So my friend and fellow blogger Real Mom Nutrition posted this week about her "Freshman 15." It was a good post, kind of a weight gain memory lane, and brought me back to the days when I worried about things like five extra pounds and wondering if I should switch to skim milk (I did and still drink two glasses a day).
And then the thought "Miscarriage 20" popped into my head. I've had four miscarriages now. There won't be another. My uterus is closed for business. I am done, which is a shame, as Mary Tyler Dad and I make exceptional kids. Six pregnancies, two babies, and one child. Not a great track record.
With each miscarriage (all in their first trimester) I put on 15-20 pounds. That makes sense, as with both of my babies I put on 38 pounds, 15-20 of which were in the first trimester. With the earlier pregnancies, the weight came off quickly. I would indulge in some Portillo's and chocolate for a few weeks afterwards, licking my wounds along with my french fries, and then I would get it together. The weight would fall off.
After this spring's miscarriage, the weight did not fall off. It's tenacious, this particular Miscarriage 20. The Universe's latest laugh. "Ha," it chuckles at me, the cruel Universe, reminding me of who is boss. Not me. I get it, Universe. You win.
I shared the post on my facebook page with the tag, "I am struggling with the 'Miscarriage 20.' Are you struggling too? Can we struggle together?" The responses were sobering:
- Stillbirth 50
- Miscarriage 45
- Infertility 60
- Four Pregnancies, One Baby 40
- Three Pregnancies in Two Years, Two Babies, One Miscarriage 30
- Putting Self Last 60
- Single Mom 60
- Bipolar 50
- Annual Holiday 15
- Dysfunctional Family/Grad School/Two Major Depression/Marriage 30
- Self Esteem Issues from Teenagedom 25
That's a lot of weight. And a lot of sadness. And a lot of french fries.
More than a few comments expressed gratitude about the honest discussion of miscarriage and what it does to us who have experienced it. Honestly, I am not a good person to ask about this, despite my obvious familiarity with it. For me, miscarriage does not equal the loss of my daughter. Four year old Donna that I helped lower into the ground.
After my third miscarriage, my OB called me at home one day and gently asked if we would try to conceive again. She expressed concern about my "psyche." Now that is good practice -- a doc to call you at home just to see how you are -- but I didn't need her to worry about my psyche. I needed her to worry about my uterus, and leave my psyche to me. I tried to explain to her that, for better or worse, my husband and I simply have a different continuum of sadness, pain, and loss. YES, miscarriage is awful and sad, but we've known deeper sadness. Our perspective is inalterably changed. Sigh. We gave it one more shot this spring after six months of uber-expensive out-of-pocket acupuncture. No luck. Another miscarriage. Another ultrasound with bad news. Another D and C. Another Miscarriage 20.
I am tired of it. I am tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what I see. I am tired of the science of "strategic dressing." I am tired of the up, down, up, down, up, up, up on the scale.
Seeing all the empathy shared on yesterday's facebook thread was a good wake up call for me. The Universe can have its laughs with us, but there is something mighty powerful about universal experience. One of the commenters discussed her own recent weight loss, the work of it, but the joy of it, too. "Self-forgiveness is golden. Self-loathing must go," she wrote. Word.
I am all about the Transcendentalists. Have been since I first discovered them in college. Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are prophets to me. I will work to remember Emerson's Self-Reliance in the coming days. Ain't nothing gonna change until I do, so it looks like it is time to change.
Wish me luck.