It is the time of year when my Facebook ads and e-mail are bombarded with “weight loss tips”. Advertisers assume that because I am a woman of a certain age, I must be dissatisfied with my body. If only they knew….
As a woman who struggled through the death of my sons and infertility challenges, my body shows the changes of five pregnancies in five years. I gained 55 pounds with the twins and the stretch marks, scars and extra skin never went away. Especially while my second and third pregnancies failed, the tiger stripes were a constant reminder of my body’s failure to keep my babies alive. I didn’t hate my body because I didn’t look good in a bikini or because my skin was a little pudgier than before. I hated my body because I blamed it and myself for their death. Somehow, in some way, my body had let me down, let my sons down, when I needed it the most. I am a feminist. I firmly believe that my value as a person goes beyond my body, my looks and my ability to have children. Yet I still felt trapped by my thinking that I was worthless, or worth less, because I could not have a baby. Every morning as I got dressed I would stare at my tiger stripes, my twin skin, and loathe my body. I was a failure as a woman because I could not have a baby.
A new year is a time of new resolutions, which is why I am seeing all those ads for weight loss. Here are my body resolutions for the year:
- My body does not represent who I am. I am greater than the sum of my parts.
- My ability to bear children (or not!) does not give me worth as a person. I have value either way.
- My body is not perfect and never will be. My tiger stripes and twin skin make me fierce and proud. I am a survivor. I can face any challenge. You can see it in my skin.
- I will remind myself every day: My sons’ death was not my fault.
This was originally posted at Still Standing Magazine.