Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oh sweet child of mine

I have spent the last two years swirling in fear, shame and guilt. Trying to do everything I can to be recovered. Or more so, trying to do everything that I can to APPEAR recovered. It's not that I don't want to shed this horrible eating disorder and other mental struggles that keep me stuck. I desperately do. It just isn't that easy. And I think I am finally done pretending that it is.

Dear Grace,

Ever since those two little lines showed up on seven pregnancy tests, I have loved you with every part of my being. Because of this I have wanted to protect you as much as possible. Including keeping you as far away as I possibly could from knowing my inner struggles. Knowing that I passed along the genetic component of mental illness, I have tried as hard as I can to keep your environment free of judgement, negativity and hatred, especially relating to food and body image. And I will continue to do this, except in a different way.

I want to show you that courage comes in many different forms. Not only in triumphs, but in moments of defeat. In moments that you are backed against the wall and are terrified. In moments where things feel too hard and you give in. These moments do not make you weak. These moments allow you to reach out to those who love you and allow them to carry some of the burden. No matter the pain, daddy and I will always be here to hold your hand in those moments.

I desperately want you to love your body and always remember to appreciate all the amazing things that it helps you do. I also want you to know that it's ok to have doubts. While I try as hard as I can, I am not always the best role model for body love. Sometimes I feel hypocritical because I forget that my body is amazing. And then sometimes when you curl up close to me , snuggling hard into my chest and stomach, I feel as if my body is extraordinary. In those moments I feel completely connected to all that is right in the world.

In the morning when you wake up eager for breakfast, I smile so big. And then as you and daddy enjoy breakfast together, I feel super sad. I want you to understand that the reason that I am not always at the table next to you, isn't related to you or daddy, or my love of spending time with either of you. But instead some of my own struggles, that I try so hard to not let you see. 

I know you think I'm supermom and I've gladly taken on the role. There isn't anything I enjoy more than being your mother and watching you take on the world. I want you to know that every super hero has it's battles. I want to teach you resilience but not in the way that I was originally taught. Some days it's hard for mommy to get out of bed or I am frozen in my tracks out of no where because of memories or a current circumstance. It's these moments that I want to hide from you because I don't want you to see me struggle. But these are the moments that allow me to teach you resilience. They allow me to show you how to overcome.

You see, mommy is an overcomer and you are too.Overcomers aren't people who never have bad days or never mess up. They are instead people who get up, dust themselves off and keep going. Not all overcomers look the same or face the same battles. Some people fight battles that are on the outside or that can easily be seen, while others have those battles on the inside. I fight battles on the inside, that can't easily be seen and are very hard to explain to those who don't fight the same. Please know, that you don't have to be understood to be loved and supported. And that no matter the battle, I am always here to listen, even if you think I will never understand.

I fight hard in my recovery every day and will continue to do so. But I want you to know that strength isn't something that can be seen or measured. Strength comes from inside you. Strength doesn't always look the same either. Some days it's big and bold, while other days it's quiet and subtle. Some days you may wonder if it even exists but I promise you that it always does. On days where I am lacking some strength, I borrow some from you and daddy as well as other family and friends. Whenever you fall down, I have a special reserve of strength just for you.

I try my best to create a space that allows you to explore your curiosity as much as you like. But sometimes mommy gets scared. A lot of times the fear doesn't make a lot of sense, but that doesn't make it feel any less real. Know that my odd rules and isolation doesn't have to do with anything you've done, but instead some of the internal battles that I face. Keep being adventurous, free spirited and boldly exploring the world. Your bravery makes me smile and remember the joys of childhood.

I am honored that you chose me to be your mom. The amount of love and joy that has entered my life since you were born is not measurable. Please know that even through my struggles, my heart is continually bursting with the love I feel for you. Being your mom is the best thing in the world!

Love,
mommy   


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