Sydney McCall Patel
A Letter to the Body
Updated: Feb 17
by Sydney McCall Patel, Marriage and Family Therapist, Marin County, California
A week ago I woke up in the morning and couldn’t get out of bed. I had a pinched nerve in my lower back, acute pain when I moved any direction and tingling down my legs. I’m lying in bed recovering as I write this, the whole experience has been strenuous and pretty frightening. Now as I heal, I take a step back, and at the suggestion of my physical therapist I write a letter to this tired body.
hank you for being strong and carrying me through this life. Our journey has not always been easy. I have loved you. I have hated you. I’ve been in awe of you and deeply disappointed by you. I have felt confident in you and ashamed of you. I’m sorry for the latter, for having mistreated you. There are many reasons for why I didn’t know how to really love you. I promise to commit to working on being kind and gentle with you for the rest of my life. This is a vow I make to you.
Without you I would not be standing in this exquisite life. I would not be enjoying time with this vibrant family I love, kissing the amazingly chubby cheeks of my son or hiking like a hurricane up these mountains. Thank you for being attractive enough to bring me my husband who I adore inside and out. Thank you for being resilient and enduring enough to get me here, to this place where I can recognize the fullness of my life thus far and express to you my gratitude and intentions.
As I age, I’m seeing how you hold deep knowledge and it is my work to begin to trust you. I tend to move quickly and I will pay better attention to how I can slow down for you. I will strive to listen to what you are telling me and not focus on the things I don’t like about you. I’m truly sad for having done this so much in the past. Instead of criticizing you, from now forward I will do my best to take care of you.
These miscarriages haven’t been easy on us. With each pregnancy I watch as you grow and then release what is not right. Together we have been pregnant three times and have produced a beautiful baby. Thank you for providing me with the fertility and strength to bear my son. There is no question he is my husband’s and my greatest joy. He is now three and we have been wanting a sibling for him. My partner and I have taken such joy in having our own siblings, it’s hard to imagine our son missing out on what we have valued so much. And yet I have been in a limbo state with you for over a year now and I’m not sure you think another child is best for us. I want you to know I’m listening to you.
And if you are also listening to me, then I thought it might help to put into words, that this wish for another beautiful, strong and healthy baby is ours. So if you want, and whenever you are ready, to bring another child into this world then I will be with you. And if for whatever reason, it is too much and that is not our way, then I will follow you. Thus from this place of appreciation and acceptance of whatever may come, I’m here paying attention to you, trusting whatever happens to us is for the best. Thank you for all you have done and I hope will continue to do. This is my letter of gratitude.