On Motherhood & Sanity

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 4: on healing....

This year there was a lot of trying to heal ... and failing. Rather than drip by drip it was blow by blow.
So I hope to overcome this and develop a healthier relationship with my body again. 
I wrote this as a guest post  a year ago, but it's still the best way to try to look at it. I just need to get there again...

 Ever since I can remember I’ve had fragile health.
I get sick often, I get strange diseases (like whooping cough), I have low blood pressure and used to faint; adding insult to injury, my teeth would break when I fainted. My period hurts (before, during and after), I have asthma, chronic rhinitis, I’m allergic to animals, dust, pollen and most fruits. I have a life threatening allergy to hazelnuts, and just about every bug available in the developing world.
I’m the youngest of four, so I always used to joke to my mom that for me she had just used all the left over scrap. I loved that joke because she always tried to convince me otherwise, which is hilarious.
Most of my friends consider me a wonder of nature, and a miracle that I survive my job as an aid worker. I try to exercise, eat healthy (with the exception of my sweet tooth), vitamins, yoga, reiki, homeopathy, iridiology - you name it, I’ve tried it.
As a consequence I’ve always looked down on my body. I considered myself a strong woman trapped in this weakling body which felt like it belonged, or should belong, to someone else.
Then last summer I was down with something or other and I took the opportunity to tease my mom about the junk yard scrap. For once, instead of defending herself from this ridiculous accusation, she turned to me very seriously and said: “perhaps you were not supposed to have survived."
Let me put this in context. My mother started bleeding when she was six months pregnant with me. Not “staining” but bleeding - soaking towels wet, one after the other. Her doctor informed her she had lost her child and that she needed to come into the hospital in order to remove whatever remained in her womb.
She said no.
Which in hindsight was hugely irresponsible. She had three small children (3, 4 and 6 years old). If I’d been there, I would have dragged her to the ER myself.
But she held on and a few days later the doctor confirmed that the baby was growing, and therefore still alive. The only way they could explain what had happened was to assume there had been twins and only one had survived.
I’ve always known this story.
Because it was never proven it remains one of those half-myths, but on that summer day, the way my mom presented it to me completely altered the way that I look at my body now. I used to think it was weak and faulty, but now I think of it is a survivor. It might not be the strongest, but hell, it held on, it pulled through. And it has ever since whatever life and chance have thrown its way.