I am now 25 weeks pregnant and for the most part I’ve been feeling pretty good about my changing body. Given my history of eating disorders and damaging thought patterns, pregnancy is always a bit of a challenge. Once you get as far along as I am you’re hungry a lot and the weight really does start to pile on. As it’s my third pregnancy I have quite a pronounced bump and have done for a while now. I also, naturally carry my weight on my bum and thighs so that thigh gap has most definitely disappeared and I am thoroughly cushioned for sitting on hard floors.
Something happened the other day though that threw me for a few days. Someone said in passing ‘wow, you’re getting big now’. That’s it, that’s all they said and of course they meant no harm. They were just commenting that my bump is really starting to show which my rational brain knows is a good thing. It means the baby is growing well. However my brain is not always a rational place. This one, quick comment quietly triggered me. I didn’t notice it at the time but over the course of the next few hours and into the following day, those words ‘you’re getting big’ needled away at me. Like a little worm burrowing underground, those words burrowed through my thoughts and then sat like a fermenting fish, slowly rotting as I continued to go about my day.
The big problem that comes from this is that the rotten thought starts to invade my other thoughts. Again, it’s silent in its infection so I don’t connect my sudden irritability and impatience with the passing comment made to me a day before. I start to hate myself, I can feel the hate. Like an oozing slime rising inside.
Later that day I had to attend a picnic at Rufus’s school and I began to cry at the thought of being seen by others and even then the connection was not made. I just assumed I was hormonal, tired, too hot. I rang Nick for support, but he was a work and understandably distracted, plus to be honest, there is not much he could have said that would have helped. At the point my brain is not listening. I hear his words of support but the toxic infection is too strong to allow their medicine to take affect.
Over the course of the next 24 hours my mood continues to deteriorate. I absolute lose my cool with the kids when at bedtime Rufus literally pulls the curtains (pole and all) down from the wall. The level of stress that my body is feeling means I am unable to deal with the situation at all. I fall apart and unfortunately the kids get the full brunt of my anger.
The following morning has me waking up steaming. I am frustrated, quick to anger and my mind is fogged up. This is not a new sensation to me, it’s a common one. My mind fogs up when it’s processing something that is bothering me, plaguing me. It most notably happens when I haven’t spoken properly about the thing which is haunting me and that is exactly what was happening here. Thankfully I married a very observant man who knows me all too well. Eventually, after I spend a good hour raging about the house Nick confronts me. It’s not aggressive, it’s kind but assertive. ‘Jen you’ve got to stop.’
As is the usual way I spend much of the beginning part of the conversation talking about all the superficial things that are bothering me. The heat, the kids’ demands, the state of the house etc etc. Eventually though, the truth comes out. I’m feeling hideous. I feel whale like, I am fat, I am disgusting and so on. Nick doesn’t disagree, he just listens. And then the tears begin to flow. The tension in my chest that has been there for days bursts like a water balloon and the tears start to wash away the poison in my mind.
Afterwards, it’s not as though I suddenly love everything about my body but the tension is gone. I’m calm again. Rationality starts to reign again. I am able to appreciate myself and my body for what it is. I’m not back to my normal self again. I’m still resistant to being around other people as I don’t want to see their judgement of me but as the hours go by and I get some time to myself (a quick Ikea trip), my confidence begins to come back.
I don’t know why my mind works this way, I’m disappointed that I can be so controlled by such a seemingly small thing, insignificant thing but I am also grateful that I have someone in my life who can bring me back to me.
I’d love to know that I’m not alone in the effects of these toxic thoughts, that others can sympathise and understand. How do you deal with the infectious worms?
For now I will continue to try to live inside my funny little mind.