As I get further away from the twins' birth, I am realizing more and more how much infertility, pregnancy loss, and the circumstances surrounding their birth have affected my body image. Women today have plenty of reasons to be disappointed in our bodies. Those of us who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss, though, have an even more complicated relationship with ourselves.
In the past few weeks, immense guilt has been bubbling to the surface. It was my body's fault that we couldn't get pregnant without medical assistance. My body essentially killed the first three babies we conceived. Then, when we finally got our miracle babies, my body couldn't hold them long enough. They required three weeks of intensive care because of my body's failure. Even now, although my body is producing most of their nutrition, they will not actually nurse, which feels like a type of rejection. I know that I didn't conciously choose any of this, but that doesn't make it less true for me.
One of my goals post-twins was to get back to pre-inferility weight. And as of today, 15 weeks and 2 days after the twins' birth, I have made it. I have lost both my baby weight and my infertility treatment weight. I don't exactly look the same, but I am back in pre-infertility jeans. I even ran a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving. My body did exactly what I asked of it in a rather reasonable timeframe. But this isn't the goal that mattered. On the hierarchy of "things I would like my body to accomplish," this would come in dead last. This isn't even in the same realm as holding the twins in for one more week (or even a few more days), or of achieving and sustaining a pregnancy. Why, then, is this the thing my body seems able to do?
I don't have some neat way to tie this post up. I wish there were some magic formula for dealing with the guilt, but I know it's going to be something I work through for years to come. I am thankful, though, that I have this forum to come to when I just need to be honest, to say things that others may feel uncomfortable hearing.