You’ve got stuck in a moment…

You know how they say you can’t smell your own perfume, so you have to careful now to wear too much? I feel a bit like that about my body. Specifically, my scars.

I’ve lived with the damage for so long that I cannot judge how severe it is. Mostly, I don’t think about my scars at all. They’re not a consideration in dressing anymore. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of what they may signify. I usually find any rudeness engendered by my patchwork skin says more about the observer than the observed.

However, every once on a blue moon I have a moment. Often it’s my own doing. I catch sight of my reflection at an unusual angle or change under different lighting and I’m shocked. Horrified maybe. Not so much at my appearance as the fact that I did this to myself.

More rarely it’s as a result of another’s extreme reaction. A gasp or frightened look stirs much more than judgemental comments. When my battle scars scare others it stirs the old guilty feelings.

Sun shining through trees

In either case it is doubt that knocks my confidence. I find it impossible to determine if my body is hideous or merely slightly disfigured. Without a clear grasp of what I have done I feel adrift. It takes me back to my days in the self harm trenches; never knowing how serious a wound was. Unable to grasp onto any equilibrium.

Am I a dramatic fool over nothing or inflicting horror on innocent parties? And which would be worse? The uncertainty shakes me. I feel an imposter. For all my proclamations of body confidence there are times when my self inflicted seams run deep.

I’m stuck in a moment right now. I fight the urge to hide. Steal myself against thoughts of splitting those seams open. It’ll pass. In the meantime I’ll have the long sleeve weather to regain my surety.

Blurry lights through blinds

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I’ve got tears that are scared of the facts…

My baby was the size of a large olive. Almost all of her vital organs were formed. She had tiny finger nail buds & her body was covered in fine hair. And now she’s gone. 

So, I’m writing my emotions because I can’t bring myself to verbalise them & they have to escape somehow. 

With my health & my history this wasn’t unexpected, but that didn’t make it any less shocking. Being pregnant again was scary. It felt unreal to begin with, but I had started to believe that this was my time. The fear never left me, but the hope grew. 

I felt very pregnant. I still do, which seems particularly unfair. Sickness & nausea & cramps & sore nipples & peeing or crying every two minutes. Strong smells became my nemesis. I haven’t even been able to wear my own perfume. Pregnancy ruled out almost all of my normal meds. I’ve basically felt horrendous but been delighted to suffer. All the pain & discomfort meant my body was doing the very thing I didn’t think it could do. I worried about every twinge, but I also relished them. 

I felt like we were having a girl. He never said so, but I think maybe the toy boy did too. We talked about girl’s names so much more than boy’s. I talked & thought too much about too many things. 

Names & maternity clothes. 

The best way to tell my neice & when to tell the rest of the world. 

Which stories to read at bedtime & what songs might lull my baby to sleep. 

Painting tropical leaves in the nursery & learning all that baby wearing stuff. 

I really thought this was it. All the stars looked aligned. I got caught up in believing that I could have this & amongst the heartbreak I feel furious. I’m so angry with myself for not protecting the most vulnerable part of me. I’m angry that my body won’t do what comes naturally to so many. I’m angry that I have failed again. I’m angry that the world keeps doing this to me. 

Behind the anger is real fear. I am so scared that I can’t get through this again & even more frightened that this will be my only experience of pregnancy. The idea that carrying a life will always end in loss is overwhelming. I’ve worked so hard not to be overwhelmed by what life has forced upon me. I’m terrified of losing myself in madness once more. 

I’m still very much in the process of losing this baby. I know she’s gone, but my body doesn’t seem aware of it. I still feel pregnant. I don’t feel able to take any of the meds that I know will make this easier because I haven’t detached from the need to protect this little life. I have avoided speaking to even those closest to me because I’m just not ready to completely let go of my beautiful dream.  I’ve been able to do this partly due to the support of my lovely toy boy. To be taken care of without having to ask is a powerful thing. Having a companion in this is a new experience & a huge blessing (a word that will have him shaking his head), but it’s true. 

I feel much less alone. This child feels acknowledged & important. That’s a both a comfort and fuel for my guilt. I am aware that I am culpable for creating the situations that led to my boy not mattering to others in the same way. I’m also clear that it is my body that failed them. It’s acutely painful to live with that knowledge; no matter how unwilling the neglect. 

Isolation isn’t the answer. I know that, but I need some time. I have to let my body & my heart get used to the idea that I won’t be nurturing this child into life. I appreciate everyone’s patience.