Where the Beauty Is and the Body Isn’t (Yet)

I am going to start walking everyday.  I already have started.  I feel powerful when I walk, like I am moving forward, which I am, literally. I also feel empowered.  I logged a mile and a quarter today.  Yesterday I walked a mile.  I hope to increase a lap (1/4 mile) everyday.  I have heard of the Couch to 5K plan. This is my plan: walk until I feel better about myself and my body. 

Our Superhero

I have been struggling with post partum whatever you want to call it.  I am a new mom and I have wanted to have a child for a long time.  My husband and I struggled with infertility for a long time.  We went through a lot of shit to have our superhero, miracle boy, Benjamin.  I was diagnosed with a uterus septum in 2007.  A uterus septum is basically a long piece of fibrous tissue that divides the uterus down the middle.  I had such a rare and severe septum, my endocrinologist  told me I could be in a medical textbook. I had it removed in June 2007.  I then had fertility treatments the summer of 2008 (fertility drugs and two IUIs).  [If you want to read about the diagnosis and struggle with infertility, click on this link to n essay published on NPR.] Then my husband and I decided to go it alone and abandon the medical interventions of fertility treatments.   Plus it was too damn expensive and it wasn’t covered by medical insurance in North Carolina.  We had to pay for everything out of pocket.

We only went to acupuncture.  I actually loved going to this doctor.  His name is Dr. House and he is in Goldsboro, NC.  He only advertises word of mouth and people rave about him. You have to wait months to get an appointment with him.  I love all that kind of stuff (acupuncture, mind body spirit stuff) so I ate it up.  My husband actually really liked it too.  To make a long story short – we got pregnant while undergoing acupuncture treatments.  I got pregnant for the first time in my entire life in February 2009.  Then I had a miscarriage in April.  I had to have a  D & C.  Totally sucked. Then I got pregnant again in August 2009.  And today I have healthy, beautiful, wonderful, funny, independent, hilarious, adorable, amazing, inspiring, all the adjectives in the world to describe beautiful — Benjamin! 

So, that being said, I am still trying to manage my post partum body and mind.  I have my moments, I am not going to lie, that I want to stop breastfeeding and start on some happy pills. But I have fought back from depression before and I don’t want to take pills to feel better.  And I am finding that post partum depression is not something many moms talk about openly.  I know for a fact that anti-depressants are a good thing for some people.  Just not for me.  That is all I am saying.  My father had depression so bad that he was on Lithium at one point.   He struggled with it his whole life. 

My father, John Shelley Miller, born October 5, 1929, died December 11, 2004. This is on a ship somewhere related to the Korean War

He was a survivor of the Korean War  and had PTSD (Inchon to be specific, a member of the “Frozen Chosen”), the Great Depression, survived Guillain-Barre syndrome (a form of polio where he had to learn to walk and talk again), a recovering alcoholic, and many other things, including crippling and painful frostbite from the Korean War.  He had a hard life and he had a lot of demons.  But don’t we all.  Sometimes we are just too ashamed to name them.

My acupunctuist told me that I could literally walk my way out of my post partum depression.  I had several treatments after I had Benjamin (six months of treatments).  But we cut back our expenses when I quit my job to stay at home with Ben.  I quit my job effective end of  December 2010.  And that was one of the expenses we cut.  I have been lazy.  I just haven’t got my muffin top ass up and walked.  Mostly because I am up to my ears busy with taking care of a baby, which for some reason I thought would be a piece of cake.  There are days (and a lot of them) where I am more exhausted than I was teaching a classful of 28 fourth graders, which was exhausting mental and physical work.  But caring for a baby has kicked my ass.  And this subject is something I am writing about extensively.  There is such a secrecy to motherhood and its turmoil, trials, and ass kickings.  Why is it a secret how hard it is and why won’t anyone talk openly about it.  I know there are some who do talk about it openly, but it is a taboo subject.  I am just saying you can meet a stranger and talk all day about milestones and baby shit (literally), but if you bring up how freaking hard it is being a parent, a mother specifically, they go running. 

I told my mother-in-law that I was so exhausted and brain dead at the end of the day, just taking care of one little crawling, Benjamin baby.  How did she manage taking care of four?  She replied with the sin of all mother-in-law statements, “Well, if you were younger, like in your twenties, you wouldn’t be so tired…”  I zoned out the rest.  I got defensive.  I know she meant well.  But I felt like an old geezer and along with my old button getting pushed, my out of shape button got pushed too.  I think I replied, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters what kind of shape you are in.”  As if I was ready for the Boston Marathon and had traveled with the Olympic soccer team.

So, this is where I am at.  I am going to kick some ass and take some names.  And those muffins are going to get it.  No more muffin top for me.  That is my new motto.  I am going to get that muffin top off my hips, crumb by crumb, lap by lap! 

My other fight back – kick some ass – be positive strategy is to take a photo of something I find beautiful everyday.  


I am not going to stress out about if it is a professional quality photo,  just going to take it.  Click.  Upload.  Update to my blog every couple of days.   I am going to try to be positive and look at the bright side instead of feeling sorry for myself.   I know other mothers experience post partum depression, it just feels shameful to admit.  Like I have to explain that I am not always in a bad mood and that I am a happy, bubbly mommy around my baby.  But I don’t have to explain it to anyone.  But I want to explain it to you, whoever is reading this.  And I really do wonder who you are, if you are out there.  So please comment! Or is this just a vacuum of my words, swirling around?  It’s enough to admit it and perhaps help someone else who is also suffering through it.  I am finding that motherhood is such a lonely and isolated super field of emotions.  Like the Olympics of emotions and feelings. 

I have been feeling sorry for myself specifically  because I have a six pack of muffin tops, post baby weight.  And a six pack of post partum emotions.  So instead of feeling sorry for myself and all the baby weight I can’t lose – I am taking charge and walking my way to a non-muffin top.  I am not giving myself any deadlines or diets (although my husband and I are trying to eat healthy and watch our proportions).  I am simply going to commit to walking everyday.  I have enlisted my mother-in-law in this endeavor.  She walks her two laps around the track and I then walk two extra laps.  I am excited that I have her to help me stay committed to this and she has me to help her stay committed. 

It baffles me how I have lost my sense of sports over the years.  I used to be All-State Soccer and basketball in High School.  I was even Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Wyoming.  But I will not even tell you how many years ago that was.  I do miss that love I had for a healthy body and the way it felt to have all my muscles toned.

So here is my beauty and body update:

Day 1 – Walked 4 laps = 1 mile

Beauty Photo – Day 1

Geraniums in the sun room


Day 2 – Walked 5 laps = 1 1/4 miles

Beauty Photo – Day 2

Buds on the peach tree in my back yard


Day 3 – Walked 6 laps = 1 1/2 miles (power walked three of the laps to get the endorphins going! And when I say power walked I mean, arms pumping like a Get In Shape Girl geek.  Elbows at right angles, swinging and singing.  Yeah! I love endorphins.  I had my first endorphin buzz from strenuous exercise in a long time).

Beauty Photo – Day 3

Daffodils in my front yard

So as winter closes down her doors and Spring rides in on her beautiful carriage, I hope my attitude will improve to help me flourish in my graduate classes in Creative Writing and of course, help me to be a better mother and wife to the most important people in my life, my husband and son.  And also to be a better friend and family member to the special people in my life. 

What is your Spring resolution?  Is there something you want to start doing?  Please comment if you are willing to share and tell.  And remember to take it step by step and click by click.
Have a great day. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading about my world.

This I Believe (my essay on NPR’s “This I Believe)

This was published on NPR’s This I Believe on September 22, 2007


“This I Believe”

I believe I will have a child. I have to. Isn’t that what we are made to do as humans? Reproduce. I believe. I believe. I believe.

I never thought I would become one of them. Those people obsessed with becoming pregnant. People who see specialists. People who take fertility drugs. People whose one wish in the world is to become pregnant. Well, I have.

I was diagnosed with a uterus septum. I went to see my gynecologist for pelvic pain and they did a routine ultra sound. The technician was quiet, methodical, and probing with a deep curiosity. I thought she may have seen a fetus and I was pregnant! Her deep, probing curiosity became more of a concentrated stare of uncertainty. Then she left the room and came back to tell me to get dressed and go to the waiting room. I was not able to get an appointment with my regular gynecologist and was scheduled with an on call doctor before my ultra sound took place. I thought something was strange as I thumbed through waiting room magazines to see my on-call doctor talking so intensely with my regular booked solid, gynecologist.

I watched the ultra sound technician and my regular gynecologist have an intense discussion as they pointed to photos from the ultra sound. My mind flew to horrible places… I have cancer… I can’t ever have children… my female parts are messed up. But I told myself not to panic.

My gynecologist called me in. She started her speech with overly kind words and medical terms over my head. I knew something was up. She said, “You have a uterus anomaly.” I was like, “What is that?” She went into medical terminology about being a fetus in my mother’s womb…the malarian ducts… fallopian tubes, which did not fuse into a whole uterus. Instead you have a uterus septum, it appears. I can’t diagnose this and I am referring you to a specialist.”

I immediately turned on my mother. “Is this because my mother drank and smoked while she was pregnant with me?” My doctor reassured me it was just something that was a freak occurrence. Oh great, I am a freak.

I underwent a series of tests. They tested my hormones, my egg count, my husband’s sperm. They did a MRI, and a hysterosalpingram. There it was in black and white: my uterus septum. I wanted the doctor to give me a black and white diagnosis. She merely was calm. At this point, I was seeing an endocrinologist, my reproductive problems too intense and out of reach for a gynecologist. I was better off with the freak of nature doctor, right!

I have to believe I will have children, at least one. Hopefully three. But I am 33 and not pregnant. That means if all goes well, I can have a child before the dreaded 35 happens. But all the movie stars are having children past 35. For Pete’s sake, even a 60 year old woman had a baby.

What I do believe, and it scares me, is that I may not ever have children naturally. And I will have to live with that and move on to the next phase. Adoption, In Vitro Fertilization, acceptance.

I had surgery on June 28, 2007 to fix my uterus septum. I had two doctors working on me. I had multiple procedures done: laparoscopy, hysteroscopic uterine septum resection, and a polypectory.

I have to believe that medical science will help us conceive a child. That God’s grace will intervene and we will get pregnant. But I also have to believe and accept, which is the hard part, that we may not. And life will go as it is supposed to…this I believe.

Family Love - Always Believe


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