I am currently finding myself in a lot of chats about the joy of the human body (there was a hint of sarcasm in that last part) and well sex. This may be a good point where if you are related to me, or just uncomfortable around the topic of sex and me, you might wanna stop reading and watch some very mundane TV to help you think about something else (I recommend ‘Tipping Point’).
Having a baby changes your body, a lot. In many ways, both positive and negative as I am sure you know or can imagine. But what I didn’t realise is how much the physical changes have affected the mental changes. I have gone from being ok with being a pear/apple shape to now not sure if I more closely resemble a wonky pineapple or a bruised and half bitten avocado? How do you dress those fruits? No one is ready for this jelly!
And that’s just the top half!
But bodies’ are forever changing not just through having a baby but through life, whether we are slimming down, toning up or just trying to feel ‘ok’ whilst dealing with illness. And these changes are not always in the realm of our control. And that is tough and it feels unfair.
At the beginning of this month I was so frustrated with my diagnosis of endometriosis, I felt like it wasn’t fair that I had it and it seemed particularly unjust that things seemed to be getting worse not better no matter what I tried.
I just wanted to have autonomy over my own body again.
I realise I am not alone in this, for those that are struggling against chronic conditions and find their lives drastically changed and their energy sapped, to the athlete/sportsperson who is sidelined due to injury or for those who long to get pregnant but are left wondering why it won’t happen for them. Our bodies can let us down and it’s painful, and not just physically.
In many many ways I am so fortunate. I do not want to seem ungrateful, but I do want to be honest about the challenge.
How I mentally perceive my body has been affected as much as my physical body. I am a lot stronger than I realised, I can function on very little sleep and when needed run up and down the stairs with laundry/bottles/towels/baby pretty speedily. But I am also more fragile, more vulnerable and more aware of the dangers ahead-and that scares me.
Similarly sex has changed in ways I didn’t foresee (don’t worry I am not going to go into details… that’s another blog post, probably one to write after a glass of wine or two) and in ways I have struggled to communicate. I don’t really have any issue about talking about sex, which I am sure many of you are all too aware …I think communication makes for healthier people and that does not stop around the topic of sex. But what happens when the issue is that your body and your mind don’t seem to be working together in the same way and you really don’t know why? How do you find yourself back to the ‘you’ you always knew?
I don’t know if this is making sense? The point I am trying to make seems like the golden snitch in Harry Potter just slightly out of my reach.
But I am trying to start the dialogue, open the complex box that is when your body feels like its not your own, when it acts against you…where do you go from here?
Is it a case of acceptance? Or acknowledging that things have just eternally shifted?
Or do you just try every option there is…even at the cost of exhausting your emotions further?
One thing I know is that embarrassment and fear of what others think doesn’t aid any process, and actually telling people can be helpful. Obviously having some boundaries is good, (for example, Norma, on her way to get her hair done, and the rest if the bus do not need to hear you exclaim about your ‘broken’ pelvic floor!)*
*-Clearly I am demonstrating my good boundaries by writing a public blog post on it…