Saturday, 5 January 2013
The Vanity Project
I've dealt with body images issues for most of my life, as do many with double X chromosome syndrome. In my early adolescence, I was starting to pick up the description of being "big boned". Fortunately, I was directed toward sports and not only added muscle tone to my frame, but I gained the self esteem and confidence to accept the way I looked. Nearly a decade later when I was in my mid twenties and was working in a hospital ward, I would sometimes hide in the locker room when I needed a quiet space to do my charting. The locker room shared a wall with the nurse's break room and one day I overheard a group of nurses discussing what parts they would chose among their colleagues if they were to design an ideal body type. To my surprise, they collectively decided that they would want my legs on this hypothetical woman. Once I knew that someone else wanted what I had, I felt that I had permission to appreciate and actually be happy with my own body. As I wasn't interested in having children at that time in my life, preserving the body that I had was additional motivation not to become pregnant. I have a colleague, who is a certified personal trainer for pregnant and postpartum women, and I asked her what to expect if I ever had a baby. "Well," she told me, "You'll get your figure back, but be prepared that your body will go through major changes" I took a minute to process her words. So I'll look okay in clothes, but be wrecked naked? "Yep, that's pretty sums it up" she confirmed. I resented Mother Nature for placing such an unfair burden on women. If it's not hard enough to endure the physical effects during the nine month gestational period, why must women bear scars and blemishes after the baby is born? Not to mention society makes women feel pressured to get that figure back right away, while mastering motherhood and returning to work. However, as I turned 35 and the ovaries were kicking up my maternal desires, I started developing crow's feet around my eyes and the waistline wasn't as forgiving if I missed a workout. Whether I had a baby or not, I was going to lose my attractiveness and flattering figure. The more I came around to the idea of wanting a baby and wanting to be a mother, it all seemed less of a sacrifice. That and I also accepted the notion that there is no shame in plastic surgery. Just days before I got my BFP, I noted I was at the lowest weight I had been at in years. I felt happy with the way that I looked, and it was not because anyone else was feeding me any compliments. 'Now, watch I'll get pregnant' I thought to myself. Believe me, I wasn't disappointed in the least and if I were still pregnant, I wouldn't care what number is on the scale. However, a few weeks after my miscarriage and just before New Year's, I was at work and I overheard a colleague say "I wish I could rock a dress like Jane..." Suddenly, I had the motivation to avoid the cookies in the break room. As 2013 began, I resolved to be committed to good eating and exercising habits, primarily for health reasons, but with a dash of vanity. As long as this body is bumpless, I'm going to flaunt it.