monthly theme, May 2013: “body image”

Body image after having a child is a tricky enough subject– but what about body image after an ALI journey? For many mothers, there is an inherent conundrum of feeling like less of a woman at the exact moment in time that they have less time than ever before to focus on themselves and their body/health.

With summer quickly approaching, I’m guessing that many of you will have thoughts on this. I know that I personally have struggled with embracing my post-baby body, and beyond that, I have struggled to find the time – or really, to MAKE the time – to squeeze in exercise and to make healthy meals for myself and my family, even though I know how important it is.

This month we are curious to know how you feel about your body now that you’re pregnant and/or parenting after an ALI journey. As always, here are some prompts to get you thinking, but feel free to write on any topic:

  • How do you feel about your pregnancy / post-partum / post-adoption body?
  • Did you have weight gain in addition to pregnancy gain because of depression, fertility meds, etc?
  • How did you handle the psychological effects of weight gain from a pregnancy(ies) that you lost?
  • If you adopted, did you turn to food during the seemingly endless waiting period?
  • How do you / have you made time to focus on your health/body since becoming a mother?
  • Do you focus more on healthy food, good exercise, or a mix of both?

As always, if you don’t have a blog we welcome your comments on the topic below and we’ll link your comment in the post listing.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Wednesday, May 22nd at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Thursday, May 23.

featured post – “seeing pink, blue– and green” by keiko

This week’s feature post is taking us back to PAIL’s roots.

When we debuted PAIL on June 1st, we had a very specific vision for tweaking the PAIL acronym, settling on “Pregnant/Parenting through Adoption/Infertility/Loss.” Although “through” is the one word that we sneakily omitted from “PAIL” (we all know “PTAIL” doesn’t have the same ring to it), we all really felt like that one word was key in describing our group experience. We aren’t pregnant or parenting after, but pregnant and parenting through. Infertility isn’t cured by a pregnancy on a physical level; nor is the pain of infertility and loss cured by parenting. This is an important distinction– it’s who we are as a group and is the one thing that really connects us all together through our varied experiences. As SRB pointed out months ago, there is a common experience of moving through and, hopefully, towards a place of healing and resolution.

Keiko of The Infertility Voice highlights the experience of moving from infertile to pregnant-with-an-asterisk (as I like to call it) in her post “Seeing Blue, Pink– and Green.” This is a space we know well– it’s where you are in identity limbo, still reeling from infertility but also “on the other side,” getting the very thing that you want. It’s not so simple.

I have never been a habitual POAS-er. And I’ve have a complicated relationship with HPTs, given that I have usually taken them when a child wasn’t wanted. So it’s been a very strange thing indeed to suddenly desire them in this way.

As if somehow, seeing these two lines will erase my fear that I’m going to lose this pregnancy.

The label infertility does not, of course, represent a blanket experience. It’s not uncommon to fear pregnancy loss without having ever lost a pregnancy before, and this fear is just one of the ways infertility can seep through to “the other side” and impact pregnancy and parenting, including feelings of jealousy and envy:

I envy the ease with which some women deal with pregnancy, how they’re not worrying about making it through another week’s milestone. The women who could care less what their beta numbers are – if they even know them in the first place. The ones who don’t have to worry if this pregnancy will this last, or will I just face another crushing heartbreak in the face of everything else we’ve been through just to get here to this moment.

This post is from a few weeks ago, and some of you who are fans of The Infertility Voice may have already read it and commented. There’s a bonus here, though: this is the prelude to a guest post Keiko will be writing here on PAIL this Thursday! So, as always, comments here are closed and we encourage you to click through to read “Seeing Pink, Blue– and Green” in full, but don’t forget to check back in on Thursday to see Keiko’s follow-up as she continues to navigate early pregnancy and the beginning of life “on the other side.”

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