This past week was rough, if I'm being honest. There was a lot of sadness in the world that was weighing heavy on my heart. My feelings got hurt and I was hanging on to some negative stuff a bit too long and with too tight of a grip. One kid came home from school with pinkeye and another with a terrible cold and within 24 hours it had spread through the entire house. We all ended up crabby and achy, and stuck inside our small home filled to the brim with Christmas crap for three solid days. The cabin fever and short fuses were visible, mainly from this mom who was so goddamn tired of entertaining bored daughters and breaking up arguments about who got the biggest candy cane and constantly keeping the baby from pulling the kitten up by her tail.
Since I was officially diagnosed with perimenopause last spring, my body has been doing some funky shit and putting me through the wringer. From morning sickness nausea to gingivitis, horrible heartburn to my hair falling out in clumps, it isn't pretty. A routine yearly well-woman checkup at my doctor last week ended with a sudden surgical procedure to repair a significant tear that was somehow missed during/after Arlo's birth. Yes, a birth that happened nearly two years ago and a tear that had healed in a large growth of scar tissue that had to be CUT OFF MY VULVA, in which afterward my vagina had to be stuffed with gauze for several hours. To add insult to injury, I COULDN'T HAVE SEX FOR A WEEK.
While I realized at a young age that my body was a political vessel I could use for my social activism and art, it was becoming a mother that really changed my relationship to myself and helped launch me on my body positive journey. The physical changes that come with pregnancy and motherhood are extreme - from stretch marks, swollen-turned-sagging breasts, dry skin, hormonal breakouts, lush hair and losing hair, extreme weight gain and loss, backaches, heartburn, pelvis bones shifting, and your heart growing too big to be contained. Not to mention the emotional and mental roller coaster of joy, fear, exhaustion, worry, excitement, concern, ignorance, and love. Creating and growing three babies was miraculous and significant in my life journey, as was miscarrying two more. Becoming a mother really solidified for me that I wanted to choose life - and live the best and happiest version of one starting right now. All my perceived imperfections are like a roadmap to this journey of mine and I love this body and the stories it tells. Even if those stories include dried snot stains on my ragged pjs and messy bathrooms with tampon boxes and bottles of bubbles and clothes tossed on the floor and a naked toddler hiding behind my thick legs that carried him into this world.