HFC Day 5: Body Appreciation Day!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

I think its quite serendipitous and appropriate that today's prompt is about body appreciation.  You see, today is my sweet baby girl's very first birthday.  And if conceiving a tiny baby, then cooking that baby, giving birth and recovering from the previous 10 months doesn't make you appreciate your body, nothing will.

One of the many therapeutic exercises I had to do while in-patient at TC2 included writing all the things that I am thankful my body can do.  I remember standing in the smoking room (which I was never allowed because I wasn't 18 yet at the time) which had a wall of mirrors.  My therapist was next to me and she had me start at the top of my head and go down to the tips of my toes as I said things I was thankful for about every party of my body.  Talk about uncomfortable!  For some reason, my biggest point of contention with my body was my stomach.  I have scars that show just how much I disliked my stomach, and though I can't really tell you why it was such a hang up for me, it just really was.

As I was doing this body image exercise, I got to the area of my stomach.  I fell silent.  I had nothing good to say... nothing was coming to mind.  I could be thankful that it digested food, but at the time, I didn't like eating.  So I couldn't care less about that.  I don't know how long it took me to come up with something, but it seemed like forever.  But finally, I was able to be thankful for my stomach because someday, it would carry my unborn children.  And even though I was still a teenager, I knew that some day, far down the road, I wanted to have kids.  This actually became a leading motivation for my recovery-- to live a normal life.  And for me, that included the dream of having kids.  I knew that eating disorders can affect fertility, so the appreciation of my body and what it would hopefully some day do in terms of creating and carrying my family was huge.

Today I've thought a lot about when I was pregnant with my daughters.  Though I gained a lot of weight and saw the scale slide up an awful lot in the past 3 years, I've never once had a panic moment where the old ED-thinking crept in.  It was always about nourishing myself so I could nourish my babies; so they could be as healthy as possible.  And honestly, I had fun doing it.  When else can you beg your husband to go out and get you that special coconut milk chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream at midnight?  I attribute this all to God and his healing power, but along with that, I think the appreciation that I intentionally developed for my body in this aspect played a huge role in it as well.  I actually enjoyed the curves of pregnancy, and was able to recognize the awesome gift that God has given women in the ability to birth children.

After Gia was born, my body did even more crazy stuff.  It once again looked different and took some adjusting.  But I had confidence that my body would recover as it should, as long as I took care of it.  I breastfed Gia (and still am), so I took joy in finding healthy but filling meals and snacks (often at all hours of the day) in order to keep my milk supply up.

A Year ago today- Gia's birth day!
Now that I am exactly one year post-baby, I have a greater appreciation for my body than I ever have had before.  I've never been extremely healthy in means of exercise (as in I rarely do it), and we've just started going to the YMCA as a family.  It feels good to exercise without obsessing, and to be more than okay when several days go by and I don't make it to the gym.  Its all about moderation in life.  Knowing that the world isn't going to end if I gain weight and that ultimately, as long as I do my part in taking care of this temple God has given me, it will do what its supposed to.  I am so eternally thankful to God that my destructive behaviors didn't have a permanent impact on my ability to have a family.  Because like I said, its pretty much the dang coolest thing your body can ever do!

This is us today.  Yes, I'm sentimental and wore the same thing today that I did on her birth day last year.  Well, different pants, of course.

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