Before you read any farther, please read this post by Amy over at Chapters. It will make everything I write in this post make more sense.
I started following this blog just a couple of weeks ago thanks to blog surfing and finding her “Curl Down Vlog.” It got me hooked because she posts about everything from her hair curling techniques to her faith in God to the physical fitness company (FitLab) that she and her husband are opening. I just liked the variety and it was refreshing to read about her passion for other things in life that had nothing to do with Infertility.
Then she wrote the post I linked you to above. I honestly hadn’t read her back story and had no idea she was a fellow Infertile. It saddened me to realize that yet another person I’ve found myself connected to also struggles with this… then I realized that I had something to learn from her as well. She hasn’t given up on her dream of a child, but she’s also decided to live in the here and now. To work on her job, her happiness, her marriage, her health… all of it, with or without a child, and that’s a powerful decision to make.
For me, Infertility and bulimia have become strongly related abusive relationships within myself. The PCOS, the fertility meds… everything conspires against me it seems, and weight ends up being a constant struggle thanks to the hormonal fluctuations. Then, I can’t control the Infertility, so I want to control the weight, but the emotional roller coaster leads me to make bad decisions after good decisions and back again…
Why can’t I stop this roller coaster?
I go through phases where all I can think about is how to conceive, what I can do to try to achieve that goal, what I could change about my life to make it happen. I eat (almost) perfectly, I exercise daily, I cut back on drinking – I try to make myself the perfect vessel for a pregnancy. That’s how I managed to lose 20# this past year the healthy way. I got to the point that I just wanted to lose 10# more, and I started through the phase where I try to remind myself to breathe and enjoy the journey. To not stress out that it hadn’t happened yet. I try to take a step back, relax, and focus on other things. Sadly, sometimes that falters into me throwing caution to the wind. Drinking too much. Eating too much. Not exercising enough. Pretending that I don’t care when or if I get pregnant. Then I freak out, and BAM…at least 5# are back, and I repeat the cycle.
For me, food was never an issue until I hit 21. Since then, I think it will always be an issue in the background of my life. I honestly have plenty of months where I’m fine… but then there’s always a freak out moment where I decide to control everything and get myself back on track…. and for the most part it works and I get on the healthy train again. There there’s the other side of “for the most part.” The side where I can easily drop back into destructive bulimic type thought processes. It’s scary to me how easy that is to do – and I really don’t want that to be something I struggle with for my whole life or that a daughter of my own might struggle with some day.
Infertility is in its essence an abusive relationship that I am a part of, and it has changed me in ways that I never thought possible.
It has given me empathy that I never knew existed.
It will forever make me more cautious about asking an incredibly personal question like “when are you going to have kids?”
It has caused me to feel like my body has failed me. That I’ve failed my husband.
It has allowed me to reach out to others and realize that I’m not the only one to feel like this. That hurts, but that helps.
It has allowed me to realize that my husband loves me for me, not for the possible children I could bear him.
It has allowed me to realize that things won’t always happen on my own terms & timelines.
It has caused me to curse God, to cry to God, and to ultimately, have a renewed faith in God.
It has caused awful tension in my marriage, but it has allowed us to work through some incredibly tough emotions together and come out stronger on the other side.
My hope is to achieve the same with my eating. To come out stronger on the other side. To be a better person because of it. To be more mindful of my emotions and how I’m dealing with them. To have faith that I am strong enough to make it through. To lean on my husband for support when he offers it (like he did this morning) – even if I’m not in the right frame of mind to want it or accept it at that point.
Today I bought my first 2011 calendar. It’s made by fellow Bloggers, and all proceeds will be donated to the National Eating Disorder Association.
The blogging community has done so much for me this past year, and I’m so excited to be supporting a project like this – put together by fellow bloggers who all care, even when they don’t have to.
Check it out! The Blogger Body Calendar – 2011
In the meantime, I’m going to work on getting back to the “Moderation in All Things” mantra that my Mom is always preaching to me and work on getting out of these abusive relationships, once and for all.
What a powerful post, Josey. As someone who's struggled with body image issues in the past, I can say that there is another side.
Josey, your strength really shines through in this post. Half the battle is admitting it and knowing what needs to be changed. Unfortunately, we have this issue in common as well. I haven't 'come out' to many people (DH included) but have been living healthier since Feb of this year. Would love to talk more about it if you need to.
Thanks @barrenblogger… and congrats on your BFP! Praying for you.@Amanda – you should email me sometime (your email is blocked on your blogger profile so I couldn't respond directly to your comment). My husband doesn't know I still randomly struggle with any of this… just that I did in college 7 years ago, so I'm not exactly "out of the closet" with him either. He can just tell when I'm feeling down and out about my food & lifestyle choices, and when he tries to help, depending on my mood, he often gets the short end of the stick. Poor guy. Thank goodness he loves me, through thick and thin. 🙂 Congrats to you on sticking to a healthier way of living since Feb – that's wonderful. It's hard, but rewarding when you realize you CAN overcome it, especially for something as important as TTC!
I often feel like it's not my place to comment here, but I have to tell you how amazing it is for you to share so openly and honestly. Know that even us not-often commenters are listening and I'm sure a ton more who have never commented anything. It's so important that you are sharing what you are. Thank you.
Wow and I just read that your mom reads this blog. You really are brave! 🙂
You are so courageous to have such an honest post. Kudos to you for being so truthful with your words. Infertility sure does put a lot of pressure on us women to have everything about our bodies just right in order to carry a child. I think your mom is on to something…moderation is not always easy to accomplish but is a simple concept. This post has encouraged me to try to do the same.
Love you Josey!
@Sheelah – never feel like it isn't "your place" to comment on my blog. You are one of the very first people I followed in blogger land, and just b/c you didn't TTC for as long and you got your blessed Ladybug, I would never think differently of you! PS – My Mom has known the last couple of years that I've struggled with this off and on for 8 years. It's honestly usually less than more, but every once in awhile I can see myself getting on a bad path and I need to snap myself out of it. Mom is great about supporting me, no matter what. @Sara – I'm glad I could inspire or encourage you in some way or another! It's a hard, multi-faceted journey we're on…. @Kelly – thanks. 🙂 Love you too. Your writing is truly inspirational to me!
You are dead on with what IF has done to you – I feel the same way. I totally need to focus on the here and now more because I can feel myself slipping away into that dark place of constant doom and I don't want to get there!! And a secret of mine…I dealt with anorexia in high school being a cheerleader so I know where you're coming from on that front too. Good for you for having the courage to get out of these abusive relationships!
Wonderful post. Very inspiring and I love how much you share….it does encourage others and hopefully it will encourage you too!
You are so strong, Jo, you really are. I know I've said it before, but I admire your down to earth openness SO much.xo
This is such a raw post, kudos to you. I love that you put yourself out there. I know it helps me to open up and I can't imagine how many others it is touching. You are a wonderful person Josey and I know wonderful things are in store for you. Until then your right, you just have to keep living for the now.
@Steph – I'm sorry to hear you too have struggled with this. It sucks that IF brings back some of those old struggles… as if we're not struggling with enough already! Thanks to everyone for your support in this… I didn't really think about it until after I posted it how personal it was and how it would affect others reading it. It's definitely easier to write about when I feel like very few "real life" friends/family read this…though now that I say that, I realize there's at least six of you out there. Hm… promise not to judge me for my issues? 🙂
Josey-Thanks for your post. I have also dealt with eating/exercising roller coasters since I was about 21 years old. I am an emotional eater, and thus packed on about 50 lbs. since high school. It is hard finding a balance, instead wanting to be super strict and lose the weight quick, or faltering and eating endlessly/not exercising. I pray you will find the healthy balance and instead of beating yourself up for your slips, realize your strength for picking yourself back up. You are not alone.