A year ago, I wrote a post about IVF. We had gone through a failed round and I wanted to share our experience. At the time, I thought I could just jump back on that wagon and try again. Unfortunately, life didn’t work out that way.
One thing that stuck with me post-IVF was a disconnect with my body that I had never experienced before. The bloating I experienced after the egg-retrieval, coupled with hormones that made my appetite crazy (not to mention my mood), culminated in a body that I didn’t recognize. I was furious. Not only did we not get any embryos, we spent thousands of dollars, and worse, I was back to a body I had worked so hard to change after Sonya was born.
Every morning, I would push Sonya to school in her stroller. A 20 block hike down West End Avenue. Half of which is uphill. I would think about food. After drop-off, I would go to a yoga or pilates class. Drink loads of coffee (to quell the appetite), and then pick Sonya back up and walk her home. By 2 p.m., I was literally starving. I remember crying on that hike back up hill because I was so frustrated and tired and hungry. Sonya would be kicking in the stroller because she wanted to go to the park, or walk alongside me. I was so fixated on getting home so that I could eat, that I kept on pushing. Ignoring her requests.
I quickly lost the weight. I also lost my period and my desire for life. I lost precious time I could have used enjoying Sonya and Yan’s company.
Despite being born with hearing loss, Sonya hears just fine with her CIs. She is also extremely observant. “I will eat just one more cracker,” she would declare, her eyes fixated on me for approval. How devastating to hear this! But it also was a wake-up call.
My behavior was not serving anyone. Not myself, not Yan and certainly not Sonya.
Thank goodness, I have rebounded. I gained the weight back and I also regained my happiness. I started to listen to my body instead of the crazy and destructive voices that seemed to be real, but were in fact, just thoughts.
Sonya recently asked me why my belly was so big after eating dinner. “Do you have a baby in there, mama?” she asked.
“I have a food baby!” I told her, as brightly as I could. “And I am going to rub it and kiss it.” I kissed my fingers and rubbed my belly. “My food baby helps me be strong! It gives me energy so I can run and play with you!”
“Mama, I have a food baby too! See?” Sonya lifted her shirt to show me her little tummy. We rubbed and kissed our bellies together.
In the coming weeks, I will start another round of IVF. I think knowing how I react to this treatment will be helpful. I am also hopeful that this time, it works. In the meantime, I will continue to listen to and feed my body; observe the thoughts that fill my head; and be mindful of the words that come out of my mouth. It’s not just me who is hearing them.