1 | Give us a few words you would have used to describe your body, your health or your sense of physical vitality before the experience of babyloss—and a few that you’d use to describe it now.
Before - optimistic, hopeful - felt strong and capable. After - old, worn-out, less confident in myself and my body
2 | What do you do to take care of yourself? Has this changed?
I try to remember myself - nurture what I have rather than bemoan what my body is not or no longer capable of. I have to remind myself sometimes to stop and take a break, a warm bath, some quiet meditation, read a book, listen to music.
3 | Give us one or two words to describe sex or physical intimacy before, and then after the loss of your baby.
Before - Because of the rpl and infertility, sex was a means to an end, a chore - another thing to do on the "Honey Do" list; After - initially after a loss, it was horrific - emotional, usually involved a lot of tears the first few times because of the sense of having to start all over again. Now later - ttc years are behind us, "hey - I can have sex for sex sake?!" It's getting better - not as sad as it use to be and less of a chore now that it is because I can if I want to and not because I'm ovulating or the doc told me to do so and it's what I have to do. I know that isn't "one or two words", sorry!
4 | Has loss and/or grief left a physical mark on you (a scar, a chronic condition, insomnia, a tattoo)?
Anxiety, lots of physical scars - I spoke about the physical ones in a previous post. There were the csections, the d&cs - any or all of which led to the break in my uterine lining that allowed the endometriosis to grow into the muscle and ultimately required the loss of my uterus. The adhesions that still cause pain - but dramatically less so now because of the hysterectomy. The anxiety is the biggest thing - it affects my abilty to sleep, to enjoy things, to not worry about all the things that COULD go really bad.
5 | Do you medicate or control your emotions with food, wine, altered states, prescriptions? Without judgement, what have you gravitated towards in an effort to heal, and how do you feel about it?
I wasn't a drinker, smoker or a pill taker before my losses, but I can see some of the motivating factors that might compel a person to get caught up in those addictions. When there is so much "badness" that you feel, you just need something that feels good. For me it ended up being Dt. Coke (pathetic addiction I know!) and also needing anti-depressants that I can't seem to get completely off of. I try, go for short periods of time where I seem to do okay without that daily pill and then, it builds and builds and I have to go back on again. There have been times I wish I could just "check out" - not in a suicidal sense, though there have been the occasional wishes to just go to sleep and never wake up over the years; but a checking out in the sense that I just don't have to be present or involved and I can just hibernate or isolate myself. I withdrew into myself a lot and sometimes still do - not answering the phone, avoiding social situations, etc.
6 | Was physical healing important for you in the first year after your loss? What did/does physical healing entail and how did/do you work towards it? If physicality hasn't been a priority for you, what do you do that makes you feel stronger or more able to cope?
Physically I recovered pretty quickly, comparatively speaking. Not having to cope with physical difficulties on top of the emotional ones did make it easier to focus my energies on the mental. For that I have always been grateful - having major physical issues heaped on top would have seriously compounded the recovery period. Having my body back to it's prior state did help me feel like I was closer to being able to achieve my goals of getting pregnant again and trying to stay that way.
7 | If you could change anything about your body and/or health, what would it be? What would it feel like to be either at peace with your body, or at peace with this babylost state?
Some of those coping mechanisms were eating my feelings. So, I wish I could have found a better, less fattening, way of dealing with things. If money were no option, sky's the limit, I'd have a tummy tuck, seriously. I'm okay with the actual scars. What I want is a flat belly - and not for vanity's sake. Combo of emotional eating, infrequent exercise and stomach muscles that are completely shot after all they've been through, and yeah, I can see where people might make the assumption. I've endured years of people checking out the gut and assuming I am pregnant and commenting on it. When it was during ttc and I wasn't pg, it was aggravating. When it was shortly after a loss - devastating. Now it is just really depressing and reminds me that this gut is not going to be for a good reason ever again.