Rubberband

I once stood on a scale in a doctors office when I was seventeen years old and had it read 402lbs. A couple weeks later after exercising and trying to decrease my food intake I watched as the scale read 406lbs. That was the day I refused to step back into a scale. 

I had always been a chubby child that stood out as the largest child in their class. I had always been the child that was consistently teased and made fun of simply because I was heavier than everyone else. It was my life, and though I cried every day from the comments and torture, I learned to deal with it. Because that’s what I had to do to keep myself going. 

When I was fifteen i spent a lot of time in chat rooms meeting strangers on the internet. It was the only place I felt safe to talk to people. They could not see me and I was under no obligation to show them what I looked like. I met a boy online one night that would later become someone I would consider a very good friend. This boy had a secret that he didn’t want to be a boy any longer. He had been born a male that should have been born a female, and like myself, used the internet as a platform to speak to people without having to show himself. He disappeared one day. I had grown so fond of talking to him that i reverse searched him on Facebook. I messaged them, “Thanks for just ignoring me. It was nice talking to you, I guess.” The person messaged back and asked who I was. They had no idea who I, a girl who had been talking to a person with this exact name, was. I’d been catfished. I began to talk to this boy more about the incident at hand, and through this we became friends who could talk freely with one another. We found we have many things in common like our anxiety and some medical issues we had overcome in our short years of living. One day he confided in me the same secret his catfish had. I made it my job to make him feel comfortable in his own skin, a job I could not do for myself. I bought him clothes, took a sixteen hour drive to see him, all to just be the girl that once again did everything for everyone with nothing in return. My emotions had been played with, and I remember one night crying for hours because he was ignoring me. And I felt alone. I had such limited friends and he made me feel so special and important. I was just a pawn. I needed someone to love me, even if it was for personal gain, because I lacked the ability to love myself. 

When I was sixteen I met a boy on the internet. He would call me every day and we would text whenever our voices were apart. He knew what I looked like from my profile pictures but because it’s so easy to fool your image on the internet he did not know what I truly looked like til the night we finally skyped. I had grown quite fond of him but had always been so afraid to speak with him on a webcam where he could see my face. The night we Skyped his image went fuzzy and he disconnected. When I tried to call back he did not answer. I texted him and asked him what happened  and he replied that he just didn’t want to speak at the moment. I knew why, and so I simply wrote “It’s because I’m too fat, isn’t it?” He replied, “Yeah.” And that was the last we ever spoke. 

When I was seventeen I met a boy through a girl from my high school that didn’t really look at my weight, my mental health, or my overall appearance. He looked at the person inside instead of the oversized baggage I was trapped inside. The first day we met we spoke of his love for the career he wished to pursue and he showed me that a pair of scissors that EMT’s work with could cut a quarter. A few days later he bought me dinner at a hibachi place, though I took most of it home because eating in front of people was such a fear that i only took one or two bites. We became an official couple three days later. He showed me how to love myself. He never ignored a chance to stop my self shaming, he never ignored a chance to call me beautiful even when I felt putrid, and he never ignored a chance to remind me that I had to learn to love the person I hated so much. He held my hand at 406lbs and he held my hand when I reached my lowest of 195lbs. He held my hand when I cried in his car about the grandparents I lost, and he held my hand when I gave birth to our son this past April. He also held my hand when I made a decision about the thing I hated most about myself: my weight. 

In December of 2014 I made the decision to have weight loss surgery. I went in on December 17th very early in the morning to have about 75% of my stomach removed, only a pouch the size of a banana remaining. I remembered thinking to myself “this is if, I’m going to finally feel beautiful.” The weight shed off my body and at my year mark I had gone from my large 406lb self to a slim, 195. And yet still when I looked into the mirror i still saw my 400+ lb person. 

I accomplished losing over 200lbs and I still hate my body. 

I’ve kept most of the weight off for almost three years and I still hate my body. 

I’ve given birth to a beautiful baby and I still hate my body. 

I look in the mirror and all I see is excess skin that my major weight loss did. I’m still reminded everyday of torture I had put my body through. I still hate my body. 

I hate my body because I still haven’t learned to love myself. 

Loving myself is the hardest thing I NEED to learn to do. 

I will learn to love myself. 

I will learn to love myself because if I have a daughter I want her to love herself. 

I will learn to love myself because I need to stop hating the image in the mirror. 

I will learn to love myself because that is the only way life will become truly enjoyable. 

And I will learn to love myself because I need to see myself the way others see me. 

I’m loved by so many and need to stop hating a person so many care so deeply for. 

I need to stop hating the person my son loves. 

I need to stop hating the person he smiles and giggles at. 

I need to stop hating the mom he cries for when she’s not there. 

I will stop hating myself, if not for me, for him. 

Anthony started putting my broken pieces back together when we first met, but my son was the glue that was missing to keep the pieces together. 

We need to learn to love ourselves because even if we don’t see it, and even if we don’t believe it, we are perfect just the way we are. We fight so hard to fit a societal standard of appearance, or the appearance of someone else, that we forget we are our own person. I will be the first to admit I get jealous when someone thinner than me looks good in something I would feel horrible in, but I still have to remember that I am perfect just the way I am. 

Believe in yourself and learn to love yourself. 

I will be along on this journey as well. 

I always wanted to be called Mommy. 

I cannot remember a period in my life where I didn’t want to be a mom. I remember being a child and always wanting to play house. I remember wanting to babysit constantly. I always wanted to be around children, and I swore for a very long time I’d end up in a career that would allow me to work with them. When I realized that my true passion was working with animals I began to timeline how long becoming a vet would be. I began thinking about how I could start a family and have enough energy and time to be the mother they would need me to be while still attaining the goals I set forth for myself. I wanted to be a young mother, much like my own mother was, so that I’d have a long life to be the mother I had had in my life.

My relationship with my mother was so unlike those of my friends in childhood. I could talk to my mother, confide in my mother, and feel a sense of kinship that made me feel like she would keep me safe forever. Many of my friends lacked a relationship with their mother, or if one was present it was strictly just a regular structured parent type. My mother and I grew together, and though we had many rough patches, I glowed in the envy of my friends for our relationship. She was understanding, kind, and made me the strong mother I know I will be. I vow to be much like my mother in raising my son and his future siblings. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in June of 2016 I felt that my envision of being the mother I wanted to be had burned. One day I was feeling tingles in my legs and arms, weakness taking over my fingertips, and the next day I was being told I had a progressive disease that I knew so little about. I sat on the couch of a friends and listened to the message over and over. “Hi this is Dr., I just wanted to review the results of _⁠_⁠_ CSS studies um if you’ll be kind enough to come to the office uh at some point during this week will make room for you um just call my office & inform whoever picks up that I have asked them to make room for you OK so _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ see you _⁠_⁠_ follow up whatever my schedule _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ certainly when you’re able to come in thank you bye-bye…” An hour later I walked into his office to be told my diagnosis. I cried. I cried because I was being told that my immune system was attacking my nerves, that my own body in all sense was attaching itself. I thought of what MS had be portrayed as: wheelchair bound. I cried even more. The picture of being the a parent, being a vet were all crumbling before me. I didn’t know how I would go on living with the pain I’d already been feeling, knowing that eventually it would get worse. 

About a month later after I’d began my shots I didn’t feel right. I was nauseous all the time, I was exceptionally tired, and I felt very off. I had already decided at this point that I would fight as hard as I could to continue to become not only a vet, but eventually the parent i set forth to be. I had arranged to finish college a year ahead of schedule, and my fiancé and I were set to marry in July of 2017. But when you mix alcohol, a bit of self-pity, and some other fixings you get my little miracle baby. My life changed the moment I got two lines on the at home pregnancy test, and even more when I found out my little peanut would be a little boy. 

My dream of becoming a mommy had come true, and when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time I felt nothing but shock and amazement that something of his size had been living inside me only moments before. I was elated by my little miracle, and I thought that feeling would last forever. But you know what they don’t tell you when you have a baby? Yes, when you’re pregnant you get pamphlet after pamphlet about postpartum depression. They say if the blues lasts for longer than two weeks call. But does anyone talk about how hard it is to be a new parent to a baby that screams for six hours straight, to a baby whose gas makes them screech like they’re being ripped from the inside out at times, to a baby who fights when eating, can’t be consoled, and who looks at you like you’re their entire world but you can’t fix what’s going on. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. 
I love my son. I cry because I love my son. Because it breaks my heart when he cries in such obvious pain from his reflux, and whatever other issue he seems to have going on currently. I cry because I don’t know how to fix it. I cry because I never thought I’d question why I wanted this, why I wanted to be responsible for someone when I’m such a mess myself. But I cry most of all because I know I’m strong and I’m angry with myself for not believing so. I made it through bullying, self-harming, medical conditions, hospitalizations, extreme weight loss, confidence loss, and giving birth to my gorgeous child. Why can’t I believe in myself? I made it through people doubting my ability to be a parent, staying in school while pregnant and mainting a 4.0 GPA, and yet still I feel like such a failure at times. 

No one talks about this. No one talks about the self-doubt you’ll have as a mother. No one will tell you to believe in yourself. Everyone has an opinion on parenting, and when you’re young you get attacked even more. The baby is cold. The baby is hungry. The baby only cries when he’s hungry. Burp him. Rock him. You’re not producing enough milk. Maybe he’s starving. 

Give a mom a break. 

We are all doing the best we can and we need to acknowledge this. We also need to acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. This isn’t always an easy adventure. It’s beautiful and magical, but it is also painful and heartbreaking at times. I look at my son and cry from how lucky I am to be his mother, but when he’s in pain and I can’t fix it I look at him and cry because i don’t know what to do and I am shamed to be his mother. 

We need to give ourselves a break. 

We need to start talking about how hard this can be. 

We need to be reminded that we are only human. 

And we need to be reminded we are doing the best that we can. 

My son will get better and will hopefully grow out of this painful phase, but I need to grow out of this self doubt phase and remember that I’m doing the best I can. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. I just wanted someone to call me mommy.