This letter has been a long time coming, four years and nine months to be exact. That’s how long I have been trying to understand and accept our relationship. Gaining and losing Jake has made our relationship even more oh-so-bitter-sweet.
At times I literally hate you. I feel resentful of what you have taken from me. I feel like it’s all your fault. He was perfect you see, YOU took him from me. I feel stuck in you. No escape from you at all. How could it be that the very thing that brought my son nourishment and life is the very thing that took it all away? I still can’t wrap my mind around that. I don’t think I will ever be able to.
On the other hand, you gave him life and carried his life. You harbored every second of his existence inside of you. You are the only one who ever held him while his heart beat. You nourished him, you protected him and never allowed anything but love to reach him. I’ll never forget when I was in the hospital in labor with Jake telling my doula crocidile tears down my face, “I’m stuck in this body that has no idea what it’s doing.”
My body has changed. I know this is normal for every woman to experience after she has a child. The difference is that women who don’t get to hold onto their child after they deliver them do not have the opportunity to mask their body’s changes with newborn baby love, with breast feeding, with rocking their child to sleep or raspberry belly kisses or anything that makes their body worth it all. The extra pounds, the shifts in gravity…yes, it all changes, even for Mom’s like me.
So I am left to figure out how this relationship will turn out between us. I am doing my damndest to forgive you. I am doing my damndest to figure out how to ever trust you again. I am on a journey that involves me figuring out how to embrace you and love you again. I think it’s going to take some time but I am willing to work on it- for me, for Jake.
My heart knows you are a gift. I know I am so blessed to be a healthy woman. I recognize all of the wonderful things you do for me each and every day. I am so truly grateful that you provide me with the ability to walk, to talk, to eat, to excercise, to laugh, to cry, to hold my husband close every night….and so, so many more amazing things you do that I can’t see with my two eyes or even begin to comprehend. You are complex, amazing and astounding. I remember my doula responding to me a week after I had Jake by saying, “Your body knew exactly what to do. You conceived and gave birth to your baby and your milk supply even came in. Your body knows how to do this.” I will never forget those words and often repeat them in my head for reassurance.
But my mind is confused by your ways. I literally ache everywhere. My arms ache from emptiness..literally ache. There are knots on every inch of by body despite getting weekly massages and bowen touch therapy sessions. I have ten pounds to lose and zero motivaton to do so. I am scared of you. I feel betrayed by you. I feel powerless inside of you.
Sometimes I catch my myself protecting you by instinct. If I am about to bump into something I cover by belly with my hands and then I remember he’s no longer there. Sometimes it’s just a “phantom kick”…so they call it, and then I remember again. Sometimes I find my hands wrapped around my empty belly and a smile almost makes it across my face… and once again, I remember. These are mind boggling moments and a powerful reminder of what you ache and wish to be doing.
But it’s just us now Body. We are going to have to figure this out becasue you’re the one thing I know I will have for the rest of my physical life. Every morning I read these affirmations aloud into the mirror as I get ready for the day. I tell myself if I say them enough, I will everntually start to believe each one. # 7 is still the hardest.
I hate you. I love you. It’s just the way it’s going to be for a while. I am going to have to be ok with that for now because I’m learning there is no point in trying to rush any of my emotions along. This journey is more than a marathon, definately no simple race. For now, I am proud that I can at least convince these legs to get out of bed each day and these arms to embrace the hugs of children who need it and these lips to kiss my husband each night.
And right now, that’s enough.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Pslam 139:14