3 Feb 2018 – The Kindest Thing

The Kindest Thing (Write Your Grief) Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail, Kapaa, Kaua’i, Hawai’i (Miranda Hernandez)

What is the kindest thing that you could do to yourself? Growing up, I never understood this common obsession with the shape of one’s body. I’ve even always been a little bit overweight, but this was never something that bothered me. I never felt like less of a person because I wasn’t a size 2.

The Kindest Thing I Could Do for Me

Stretch marks are a badge of honor. I never cared that I gained so much weight. I never cared when they told me I waddled. I was building a human. The weight was just part of it.

Did you know, though, that after a woman gives birth, she still looks like she’s a little bit pregnant for pretty much the rest of her life? And I think that, had he lived, I would have carried that body with pride. I would have continued to wear the maternity clothes. I would have smiled at the gardener when she asked when I was due. I have always wanted to treat people with grace. I wish grace would find me.

But today, when I’m renting a storage room, and the manager asks if I should be lifting things in my condition, I want to smack him. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that was rude? It was also rude in the hardware store when another customer asked, at seven months, if I was having triplets, but somehow this time is more painful. I must somehow think people should know when their comments will be hurtful, though of course most people don’t aim to be.

When I got home from the hospital, I couldn’t stand the thought of anyone asking about my child. He was my story to tell. I didn’t owe him to anyone. But society does not recognize a mother’s autonomy. So I guess this was my first introduction to the fact that even my own story doesn’t belong to me.

I still try to hide, today, not from my son’s death, but from nosy prying faces. At first, I wore baggy clothing. I told my sister I would rather people thought I was fat than have to answer their questions. Innocent questions can be the most painful.

I realized recently another way I’m hiding. I also hide from the people who never knew. From an old supervisor with whom I had lost touch, who hadn’t been on Facebook, who the old me would have looked up the last time I was in town. I didn’t do that because I couldn’t handle telling him. Not only that I have a son, but that my son had died. And we talk about polite conversation, but I know that only one of those statements would have been welcome, and since I can’t separate them, I separate from people instead.

I am probably one of those ghosting stories people talk about on social media. I am probably that person who just disappeared, and people are wondering, “What happened? What did I do wrong?” And the answer is, “Through no fault of your own, you simply weren’t present.” The answer is, “Your old friend is dead. I’m sorry, but there was no funeral.”

I push myself to lose weight today for a few reasons. What’s relevant to this discussion is that I can’t handle that I still look pregnant. Not because I hate my body, but because I am so tired of the conversations. It’s none of your business! I don’t owe you anything. But I keep pushing myself for you, and you will never know it. You will never know because my greatest wish is just to hide.

And when I have achieved this, it will have become the kindest thing I could do for me.

Be the kindest for yourself too.

Related Posts:

Life as a Grieving Mother: Physical Body After Loss
Topics Page: People & Relationships
Topics Page: Postpartum Body After Loss
Write Your Grief: A Letter to My Belly
Miranda’s Blog: Pre-Pregnancy Jeans

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