An Attitude of Body Gratitude

Ok, so yesterday’s post was really whiny. Like, really whiny. In fact, I’ve been frustrated with and complaining about my body for quite awhile now. Not so much with how it looks, as how healthy and strong it isn’t.

Over the years I have struggled with sinuses that need to be surgically fixed and tonsils that need to be removed. I’ve been frustrated by an immune system that pretty much rolls over and plays dead at the first sign of a germ. I have suffered through miserable pregnancies, plagued by nausea and vomiting, sciatic pain, spine misalignment, hips that ache and feel out of place, and gestational diabetes. A year ago I caught some sort of flu bug that destroyed my GI tract and left me with lactose intolerance. The ultimate body betrayal for a milk lover like me. For twenty-six years I struggled to gain weight and then, after Eleanor weaned, I struggled to lose it. I have had to make accommodations for my Raynaud’s disease in cold weather and for hands that began showing subtle signs of arthritis in my twenties. I have been plagued by ear infections my entire life, twice rupturing my ear drums from infections, leaving me with slightly reduced hearing.

In short, I have felt my body is weak, fragile, broken and unfit for many of the demands of life.

Last spring I finally got fed up with hating my weak, sickly body and decided to start doing something about it. I began trying to do some sort of exercise every day, be it yoga or aerobics or a long walk with the kids. Zach and I had started talking about wanting another baby and I intended to start the pregnancy on healthier footing this time. While I think that was a great plan, and certainly has had benefits this pregnancy, pretty much all exercise ceased when I again got hit by unrelenting pregnancy nausea. Even now, at thirty weeks pregnant, I still require Zofran to get through most days without vomiting.

So here I am. About two months away from giving birth, sick with the plague a cold that will never die, aching with sciatica and a hip that feels frequently out of joint and too tired to care much about exercise one way or another. But I have realized that there is still something I can change: my attitude. I have been disappointed in my body’s lack of ability to cope with life. I have been frequently frustrated with and at times ashamed of my body. With all that, I have forgotten to be grateful for my body.

This body has survived a miscarriage. This body has allowed me to get pregnant at least four times, two of those times while on birth control, the other two the moment I wanted another baby. In this age of high rates of infertility, that alone is an enormous blessing. This body has healed from a c-section. This body rocked through three days of non-stop labor in ninety degree heat without sleep and then pushed out a baby. This body has held up through months of sleepless nights spent bouncing, patting, nursing and comforting screaming, colicky babies. This body has breastfed two babies who wouldn’t tolerate any other form of nutrition. This body has worked hundreds of back-to-back twelve or sixteen hour shifts – some while pregnant and most during night shift. This body is currently growing yet another healthy, perfect baby, sacrificing itself to make sure my son or daughter’s needs are met. This body has stretched, shifted and morphed three times over to accommodate the growing of another human being.

My body freaking rocks, man. It might have it’s flaws. It certainly isn’t “perfect,” but damn if it doesn’t do the most important things and do them really freaking well. So, body, I’m sorry for judging you so harshly. I’m sorry for not always giving you the best nutrition and exercise I can, and I certainly rarely give you the rest you need. You’ve always come through for me, nonetheless. I am thankful for you. I am thankful for the incredible things you CAN do and ARE doing. My dear, kind body, I have finally learned how lucky I am to have you and how much I truly do love and appreciate you, just as you are.

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