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LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Letter to My Body

Somewhat cross-posted with BlogHer, but not really...

A few weeks ago, the excellent Suzanne Reisman kicked off the Letter to My Body project at BlogHer and now I get to carry the torch forward and invite you to write a letter to your body.

The way this project works is that you will be invited today to write a letter to your body and add a link to it in the Mr. Linky (at first I wanted to ask why it was Mr. Linky and not Ms. Linky? But then I logged onto the site and realized the name of the program is really Mr. Linky) feature over on this BlogHer post (you do not need to have a BlogHer account to add your link). I will then choose several letters and pass them on to the next torch carrying BlogHer CE who will present them in a post, invite more people to write a letter to their body, and provide their own letter. Two weeks from now, the next set of letters and invitation will appear.

There is more over on this BlogHer post reflecting on the last batch of letters, but I'd really like to take a moment to focus on us. Because, damn it, it should be about us. Who the hell is more in-tune with their body than people who have a medical crisis? People barely pay attention to their body until it isn't working properly and I went from vaguely remembering from my old Women's Studies classes that cervical mucous existed to knowing my daily E2 levels. I went from wondering whether the boys at the 7-11 were checking out my ass to wondering what others were thinking about my body when I couldn't conceive.

Infertility affects how you feel as a woman.

The first call for letters received 89 submissions at last check. I'd like to double that or triple that--make the world see how women experiencing infertility (functional or biological) feel about their bodies. The love or hate they have for their uteruses, ovaries, and cervixes. BlogHer is a national forum and this campaign is gaining media attention and I would really like the greater world to hear our voices.

It is very easy to participate. Go back to your blog and write your own letter. Make it as long or as short as you need. Copy the permalink and go to this post at BlogHer. Enter your blogging name and the permanent url of your post in the special linking feature at the bottom of the post. Some of these letters will be chosen to be discussed in the next editor's post on this campaign as I did for the letters that were chosen from Suzanne's post (you'll have to go over to BlogHer to see what I mean in the middle of the post I wrote over there). You don't have to write it today, but please try to make it a post within the next week. There is no right or wrong way to do this. People have used pictures, poems, music, and words to describe how they feel about their body.

I'll start. This is my letter to my body.

Dear Body:

I think we know each other pretty well by this point; best friends more than general acquaintances. So I think I can be frank with you and not have it ruin our relationship. Since best friends let each other know when they have food stuck between their teeth or when they're acting like a raving bitch. Body, I think you know in your heart what I'm going to say. You've really let me down.

First there was the whole getting pregnant thing and then hanging on to a pregnancy beyond a few weeks thing. Then there was the premature ovarian failure and the extra short luteal phase. The clotting factors--not just the more common MTHFR which I can actually find information about but the more bizarre PA1 4G/4G allele that doesn't seem to included in any books I've found containing information on reproductive hematology. And you know I like to Google, so why would you do that to me? Then there was the whole premature delivery of the twins and the IUGR and their NICU experience. And then after all of that, you have the nerve to not produce any prolactin so I can't breastfeed. Seriously.

I think I've been a pretty good friend to you. I don't complain aloud too much about my ass or stomach--both of which bother me, but I'm picking my battles with you. I give you good food and until a few years ago, I ran every single morning. If you have a problem with me, I'd want you to tell me.

You know how some people will listen to your litany of reasons why your friend is an ass (an annoying yet lovable ass; not one of those detrimental-to-your-mental-health type women) and they give you the advice to dump them? Well, I never tell people that because I know that it takes a long time to make a good friend and that those who tell you to get rid of someone have never had a friend dig her way into their heart and settle down somewhere between ventricles and atriums. Perhaps their friendships simply aren't that deep, therefore they can see more merit in letting someone go than weathering a storm.

I don't give that advice because of my relationship with you. If I focus only on the ways you've let me down, I'm not being true to the big picture. You give my husband two boobs to fondle, you give me legs strong enough to run 5Ks, you give me thick hair and long lashes. You provided a space for my assisted-conception children to grow and let me experience--at least once--that feeling of a baby kicking inside. And you also gently reminded me later on after the kids were out that the kicks feel exactly the same if they're squirming inside of you or outside of you against your belly. And that lesson maybe wasn't one I wanted to hear yet but thank you for telling me the truth so I know when to stop pushing you to let me experience pregnancy again. And most of all, I really do love you. Even when I'm being a bitch myself and complaining non-stop about you. I don't really mean it so please never dump me. No matter what type of ass I become.

Love,
Mel

So not to turn this into a cheering war with the infertile chickies yelling out our feelings about our body louder than all the other women out there. But...I do want us to be the loudest chickies out there. I do. I want the larger world to hear the diversity in what we think and feel. So go back to your blog (oh...wait...first you could leave me a comment and let me know what you thought about my letter) and write your letter to yourself. Have a good cry. Maybe even thank yourself. It's pretty damn cathartic to think through these things.

21 comments:

Pamela Jeanne said...

We are most definitely under-represented over at BlogHer. When it comes to biology in particular, it's typically as a mommy this and as a mommy that...so I'll be sure to get busy -- and like Mel, I encourage everyone else out there to do likewise.

Megan said...

This is a wonderful idea. As soon as I heard it, my mind was flooded with things I'd like to say to my body.

I love how your letter really feels like a letter to a friend. It reminded me to not just be mad at my body, to not forget all of the good things it is and does. Oh, and the imagery of being dumped by your body, genius! It made me chuckle (although a second later it occurred to me that it was a little morbid of me to find that funny).

I will totally be writing one of my own.

Duchess said...

love, love, loved this. Such a wonderful letter.

SarahSews said...

I loved the thank you bits Mel. My letter, which I'll try to write without drowning in tears, would have to be of thanks right now.

JuliaS said...

What a great idea. Mel - loved your letter by the way.

I mr linkied with you over at blogher. :0)

Tammy's Thought Pattern said...

I mrlinkies you too. Thank you for the chance to help represent our body stories.

annacyclopedia said...

Thanks so much for this assignment. It's yet another great idea for a post - I've got about 4 other ones rolling around, but I'll try to get to this one quickly. As someone struggling with MF, my issues with my body are different, but no less real in terms of my identity as a woman in an infertile relationship. And I loved your letter - a beautiful expression of how much love can be mixed in with all the disappointment and anger and sadness. Everytime I read one of your posts, you rock me. Thanks.

Tara said...

I had to stop "working" and start writing as soon as I read this post. The whole thing started swirling around my mind.

So I wrote the letter and then sadly realized that I can't play along because I'm "invite only" (Damn you, snoopy family members!!!)

I'm going to post the letter on my blog anyways. After all, I did spent all morning composing it when I should have been working... I would hate for it to go to waste.

kml said...

What a great idea. I wrote my letter and shared. Loved your letter.

Barb said...

Very cool idea Mel. I may try that this weekend.

Also, I'm so behind lately that I didn't even see your latest BlogHer posts. Thanks for the Unsung Lullabies blog ring shout out! You rock!

FiestyKel said...

I like the idea. In fact, I often talk to my body (or my ovaries more than any other part); but its mostly to yell at them. I will ponder this and have a go over the weekend.

Isn't it pretty to think so said...

I love your letter, and the idea. Thank you for posting it. I wrote one too. hope I linked it the right way. And i hope my body reads it and follows the instructions!

Pamela Jeanne said...

Done!

JJ said...

Ya got my wheels a turnin! Loved yours--as the others I have already read. Ill see what I can come up with=)

NICU101 said...

I just found your blog today through the Best of Blogs awards site, and I love it. While my ovaries work pretty well, my uterus is another story (2 preemies). Your letter reminded me of some of my own frustrations with my body. I think I'll be writing too.
-Kristie

Lori said...

This part of your letter --

"the kicks feel exactly the same if they're squirming inside of you or outside of you against your belly."

-- made me quite joyful.

I love this campaign.

Lori said...

Oh. I forgot to say I posted my own at http://weebleswobblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/dear-body-all-10-trillion-cells-of-you.html

and I did the linky thingy.

Meghan said...

Love your letter. Just wrote my own and will add over at Blogher. (just going to post the link here too in case I have technical difficulties...they tend to follow me)

http://alittlesweetness.blogspot.com/2008/03/note-to-self.html

Julia said...

Nice letter. It's interesting that you seem to never have entered into the antagonistic relationship with your body. Is it because you made close friends before it ever surprised you in a bad way?

I am going to skip this assignment, I think, because I wrote something very similar, although not in the form of a letter last spring for the fearless thing from MotherTalk. You are right-- it's a good thing to think about on occasion.

luna said...

love your letter. I just posted mine at: http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/letter-to-my-body/

better late than never, right?

~luna

Sassy said...

I've just finally done this and I wanted to thank you for prompting me to do this. It's not great, it wasn't fun to write but I am very grateful for the insight it's given me. That's something I've been lacking lately.