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Bodies Change

Bodies change—it’s what they do.

 

Hormones wax and wane throughout a lifetime demanding our bodies develop and evolve. It’s natural and normal. A body is not meant to stay the same, especially during and after the monumental task of growing a baby. 


I knew this before having babies. My history of disordered eating forced me to confront these potential changes. Through counseling, lots of reading, and learning from experts, I felt mentally prepared for the weight fluctuations. It was still a struggle, but I was ready for the stretch marks. I was ready to accept that my favorite clothes pre-baby might not fit post-baby.

 

I wasn’t prepared for my hands to change.


Once upon a time, my fingers were beautifully delicate and slim. Even when I hated the rest of my body, I loved my hands. Now, three babies later, they're different.

 

With each pregnancy, my hands puffed up. Around the third trimester, I would panic that my rings were stuck. After a fight, I would maneuver them off and place them in a safe spot. Then a few months postpartum, the swelling would decrease and the rings would slide easily back into place.

 

But after my third kiddo, putting my rings back on was difficult. It took effort to force them over my knuckle. The rings were too tight and uncomfortable around my finger. I left them, hoping that with time they would feel normal again. But time didn’t help.

 

Then one night, I had terrible stomach cramps. I blamed something I ate. I tossed about in my bed miserable as my husband did bedtime with the boys. Eventually, I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning the cramps were less intense, but as a nurse, I was curious. My intuition compelled me to feel around on my abdomen.

 

I pressed down on the lower right part of my belly and then let go. When I released pressure, I felt a sharp pain. Yikes. (This is known in the medical world as “rebound tenderness” and is a classic sign of appendicitis). I went to urgent care and then the hospital and was headed to surgery that afternoon.

 

As I waited on a stretcher in a small, curtained room, the pre-op nurse asked me to remove my rings. I tried and I tried and I tried. She brought me lotion. I tried some more. I worried we might have to cut them off.

 

I was overwhelmed by shame. Bodies change. I know that… and yet… I felt disgusting and embarrassed. My eating disorder brain was ready to go. It used my large fingers to make me feel like a complete failure. The fatphobic lie that big is bad tormented me.


This change felt like too much. My body was too much.

 

Eventually, I wrestled the rings painfully over my knuckles and passed them to my husband for safekeeping.

 

After surgery, I didn’t dare put them back on. I was terrified.

 

Body-positive social media often talks about the importance of letting go of clothes that are too small. They encourage finding clothes that fit and feel comfortable. To embrace your current body and not torture yourself by holding onto old clothes.

 

But what about rings? Letting go and buying new rings isn’t a viable option.


While rings can be professionally altered, it isn’t cheap. My need to have them re-sized felt like a failure. Silencing that inner critic and accepting the changes took time and effort. It took me over a year to build up the courage to go to a jeweler.

 

And I’m so grateful that I did. My rings fit comfortably as I type these words. I enjoy seeing the shiny metal on my fingers, a sparkling reminder of love.


Now, they are a good reminder of something else too.

 

Growth.


I have grown in many ways since my wedding and I continue to grow.

 

And so does my body. It can be a difficult process, but I’m working to love and accept my body, and all its changes.

 

Bodies change—it’s what they do.




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