My pride was hung on a perfectly slender frame
Positioned atop the legs of a runner
A frame given by genetics
I draped it proudly, nothing to hide.
Emulating twigs on magazine covers.
Where once there was firm, smooth skin
Now there is give. Extra flesh
Having released two children from its clutches
It retains a disturbed shape, as if yearning
For the four phantom limbs it once carried.
I love my body for what it can do
A hymn I repeat without conviction
Trying so hard to bury disgust
At the ripples of silver stretching across my abdomen
A map of rivers reflecting the sun's light
The picture of motherhood is not idyllic
New cells divide, laying the floor plan to life
Just as old cells fall prey to atrophy
They sprout and flourish as a parasite
To be cut violently from my body, fruit gauged from its vine
Some days it is hard to love what is left
A deep scar cutting across my lower abdomen
My skin marred, tired, stretched like a blown tire
I squirm in the reeds of my new self
Struggling to find myself within my reflection
Each day I fight the fight anew
But would never wish the struggle away
Just as antimatter shriveled and exploded
That moment before it brought forth earth
Two hearts have left my body, strong and pulsing with life
And they are beautiful.
Since Ryan was born I've been struggling with self acceptance. I oscillate between being confident and proud in what my body is and does and angry and upset at what it no longer looks like. Sometimes I get so caught up in this battle that I lose sight of my blessings. Motherhood itself is a blessing. After going through 13 months of secondary infertility, I thought I would never take it for granted. And here I am, my "baby" is only 18 months old, and I'm consumed once again in the inconsequential and petty hang-ups. Motherhood is not a right. Motherhood is a blessing. While many of us do, no one is guaranteed to experience it. Anyone who has stared at the soulless darkness of infertility is acutely aware of this fact.
I'm counting my blessings today. I'm basking in the wonder and amazement of everything that comes along with being a mother. It can be hard. It can be ugly. It brings out both our worst and our best. But the entire experience, all of it, is nothing but a wonderful honor.
Right now, as I enjoy the beauty of this phase of my life, my thoughts are with all those people who are not so lucky. All those people still waiting and hoping and praying. Even though I only experienced a relatively short period of infertility, a little part of that struggle will always remain in me. My heart will never be able to forget the pain and the repeated blows that each new month of emptiness brings to those who are so desperate to love. For this reason, I promise to appreciate all that I have been given.