A Letter to My Body
By Melissa Ford on February 28, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
The excellent Suzanne Reisman kicked off the Letter to My Body project and now I get to carry the torch forward and invite you to write a letter to your body while reflecting backwards on the letters that have already been written.
The way this project works is that you will be invited today to write a letter to your body and add a link to it in the Mr. Linky (at first I wanted to ask why it was Mr. Linky and not Ms. Linky? But then I logged onto the site and realized the name of the program is really Mr. Linky) feature below. I will then choose several letters and pass them on to the next torch carrying BlogHer CE who will present them in a post, invite more people to write a letter to their body, and provide their own letter. Two weeks from now, the next set of letters and invitation will appear.
Two weeks ago, when the project began, Katydidnot was initially irate over the Letter to My Body idea, but went to the BlogHer site and began reading the letters, commenting in her own that her observation on women and their bodies is that "we seem to love them almost entirely in function, if only in bits and pieces of form." One Fat Momma admits that her letter may not be profound, but it is straightforward and heartfelt when she thanks it for having "this amazing ability to bounce back from illness and injury without any permanent damage.
Chezartz.com makes some promises to her body after reflecting that she has "spent a lot more time raging against those who prefer that women hate their bodies than I have actually paying you any serious attention." Queenie's Place's body sent her a message a while back and her letter will make you want to change your ways as she did to honour all that her body has given her, ending with this message: "We are a team, you and I. One great team." Lastly, Pink Lemonade has one of the most moving letters to her body, admitting, "Body, I'm scared that I'll never be able to love you and you don't deserve that. You deserve to be loved. Other people think that you are ok. Why can't I?" These five are just a few of the amazing letters that can be accessed through Mr. Linky.
So now it's time for the infertile girls to speak. Those without fertility issues are invited, of course, as well to add their link too. But I would especially love to get my fellow stirrup queens addressing their bodies. Frankly, this was a pretty cathartic exercise and I bawled while writing my letter below. And the rest of the world needs to know how we view our bodies. We are a diverse bunch--from those who knew going into conception that they'd need assistance to those who were shocked by the diagnosis. Some of us have pursued treatments or adoption and others have decided to live child-free. Don't even get me started on the myriad of ways we process infertility emotionally. We all have strong feelings--good and bad--about our bodies.
I think we know each other pretty well by this point; best friends more than general acquaintances. So I think I can be frank with you and not have it ruin our relationship. Since best friends let each other know when they have food stuck between their teeth or when they're acting like a raving bitch. Body, I think you know in your heart what I'm going to say. You've really let me down.
First there was the whole getting pregnant thing and then hanging on to a pregnancy beyond a few weeks thing. Then there was the premature ovarian failure and the extra short luteal phase. The clotting factors--not just the more common MTHFR which I can actually find information about but the more bizarre PA1 4G/4G allele that doesn't seem to included in any books I've found containing information on reproductive hematology. And you know I like to Google, so why would you do that to me? Then there was the whole premature delivery of the twins and the IUGR and their NICU experience. And then after all of that, you have the nerve to not produce any prolactin so I can't breastfeed. Seriously.
I think I've been a pretty good friend to you. I don't complain aloud too much about my ass or stomach--both of which bother me, but I'm picking my battles with you. I give you good food and until a few years ago, I ran every single morning. If you have a problem with me, I'd want you to tell me.
You know how some people will listen to your litany of reasons why your friend is an ass (an annoying yet lovable ass; not one of those detrimental-to-your-mental-health type women) and they give you the advice to dump them? Well, I never tell people that because I know that it takes a long time to make a good friend and that those who tell you to get rid of someone have never had a friend dig her way into their heart and settle down somewhere between ventricles and atriums. Perhaps their friendships simply aren't that deep, therefore they can see more merit in letting someone go than weathering a storm.
I don't give that advice because of my relationship with you. If I focus only on the ways you've let me down, I'm not being true to the big picture. You give my husband two boobs to fondle, you give me legs strong enough to run 5Ks, you give me thick hair and long lashes. You provided a space for my assisted-conception children to grow and let me experience--at least once--that feeling of a baby kicking inside. And you also gently reminded me later on after the kids were out that the kicks feel exactly the same if they're squirming inside of you or outside of you against your belly. And that lesson maybe wasn't one I wanted to hear yet but thank you for telling me the truth so I know when to stop pushing you to let me experience pregnancy again. And most of all, I really do love you. Even when I'm being a bitch myself and complaining non-stop about you. I don't really mean it so please never dump me. No matter what type of ass I become.
Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. She keeps a categorized blogroll of over 1100 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere. Her infertility book is forthcoming from Seal Press in Spring 2009.
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