Babies love fat: Infertility and body image

A friend of mine, who has also struggled with infertility, and I used to have a standing joke with each other–that babies love fat. With all of the hormonal fluctuations, lethargic metabolism, and maxed out Adrenal function that has been thrown into “survival mode,” our bodies were no longer those of our svelte 20-year-old selves.

Babies love fat.

For a few years I felt angry at those extra inches, I disdained the jeans that no longer fit. The ones that now made me look like a ten pound sausage in a five pound package.

When did this happen? When did I start looking at myself in the mirror and so harshly judging the image that stared back? Just where did that fat come from?

Well, every woman struggling with infertility knows just the time. It was as soon as the baby quest began and we unknowingly signed up for the “hormones gone wild” reality TV show.

While finally taking a long overdue, by about three years, vacation away to do nothing but completely relax, I got a gleam of insight, and a change to my perspective. I was reading “The Help” and one of the main characters was “talking” about how babies love fat. They love to snuggle into it, to be coddled by it, to be embraced in the warmth of a softer body–devoid of the hard, boney edges of youth.

And just then I began to realize that yes, babies do like fat.

Our society has too long worshiped a woman who is curve-less; a woman who is no longer soft around the edges, but who is driven to meet an expectation that her biology is fighting tooth and nail against. Why? Well, because although babies love fat, we do not.

So while I still am not completely pleased with what my body has become, I have found gratitude for its biological wisdom.

And yes, I do still plan to work my way back up to running three miles at least three times a week again. I will however do so slowly, listening to my body that has been so badly abused these last years.

Yet at the same time I will also learn to love the “me” in the mirror, the one who nature has shaped and molded to comfort and soothe a tiny person longing for warmth, softness, and some cushion. Because babies love fat, they just do.

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7 comments

  1. That’s really interesting. Sounds like an interesting book. Two years ago when I went for my second IUI I had spent the previous six months on a strict fertility diet and I lost so much weight I was skinny. The next year when I relaxed a bit more I got a better result. I think it is all about balance, because you still need to eat right, but just not be so hard on yourself..

    1. I must admit that I’m a little jealous Heather 🙂 I gave up gluten, sugar, alchohol, dairy, caffeine, and a number of other things and didn’t lose one single pound, not one. My body was not going to give it up.

      Luckily I have a wonderful doctor who helped me to see that this response was just my body’s way of trying to protect me because extreme stress had completely wiped out my Adrenals–my body thought I was fighting lions every day of my life.

      Regardless of the logic, it was a tough pill to swallow. I suppose it was also a wake up call for the deep need to take much better care of myself so that I can heal. A healing that will take quite a bit of time to undo all of the damage. And so, I make friends with what is.

  2. It seems this is something personal what works or not. With my first IVF I did a lot of things ‘right’, eating more greens, had acupuncture, no coffee, less sugar and so on.. didn’t work. Next time I was more laid back and didn’t even have acupuncture anymore.. that time it did work, although we only came half way through but still.

    I’m glad to see that you have found more acceptance with your body and go gentle with yourself. It releases a lot of pressure and thus give place for being more relaxed instead. Maybe that’s the key after all.

    1. Thank you marwil. Yes sometimes I think the more we try to do everything “right,” the more stressed we become, and the less successful. I am glad to get to a place where I can make peace with what my body has done to try to re-balance and protect me when I’m all off kilter.

  3. The timing of this is funny since I just had breakfast with a health expert woman that told me (whether for baby making purposes or not) that I needed more animal fat in my diet! That good animal fat and protein is what nourishes our bodies. So, the timing of reading this too is good confirmation! So, I guess I’m off to get some raw, whole milk, and even some grain-fed liver… whew! What a project! 🙂 But, I love a good challenge.

    1. Glad you’re up for the challenge Elizabeth! My parents used to give me liver as a kid–definitely supposed to be good for you, though it’s not one thing I would put high on my shopping list 🙂

  4. […] have learned to make peace with my body, because Babies Love Fat. Though that peace was hard won, and I still find myself focused on losing (in a healthy way) just […]

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