My relationship with my body is complex. It has been my entire life. Learning to love and accept this vessel for what it is has been a mountain of work.
Last year, I felt like I reached a peak. I felt the best I ever remember feeling in my adult life. My body was strong, lean, full of energy, and thriving.
As I rounded the winter into spring having tried to homeschool the kids for 6 months, getting the "vid", and navigating other changes, my physical body was struggling.
I went from feeling the best ever to feeling, well, pretty shitty. I lost energy and strength, and I gained weight that persisted.
In February, I had my copper IUD removed (the reasons for that are an entirely different post). After that, coincidentally or not, things went from bad to worse.
My periods were the worst they have ever been, some so bad that I was legitimately concerned about bleeding to death. I lost iron stores I didn't have, my physical energy levels continued to suffer, and the weight, swelling, and inflammation increased.
I knew something was wrong. My body was telling me. Screaming at me. Even though I was coming through a cycle of sickness, stress, and less movement, I knew there was more to it.
Among other things, I went to see a gynecologist and she told me that there was nothing wrong with me. Everything that I was describing was to be expected for my age and she would blindly prescribe me birth control hormones without any testing or diagnostics.
I kindly said no thank you and began working with a new naturopath that I had been pulled toward through this process. I paid for tests, traveled to get said tests, and lo and behold, I was right. Things were off. Some things were really off. My thyroid, hormones, and iron levels were problematic.
This whole process was a turning point for me. Many times in the past, I have ignored my body. Repeated acts of self-betrayal led me not to trust myself. And this experience felt like a complete turning of the tables.
Rather than pushing through and just "exercising more, eating better, and taking birth control," the prescription so many perimenopausal women are given, I persisted in the face of not being heard. In the face of medical gaslighting. I was my own advocate, I persisted when I was being pushed against, and I listened to my body, unwilling to take no for an answer.
This was a gamechanger in terms of trusting myself. And not only trusting myself, but loving my body.
Despite a rainbow of emotions through this whole experience, it served as a reminder that radically accepting myself and loving my body aren't just reserved for when I'm thriving. The real work and win is being able to do these things when I'm struggling too.
Now I'm coming through the other side, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm certainly not fully back physically, but I can feel changes and I know that I'm on the path. And that in itself feels great.
It's so important that we listen to our bodies. That we trust and love ourselves. We need to be our own advocates for our wellness, whatever that looks like, and not be afraid to step outside of traditional systems and constructs to receive the answers and support we need.
Doing exactly that may be your gamechanger too.