#MyBodyStory is a weekly series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body.
If you have a story to share, please email : Story@DoTheHotpants.com
Remember, every body has a story.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory articles are the writer’s own.
And now, without further ado,
Here is Asia’s story.
This is a story about my body. It is a tall body. A pretty strong body. A very earthy, curvy, sassy body. And it is connected to a very determined, very investigative, very opinionated, and often critical mind. Often, my mind is really nice to my body. It sends my body flowers with a note that says, “You’ve got a great ass.” And then my body smiles and has a great day. But sometimes, without warning, my mind will switch shit up and suddenly be really hard on my body. Which is unfair, cause most days my body is just minding its own business. My body doesn’t want any trouble. It just wants to go for a walk and then maybe get a strawberry milkshake. My body doesn’t need the drama.
When I was younger, my mind would sometimes terrorize my body. Not so much to cause like an eating disorder, but (perhaps worse) in just subtle enough ways that would chip away at my body’s confidence every now and again.
You’re too tall.
Your boobs aren’t big enough.
Your thighs are huge.
Please don’t wear shorts.
What is that flab under your arms?
I know you want those chocolates, but should you have just eaten those?
This is something I think most of us can relate to, the “Mind vs. Body” drama. It’s worse for some of us than others, and certainly there are plenty of those whose mind and body are, for all intents and purposes, friends.
I am now 32 and almost 8 months pregnant.
Pregnancy, as it turns out, is a bit of a game changer. For one, the body gets its revenge on the mind because it has all of the say, in everything, all of the time.
What I’m eating.
What I’m wearing (or not wearing).
What I’m doing.
When I’m working.
How I’m feeling.
What I’m saying.
In my first trimester, it was “I’m only eating things that do not make me want to vomit.” So if that equaled pizza for three days, well then, screw you Mind, we’re eating it. Bowls of cereal at 5am cause my body is starving? Done. Craving copious amounts of apples and chocolate croissants? Oh well.
Now, my body hasn’t been getting out of hand with this. And while I would never advocate just throwing all caution to the wind, my body is definitely in the driver’s seat. This is in large part because (surprise, surprise) the baby is in the driver’s seat.
Also, my body requires more when pregnant. More vitamins. More protein. More calcium. More carbs. More belly. And, for the most part, more weight. Nothing out of hand, but basically, that’s the deal. I have gained 42 pounds since the start of my pregnancy. Normally, my mind would have had a conniption about gaining that kind of weight in 8 months, but, my mind is being challenged! According to the doctors, this is a perfectly normal and healthy amount of weight for me to gain based on my body type. So take a seat, Mind!
Honestly, this has been incredibly freeing.
And, interestingly enough, the baby has had me craving more fruits and vegetables than I probably have ever eaten in my life, leaving me with the healthiest diet I’ve ever had. So the usual jabs of guilt or shame that my mind may have previously launched against my body about gaining this extra weight, have now lost their sting, and are also becoming totally exposed for the degrading and unedifying practices that they are.
Being pregnant has helped me realize that it makes no sense to hate on my body for the changes it goes through.
Because, duh, my body is pregnant! And therefore, I am reminded, my body is awesome.
As I approach the final stages of my third trimester, the big impending event on my mind is D-Day: the birth. I am, by most accounts, a nerd, so inordinate amounts of studying have ensued. I want to know everything: the breathing exercises, the birth plans, the stages of labour, and even the gross stuff no one talks about. All of this information is great, but the event itself still blows my mind. In everything I’m reading and learning, my body is at the centre of it all.
In studying for my birth plans, I decided that I would prefer to have a medication-free birth. To some that may sound slightly insane and masochistic, but after doing the research and understanding all the risks involved, it’s definitely the way I feel. This decision, however, has deepened my relationship with my body. Since I won’t be relying on meds to get me through the birthing process, I must trust that my body will get me through it. And not just that, but I must trust that my body knows what it is doing, and that it will tap into a natural process that women have been undertaking since always.
My body isn’t just centre stage in all of this, it is my hero, my best friend, and the only one who can and will bring my son into the world (whether I end up using medication or not!).
All of a sudden, my mind is turning to my body with so much love, so much encouragement, so much gratitude. I’ll get updates on my phone from various pregnancy apps telling me “Your body is growing your baby’s brain this week!” and I can do nothing but say thank you. My body is working miracles. To say that a new appreciation and love for my body is growing by the day is an understatement. This process of pregnancy has created a great reconciliation.
We spend so much of our lives restricting and separating ourselves from our bodies in so many ways. But the value of reconnecting to what your body does for you daily is immense. And one doesn’t have to be pregnant to experience that. I have rediscovered something that I suppose I always knew deep down:
My body loves me.
It will create for me.
It will make miracles for me.
It will take my entire life to new heights.
But I must love it back. And my mind must love it back.
I can’t afford to miss out on all the good my body is here to do, be and create. As a woman, there is tremendous power stored up in this body of mine. I see now that I must respect it, nurture it and wield it. Everyday.
Visit Asia’s Pregnancy Blog “Hello Little Bear” here
Follow Asia on Instagram here