Word to Your Moms
It’s been a long time since I wrote a post & the more time that passes the harder it gets to write one bc so much stuff has happened.
So I’ll just jump in.
I’m pregnant. At this point I’m 6.5 months – so I’m pretty prego at this point.
A little fun fact about me is that I have never wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to be a mom. I wanted a family. But the idea of being pregnant scared the shit out of me. To me, pregnancy has always been the stuff of nightmares.
And not because of all the weird stuff that happens or the process of giving birth. Nothing that would strike fear into most people. What terrified me from the get go was getting fat & being out of control.
“You’re not fat. You’re PREGNANT!”
That’s what people say. I’m sure I even said those very words to my sister during her pregnancy. They are true. They’re bullshit & they are also true. And anyone listening to me talk about my intense fear of pregnancy would tell me that I didn’t have anything to worry about bc I’m so fit, & I have so much self-control, & I am driven & motivated & knowledgeable about health/fitness/food.
Well, that sounded like an absolute crock.
I spent many years living with anorexia. I was fat phobic. And I mean PHOBIC. Being fat was the worst thing I could ever be. The fear of being fat consumed me. Consumed every moment of every day for 7 years. More than that if you include my preoccupation with fat/my weight that started at about 14. Anorexia didn’t actually take over until I was about 19 or 20. Then after I started eating, I have continued to battle this fat phobia. But if we’re going to be brutally honest here, fat is still an enemy; I’m just not waging war against it anymore.
Pregnancy as a concept was a living nightmare bc it meant gaining weight, which, regardless of the reason, was my living nightmare. When I had anorexia my body was a prison; I was imprisoned by it. Pregnancy threatened the same experience & I was scared to go back to that.
The other reason pregnancy scared the shit out of me was bc it represented a complete loss of control. I figured that once I got pregnant I would set a process into motion which I would have no control over. I thought the moment of conception would unlock some unstoppable force that would render me helpless to Pregnancy. I would be a victim of out of control hormones & hunger & bloating & fat gain, & ultimately, complete misery….for 9 months.
Add to this, the fact that I’m accustomed to the life of an athlete; fit, strong, capable, powerful, comfortable in my body & in control of my body; this whole pregnancy thing was an outright threat. I was an MMA fighter. An athlete. A powerful woman. Strong, capable & fearless. Pregnancy just didn’t fit in with any of this.
I knew that being pregnant might end up being one of the hardest things I’d ever work through. I can take the pain of labor, or sore a sore back or whatever other ailment I might encounter, but giving up control over my body & knowing it was going to get bigger – a lot bigger – & therein let-go of the body I enjoyed – there’s not much in this world that would pose a greater challenge to me.
To make things even more complicated, this wasn’t just about my body. This wasn’t just losing my abs, or biceps, or number of pullups I could do or having to buy bigger clothes, & feeling endlessly uncomfortable in my skin. This went beyond: it was about losing myself.
I identify myself through my body bc I built it myself. I worked unimaginably hard to build it. I endured pain & suffering & building cycles (getting chunky for the sake of strength/power/muscle size). I looked like an athlete. I didn’t look like most girls & I embraced this. It was all integrated into my self-view & how I placed myself in the world around me.
Pregnancy was going to take that away. Erase all the hard work: the years in the gym & the years spent trying to heal from anorexia. The long arduous path to self-acceptance. It seemed like I no sooner got a taste of it & it was going to be ripped away & replaced with the most powerful force of uncertainty.
Add to this the fact that I gain weight super easily, which is a bonus when you want to gain strength/muscle but it means I gain fat easily as well. So I knew I was absolutely not going to be one of those cute pregnant chicks in Lululemon pants who don’t look pregnant from the back. Oh no. I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew it would not be this.
And on top of all this you can add a healthy dose of guilt. I felt guilty for being so worried about my body & identity when I was “supposed” to be so engrossed in the joy of creating life. It all sounds so trivial & vain when you contrast it against the process of creating your child. But the truth remained to be true: I did care about these things. I cared deeply about creating life too. I was excited & eager but completely terrified & threatened.
I am well aware of the concept of the ‘Myth of Motherhood’. Women are expected to come by ‘mothering’ naturally – like vagina’s are the secret vortex of care-taking; biologically propelling all women to a burning desire to not only become a mother, but to want it above all else. And we all know that the good moms are self-sacrificing. And not only are they self-sacrificial, but happily so, bc the duty of motherhood is just that rewarding. It is so rewarding that a good mother doesn’t aspire beyond motherhood; she is so satisfied by the role of being a mother that all the other parts of her should just fade into the sunset. Silently, without protest or regret or sadness or mourning.
l I don’t drink that Kool-Aid, but I sure as hell still feel the guilt & pressure. And that’s why I’m writing this bc I don’t buy it.
Being pregnant is hard but not for those socially acceptable reasons, like the pain & exhaustion & puking & insomnia & all the rest of the physical/emotional effects. Being a woman doesn’t mean you will naturally loooooooooove being pregnant. It’s the hardest, most difficult struggle. It’s brilliant & amazing & I’m not saying it’s not worth it but it’s fucking hard.
I don’t feel like myself & I hate that. I don’t like my limitations: I threw my back out putting on gym pants. And mean out. I couldn’t stand up for a whole day. I am not this person.
And I don’t need consolations or reassurance. I’m just telling you how it is for me.
And don’t mistake the struggle for me being unhappy with this process bc I’m not…or at least not always. I chose this for myself & I knew what I was getting into. And there are plenty of moments that I do love about being pregnant & I have not one single hesitation in saying that it is totally worth it.
But for me, pregnancy has been work. I’ve had to push myself in new ways. I’ve had to dance with some old demons. I’ve had to accept myself differently. It’s a journey that’s teaching me a lot & ultimately I am grateful for all of it. But it sure as shit isn’t easy, or natural – whatever the hell that means.
Posted on June 26, 2014, in General Topics and tagged anorexia, athlete, Eating disorder, family, fitness, health, mom, motherhood, pregnancy, pregnant, recovery, workout. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.