I’ve spent a lifetime hating my body.
I was a fat kid who turned into a fat teen who became a fat adult and I live in the U.S., where we are actively taught that being fat is not just unattractive, but unhealthy, worthy of ridicule, deserving of discrimination (even by medical professionals), and something you should actively be working to change at all times no matter what.
I also grew up in a household where I was told I was beautiful and didn’t have to change for anyone, while also knowing that these same family members were unhappy with their bodies, which very much looked like mine. And who could blame them? We are not immune from society and the world around us tells us that fat bodies are broken. I spent years trying to “fix” my body to make it something more appealing — not so much because I cared about my health but because I bought into this idea that my fatness meant I could never be worthy of good things. It didn’t help that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which made gaining weight breezy.
About two years ago I did lose a significant amount of weight for two real reasons: I was starting to experience some health issues; and my husband and I wanted to have a baby someday and I knew it would be easier if I weighed a little less. But I still never really appreciated my body. There was always something, I felt, that should change or be better.
Weirdly, getting pregnant has finally made it so I see the value in my body as it is.
I won’t lie: I still feel bad about my body most days. I’m putting weight on, obviously, and feeling much less confident in a body I had finally felt good in. I get down on myself because I don’t have the “perfect baby bump.” I fret over the fact that many well-meaning folks say they “can’t even tell” I’m pregnant. I stress.
But then I remember: I’m growing a person.
And doing that while actively battling against the odds of PCOS, which makes getting pregnant and staying pregnant hard.
Every day that passes feels like an accomplishment. Every tiny little kick feels like a victory, a reminder that my body is incredible as it is now, as it was, and as it will be.
I know I won’t feel beautiful and comfortable in this skin every day, but for some moments, I can. And, for the first time in my life, I am finally learning to appreciate this body of mine for its tremendous strength, for its growth, and for its resilience. To my body: thank you. And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you the way you’ve deserved.