As women they are so entwined with our self esteem and feelings of worth that many times it’s simply impossible to separate the two. Now imagine that your feelings of being “womanly” are the ones you can only see with your eyes. For instance when you gaze into the mirror you see yourself, your breasts, your lovely, curving hips and they all tell you that you are a woman, that your body is a vessel and that you are built to make and carry life.
Now imagine that that body—the one you have dressed and cared for all your life, the one you can see is capable of its role—betrayed you.
It happened to me the day I was diagnosed with infertility and it was devastating to my image of myself as a woman.
I could see all the characteristics that told the world I was female but the one thing that would give credence to it was always out of my reach. Month after month and year after year it eluded me.
I had always thought of my body as powerful. From the time that my breaths arrived, going from a B to a C cup within moments it seemed, to the wide swing of my hips as I wandered through puberty, I found that the way I looked held clout and purpose. Like a superhero, I could use my looks for good or evil but the choice was always mine.
My body, my choices.
But when I was faced with the fact that I could not control my cycles or demand my ovaries and uterus work, I was spun into a vortex of self loathing and disappointment. I remember the first time I looked at my body after the tests came back, the “unexplained infertility” diagnosis banging around in my head, and I hated what I saw. Even the parts that I couldn’t see had become enemies and they had robbed me of a happy, fulfilled sex life, a feeling of self worth and a love for the gift that my own body truly was.
Instead of wanting to saunter down the stairs in a pair of size 6 jeans or rock a two-piece bikini, I wanted more than anything for my body to change and swell. I wanted to turn sideways in the mirror and see my tummy expand with the promise and hope of a family.
I wanted my body to fulfill its promises to me.
It’s been five years since my body, with the help of advanced medical procedures and a good dose of miracles, finally complied, allowing me to carry and cradle my sons in my own womb. It’s been five years since I’ve truly hated my reflection in the mirror and cursed the attributes that told the world I was a woman.
The forgiveness has been slow but steady and while I am not a size 6 or a rocking a two-piece bikini yet I am holding the children I dreamt of in my arms now, and I try to thank my beautiful body every day for that.