Friday, May 1, 2009

Glow in the Woods 7x7 (April 2009): The Body Shop

It's May 1st -- and the April 7x7 from Glow in the Woods has been on my to-do list all month.

The 7x7 -- as well as most of the posts in April -- fell under the theme of "The Body Shop" -- "a month of themed reflections and memes that explore what we do in an effort to occupy these physical selves with grace after babyloss."

Here (finally!) are my answers:

1 Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.

You have to realize that I'm trying to remember how I felt more than 11 years ago now... and I was a lot younger then than I am now. ; ) I was certainly lighter in both mind & body. I gained a fair amount of weight in the first few years of my marriage. Once I turned 30, I resolved to lose some -- and I did drop about 35 lbs, with the help of Weight Watchers -- but by the time I was 37, about 15 had crept back on, & I gained 20 more during the pregnancy (plus some more afterward).

Am trying to lose it again -- I'm already down about 10 pounds from my highest weight ever -- but it's much harder to do at this age (nudging 50) than it was back then. I don't think I'll ever be able to return to my original WW goal, but I think that getting back within my approved range would be a realistic new goal. Unfortunately, that's still a good 30 lbs away.

I think I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac, but the experiences of loss & infertility have left me feeling hyperaware of what my body is doing -- & all the reasons why it might be doing it. I get a little obsessive about my health at times at times.

2 What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?

I go to bed earlier. ; )

I discovered yoga while attempting to de-stress from my infertility treatments, & have taken classes on & off.

When the weather is nice, dh & I try to make a point of taking a walk after dinner, which we both enjoy.

And a day at the spa being pampered -- even a lunch-hour pedicure once in awhile -- can work wonders on both body & spirit! ; )

Sometimes I will take a day off work for no particular reason, just to give myself a break. I might go shopping, I might stay home & read or scrapbook, I might clean out a closet and then watch Oprah with a nice cup of tea. The point is to forget about work & relax.

3 Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.

Before: fun.

After: tinged with sadness. For a long time afterward.

4 Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?

For the longest time after Katie's stillbirth, I had a little scar on my left wrist, where the nurses had inserted an IV at the hospital. I could still see it, years later. I was sad when it eventually faded from sight.

And I'm still carrying around a belly, albeit not as pregnant looking as it was. :p

5 Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?

I've never been much for drinking or drugs, even in my wilder student days. Food (chocolate!), perhaps. When I started having panic attacks after we stopped treatment, my dr prescribed me I didn't like the idea of having to take a pill, & was afraid I would become dependent on it -- but the few times I did take one, I was grateful that it was there.

I also subscribe to the theory that "when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping." : ) Retail therapy has always been an outlet for me, & while I am trying to curb my impulses (particularly in the current economy), my tastes are not overly expensive (fortunately for dh!). My favourite indulgences include books & magazines, scrapbooking supplies, pretty coloured T-shirts from the Gap, & skin care/cosmetics (Estee Lauder, Clinique & Prescriptives).

6 Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn't been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?

I don't remember having a very difficult time with the physical aspects of healing from my delivery. The waiting period before trying again was probably the hardest part. Going for walks helped me to feel like I was doing something to get back into shape, & was also good for me mentally. Finding support, both in a real-life group and online, was also a very important part of my healing.

7 If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state?

I really would like to lose weight. I am back at Weight Watchers (again), but it's a long, slow process. I've developed high blood pressure and gallstones in recent years, & my doctor tells me that if I lose some weight, both problems should lessen considerably. I don't have to worry about being around for my children, but I want to stay around for my husband & enjoy life for as long as I can.

Check out Glow in the Woods to see how other bloggers answered the same questions.


  1. That was very poignant. Thank you for sharing. xxx

  2. I think you are quite brave to answer these questions. I couldn't go near exploring the effect on my physical self--yet. Thanks for sharing.