Today I decided that Grace and I were going to go to the mall. I was getting a little stir crazy being in the house and Grace seems to enjoy looking around at all of the colors. She also normally takes a good nap when we walk around the mall and well I am always for that. After getting all of her stuff ready I decided that I was going to change clothes. I then proceeded to change clothes 6 times. Defeated, because nothing seemed to look how I wanted it to, I decided that I was too fat to go to the mall. I spent way more time than I'd like to admit obsessing about and hating on all of my "problem" areas.
Unlike most people who lose weight after giving birth, I have had hormonal issues that have caused my weight to continue to go up. As someone who already gained 90lbs while pregnant and is in recovery from an eating disorder, this has been very traumatic. To be honest it's like my biggest fear has come true.
As I obsessed in the mirror, Grace laid on the bed, smiling and "talking" to her best friend, one of our ceiling fans. She loves my body. When she is upset there is nothing more comforting to her than curling up on my chest. She wraps her tiny hands tightly around my belly. It's roundness a reminder of where she grew for 8 months. She loves when we snuggle close in bed. When I wrap my arms around her, something that we do every morning. One of her new favorite things is sitting on my thighs, looking around curiously, as I support her. My daughter thinks my body is amazing, so why can't I?
We ended up going to the mall. As I was driving there I started thinking about how long I've hated my body. How long I thought being fat was the worst thing ever. It saddens me to say that I have lived with this body hatred since high school and even some in middle school. I remember stepping on the scale in 6th grade and thinking that I weighed too much. Three years later, I developed an eating disorder and have been fighting the battle ever since.
As I walked around the mall I felt self conscious, like I didn't belong there. Like people were looking at me and judging me for my size. Like they some how knew that I used to be smaller and now was fat. It's really hard to admit that. Although I am pretty honest on my blog, I don't like talking about my body at all, especially how I feel about it. While it's become culturally acceptable to bash our bodies to each other, it makes me really uncomfortable.
The longer I walked around, the more I noticed that I was surrounded by people with all different body sizes and more so, that people were busy doing their own thing, not looking at me. This made the trip a little more enjoyable.
Hating your body is isolating. It's a distraction. An easy way to get stuck in your head and end up in a bad mood. An even easier way to miss out on life; the things that you really care about.
I am trying to be ok with my body and it's current size. As this post shows, it's still hard for me to do. But I am also sick of hating myself and buying into the crap society feeds us about beauty and thinness. I believed that becoming fat was the end of the world for me and well my world is still spinning. In fact, my life is a million times better than it was when I weighed a lot less.
Since Grace was born I have put a lot of pressure on myself to be completely recovered from my eating disorder and be 100% in love with my body. Although I am doing fairly well, these expectations aren't realistic for me. Instead I take one day at a time, cherishing watching my daughter grow and develop. Some days I can look at my body with some neutrality and even some love. I know one day that will be every day. For now, I try to be honest with myself about where I am at. Today I smile knowing that my daughter and my husband love my body and will hold on to the hope that I will some day as well.