Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Body Issues

My senior year in high school, I took an AP Literature/Composition class. For those of you not familiar with these courses, it's a way for high school students to receive college credit without every having to leave the comfort of their surroundings. One of the assignments was to dissect a poem, analyzing the writers intention and the pattern.

At the tender age of 17 yrs, I picked Andrew Marvell's "A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body."

By A. Marvell
Soul.                                                               Body.
O, WHO shall from this dungeon raise          O, who shall me deliver whole,
A soul enslaved so many ways?                     From bonds of this tyrannic soul?
With bolts of bones, that fettered stands         Which, stretched upright, impales me so
In feet, and manacled in hands;                       That mine own precipice I go;
Here blinded with an eye, and there                And warms and moves this needless frame,
Deaf with the drumming of an ear;                 (A fever could but do the same),
A soul hung up, as 'twere, in chains                And, wanting where its spite to try,
Of nerves, and arteries, and veins;                   Has made me live to let me die
Tortured, besides each other part,                    A body that could never rest,
In a vain head, and double heart?                     Since this ill spirit it possessed.

Soul.                                                               Body.
What magic could me thus confine                But Physic yet could never reach
Within another's grief to pine?                       The maladies thou me dost teach;
Where, whatsoever it complain,                     Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain;                     And then the palsy shakes of fear;
And all my care itself employs,                      The pestilence of love does heat,
That to preserve which me destroys;              Or hatred's hidden ulcer eat;
Constrained not only to endure                       Joy's cheerful madness does perplex,
Diseases, but, what's worse, the cure;             Or sorrow's other madness vex;
And, ready oft the port to gain,                       Which knowledge forces me to know,
Am shipwrecked into health again.                 And memory will not forego;
                                                                         What but a soul could have the wit
                                                                          To build me up for sin so fit?
                                                                          So architects do square and hew
                                                                          Green trees that in the forest grew.

At the time, though the poem fascinated me, I didn't understand it. I misinterpreted it, trying to make it about something it wasn't. And for years, though I remembered it, I was at a loss for it's meaning.

After 2.5 yrs of living with infertility and living through two miscarriages, I think I'm finally beginning to understand Mr Marvell's message.

Lossing this pregnancy has broken me. It's left me in doubt and frightened to move forward. But most of all, I've found that I'm angry. Angry with many things. But mainly, angry with my body. I'm angry that it has let me down, let Grey down and is not doing what it was designed for. I'm angry that it failed my children, not providing the home they needed to be able to grow and come into the world.

The thing is, I know if I'm going to move forward I have to confront this anger. I have to learn to trust my body again. So, this past week has been spent with me trying to resolve these issues by having a dialogue with my own body.

So far, I haven't been successful.

Unlike other situations where I would have nursed my body back to health, I instead spent this time nursing my soul. My worked longer hours to distract myself, ignoring my body's request for water and food. I started running again, despite the cramps. And when I plead with my body for some relief from the bleeding, promising it relaxation and warmth, it hit back with uterine pain and more spotting.

The reality is, my body and I are currently in dangerous territory. If we could be physically separated, we'd be sleeping in separate rooms and talking with divorce lawyers. And I'm at a loss for how to fix this.

Because I want to be able to experience pregnancy, to bear Grey's child. I want the ability to be a vessel for life. But I think my body has other plans.


  1. That's an amazing poem... and the hardest part of loss and infertility is how to balance emotions and peace with ourselves and our body, while there is such a division b/n what we hope.want and what is actually happened. Very confronted... and anger is understandable. I've felt angry and I'm sure others have too... you're not alone. I've found yoga to be a way to true making peace with my body again. Love to you always xoxo

  2. (hug). I had to smile at your wanting to sleep in different rooms and possibly divorce your body. Oh, I can relate. I find anger to be at least less miserable than being horribly sad...I feel like it can be channeled into action or something.

    I'm holding onto hope for you that your body will behave itself soon and carry a child.

  3. Very beautiful and moving Christy. I am holding the hope in my heart that you will become pregnant. You are determined and determination takes you to many places.

  4. Don't be angry at your body. About 75% of miscarriages like these are because of embryo issues, not because your body is failing them. While your egg and your husband's sperm may be to blame together, your body is giving them the best chance it can...most likely. I spend a lot of time being angry at my husband's sperm.

  5. I haven't given up on your body, yet!!!
    I loved your poem - it gave me goose bumps.
    Your strength in this weak time speaks volumes.

    I can totally relate to wanting to divorce your body, I felt the exact same after our ectopic pregnancy last year. It felt like the meanest cruelest joke that could have ever been played on someone. Not to mention it all happened on our Anniversary.
    And then my body gave me the silent treatment.

    Our bodies are so finicky!
    But I know and believe in my heart of hearts that you will be successful in this journey!

    Sending you tons of hugs!

  6. I can't stop thinking about your post. I don't have my thoughts together yet, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, and I'm thinking of you. Take care!

  7. We are of one mind. I have been dealing with this for almost 6 months. I am getting better at giving myself a break and trying to let the hope back in, but it's hard. I don't want to be let down again. I don't want to let my hubby down.
    Sometimes I feel like I am setting myself up...but I know I'm not done trying. I think of you often and wish I could help. The only thing I can offer is support and an understanding ear.

  8. Take all the time you need to grieve but don't beat yourself up about the loss.

  9. I completely understand how you feel. It feels like our bodies have betrayed us and sometimes dissociating from our bodies is the only way to preserve our sanities. Mody is separate from me. Please take care of all of you. You deserve it and need it to be strong again for the next steps. Here with you the whole way. *hugs*

  10. What can I tell you except "I know, I've been there, I still am there, and it sucks"
    When I beat up on my body Shmerson reminds me of everything it has done right. As much as it's done wrong, it still does some things right, and Shmerson makes me thank it for those things. It's not a solution, but it does help. Try to take care of yourself, and your body. It's a cliche but it's true: It's the only one we have.
    Much love!

  11. They say 3rd time is a charm right?!?!? Maybe I'm just saying that to make myself feel more hopeful. I don't know what to say. I've totally been where you are. I was so angry at my body when I lost my second pregnancy. So furious that I would go through that kind of pain again. However, you eventually find away to move past that anger. Working out did it for me and if you are running, then it looks like you are using that outlet too. Good luck as you muddle through this healing journey. *hugs*


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