Jared said it was probably after Porter was born. I think he’s wrong– I think it all started happening earlier than that. I think it happened after the miscarriage.
I was really only trying to think back about the when and why of that whole situation because I think it was about that time that I stopped caring about myself. I cut my hair off. I stopped doing my daily yoga. I stopped thinking it was worth taking care of myself.
I think I know why. I think I didn’t start thinking of myself as defective until that miscarriage. And so much has happened since then that, when taken in isolation I could maybe be shaken off. But when they all pile up inside my mind, there’s so much that tells my vulnerable brain– tells my brain in error– that I’m defective.
I’m not defective. I know that now. I’m human.
It was relatively little things, like yoga. Like my religious use of lotion. Like drinking absurd amounts of water. Like that yogurt smoothie for breakfast and nothing else. Like watching what I ate. Like sucking my stomach in (what little stomach I had then). Like tending to my feet to make sure even the bottoms were moisturized. Like occasional professional pedicures. Like professional haircuts instead of home butcher jobs. Like reading A Course in Miracles. Like meditating. Like being utterly religious in observing my 9 PM bedtime, so that I could be up before the sun rose, as early as 4:30 AM some mornings. It was a daily walk. It all mattered– every bit of it. It was my self-care, and it kept me grounded.
It was a million little relatively superficial things that, when added up, kept my mood relatively stable, kept my weight under control, and kept me feeling good about my body. This was my self-care routine for years– from college clear through the move to Grinnell in April of 2005, and beyond, at least for a little while.
It must not have all gone out the window in an instant, because I remember doing the yoga at least occasionally when I was pregnant with Porter.
But then it got hard to even breathe, and it all seemed like so. much. work. not. worth. it. I sold myself short. I was depressed, yes, deeply so, and so everything was hard, but I was so wrong about thinking it was not worth it. Because in doing so, I was telling myself that I was not worth it. And I absolutely was.
It makes me sad that my kids don’t know a mom that truly takes care of herself. It’s probably been twelve years since I consistently tended to myself. That’s my kids’ lifetimes. I deserved better than that as a new mom.
I’m doing what I can now to change it… starting back my liberal lotion use, and I’ve done yoga four days in a row. Except for tonight being a late night, I am trying to get back to a regular sleep routine. I’m trying to eat better and get a little meditation in. I’m taking baby steps.
Twelve years is a long time to not care about one’s self. All I can say is, I care now and while I can’t reverse the damage, I can pick up the pieces and move on.