Of pregnancy and parasites: My body is mine!

As most of you know, I am currently pregnant. I’m very pleased to be pregnant. The pregnancy was planned and intended from the get-go. There’s just one little thing.

I don’t like sharing my body!

When you’re pregnant, your body is invaded by what is for all intents and purposes a parasite. Here, I’ll define parasite for you:

An organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.

And so, as you can see, I am currently inhabited by a parasite. I’ve voluntarily letting this little parasite feed off of my body – it was my choice to invite it in – but that doesn’t make it any less a parasite, technically speaking. 

I have symptoms such as morning sickness and back pain that I can’t control (I can mitigate them, but that’s it), and my belly is currently swelling daily of its own volition. It’s like I’ve lost control of my own body, surrendering it to this process called “pregnancy.” Using hormones, the fetus leeches antibodies from the rest of my body, leaving my immune system compromised, and even lowers my own cells’ ability to absorb sugar, thus hoarding the sugar for itself.

I miss my figure. I miss being able to eat whatever I choose. I miss my body being only and completely mine.

Growing up, I didn’t realize I would feel this way. I watched my mother go through pregnancy after pregnancy with nothing but smiles, and the same with the other like-minded women in our community. Pregnancy was glorified, and the pregnant woman was seen as in her element. I fully expected to spend ten straight years of my life pregnant, and I had no problem with that. I thought I would enjoy being pregnant, would thrive on it. Michelle Duggar, for example, once said that she feels “empty” when she is not pregnant (I can’t find where I read that, though – sorry!). Somewhere along the line, this changed for me. Not just the wanting 10+ children part, but also the loving being pregnant part.

It’s not that pregnancy doesn’t have its perks – it does – and it’s not that there aren’t plenty of ordinary women who honestly love being pregnant – there are. When you talk to women who have been pregnant some talk about what a beautiful process pregnancy is and how very attached to their essence as women they felt, and how women have great power in their fertility and how wonderful it is that our bodies know automatically what to do. There’s a very earthy, hippie lingo that surrounds this. Others, in contrast, talk about morning sickness and back pain and how very glad they are to have pregnancy over with. Every woman experiences pregnancy differently.

For me it’s not so much the morning sickness or back pain as it is the loss of control over my own body that bothers me. It’s a psychological thing, I think. Part of it is that over time I’ve come to place increased value on my own self-determination and my own self-ownership; I’ve stopped seeing sacrificing myself for others as always good in and of itself and have started placing value on my own individuality. But who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed being pregnant even if I’d still been in Quiverfull mode.

For whatever reason, the reality is that I simply don’t like sharing my body. I’m looking forward to getting my shape back after this pregnancy, and to no longer having my body inhabited by a little parasite. Don’t get me wrong, I love this potential child already, it’s just that I’d rather him be in my arms than inside of my body. There are lots of things I can share without perturbation. My body is simply not one of them.

Note: And this is all completely besides everything I wrote about in my post last week on My Rights as a Pregnant Woman or the Lack Thereof.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.