  It was strangely hard getting over caring about how what I ate or drank would affect my child, and I was angry at myself for failing to keep him safe and alive.  I couldn’t express that anger and guilt freely, and eating and drinking became a way to punish and soothe myself simultaneously.  I’ve consumed far more wine, vodka, chocolate, ice cream, and donuts (and I don’t even like donuts) than were good for me.  The last couple of months I’ve been doing better, but probably more because we’re trying again than because the guilt has gone away.  I read even more genre fiction now than I used to, and can speak eloquently on the subject of escapism.

6 | Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn’t been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?
I was tired, so very tired, for several months after Teddy’s death.  I thought it was grief, and I’m sure part of it was, but my thyroid had also “conked out,” as my doctor described it, and once regulated, I’ve been able to do things without trying so damned hard, which also means that I’ve been able to go to yoga class regularly, walk more, and reap the benefit of some endorphins, which also help with the tiredness.  I’m still tired, but it’s a different tired, one I can usually handle.  Again, physical healing is especially important to me so that I can get through a healthy pregnancy with a living child.

7 | If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state?
Growing up, I was unathletic, myopic, chubby, and suffered from scoliosis, so I’ve never been fully at peace with my body.  I don’t know what that would feel like.  Having said that, I‘d like to start caring about my physical well being just because I like myself and can make being good to myself a priority, I’d like to have 20/20 vision so that I didn’t have to deal with contact lenses on top of all the crying, I’d like to be able to physically do all the things I want and like to do without strain, and I’d really like my floppy belly to be less floppy.  Peace seems very far from me, but acceptance comes to me in bits now, if I don’t force it or try to hold on to it, or chase it away with guilt.

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2 comments

  1. “It was strangely hard getting over caring about how what I ate or drank would affect my child, and I was angry at myself for failing to keep him safe and alive.”

    Me too in a way, minus the coffee. I noticed after Maddy died that I lost my sense of taste. I’m a foodie, and kinda care about just about everything I eat, but for a good 9-12 months there, it just didn’t matter. Cheerios? Lunch!

    I didn’t have much guilt per se, but I was so pissed I had spent 9 months abstaining from things I loved for nothing. I really didn’t know who to throw the moldy cheese at, though.

    Thanks for answering these.


  2. I would really like to know who to throw the moldy cheese at. And being able to drink coffee again (instead of just sniffing it wistfully) was a real comfort for me, too.



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