Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I wish I could love myself and see myself the way my husband does

Please take this post with clear eyes and a non-judging heart.  Its hard for me to write, but it is my current struggle.

I wake up each morning trying to decide whether I will like myself today.  Whether I will be OK with this human body, with its weaknesses and frailties.  I wake up wondering if I will ever see myself the way my husband does.  Or the way that God does for that matter.

I am a bitter battlefield of hope and self pity.  I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth, wondering where the happy, thin girl of my youth went and whether there are glimmers of her still in there.  I oscillate between trying to accept myself the way I am, 20+ pounds overweight, mother of three, skin of  a Shar Pei if seen in a two piece swimsuit.  Having three kids in a 5 year span does things to your body and metabolism that you can't really prepare yourself for.  It makes me scared for the mother of all those Duggar babies.  How isn't her uterus dragging along the floor?  Or maybe it is underneath the long skirt.  Right behind the flap of skin that's been the home of so many children.  Before my first baby I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted.  I was right on par with my weight, pretty happy in my body with the exception of my inherited small boobs.  Thanks to my mom's side of the family.  After my first child, I lost the weight right away.  I was back to my pre-baby weight pretty quickly, though my jeans never fit the same again, with hips now that were wider than I'd ever had, from carrying an average size baby in my small frame.  But I was OK with it.  I was a mom and that's what I'd always dreamed of.
 Me post Maggie.

My second baby did things to my body that I did not expect.  Having never really cared for bacon and always harbored an extreme distaste for cake, the daily pile of bacon and slice of Portillo's chocolate cake brought a lot of weight gain with that pregnancy.  I expected that, and I ate it anyway.  I paid for it later.  I still lost the weight post pregnancy fairly quickly, a couple of pounds hanging on until I stopped nursing my toddler, a little over one year old.  I started running and got to an acceptable weight for myself, pretty close to pre-pregnancy weight, and while I wasn't 100% happy with myself,  I felt better after I stopped nursing.

 Me immediately after Miles. Like the next day.

Baby number three bit back hard.  It was a difficult pregnancy.  I lost almost 15 pounds in the beginning from being so sick.  I almost had to work with a dietitian to bring my weight up.  I threw up multiple times every day for all but 2 weeks or so of the pregnancy.  I ended the pregnancy about where I started the pregnancy, maybe slightly more, but not by much.  I was beat.  I was drained, exhausted and emotional strapped all the time.  I went into preterm labor.  It was stopped.  She still came at 34/35 weeks, healthy and strong but tiny.  She was fiery and full of angst.  She cried all the time, and so did I.  I was a mess.  She was colicky.  We were all suffering.  I rewarded myself for getting through the day with chocolate, and fast food, and whatever I was craving in the moment that would create that calming, soothing endorphin rush of pleasure when the taste touched my tongue.  I had post partum depression and did work with my doctor on strategies to address the issue without medication, ready to take it if needed.  Luckily asking for help and going on walks in the sunshine eased my anxiety and gave me a break.  I started to feel more like myself, but I was still making so many poor food choices.

My constantly crying baby. (I almost posted a video so you could hear the scream that used to come out of this tiny being, but I thought I'd spare you the pain.)

Me looking a hot mess because she NEVER let me put her down and I never slept.

And so here I am today, 1,000 miles away from all the friends I love, and extended family I'm so accustomed to.  I constantly crave childhood foods and comfort foods.  I think they ease the ache of being so alone.  I have a foot injury that limits my physical activity, though I fight through the pain sometimes and do what I want despite it, paying later when I over do it.  I've spent over a year working with different doctors and practitioners to try and address the pain, but have so far been unable to do so.  So now I feel stuck.  I don't want to completely stop eating foods I enjoy.  I don't want to take a bunch of meds so I can't feel the hurt in my foot.  I try to eat healthy, but allow myself to eat what I want when I'm feeling blue.  I have cut so much pop out of my daily habits, and rarely eat out.  So now I feel like I have to decide what I want to focus on.  Do I want to count calories all day, fight with myself over ever bite I take, calculate every activity I do to measure the intake vs. output?  Did God make me the way I am?  Is my discontent with myself ingratitude for all that I have?  To what point do I want dieting and working out to impact my  life activities?  I feel so conflicted.  I need to understand in part that my body will never be the same one.  I'm getting older and I have given birth to three kids.  Is it possible to work out a ton and restrict my diet to get to the pre-baby fitness level or even better?  Absolutely.  Do I want to commit that much of myself to the task?  Am I motivated enough for it to result in even a modicum of success?  I don't know.  And that's where I stand.  Firmly on a line of wondering if I want to be thinner or whether I should be happy with my body the way it is.

All I know is that when my husband looks at me, he doesn't see all that nonsense.  He's not looking at my meals and assessing how it will impact by butt. He doesn't pay attention to the weight I've gained over the years.  He sees his wife, the woman he loves, the  mother of his children, and he's happy with that.  I'd be wrong to try and guess what God sees when he looks at me.  But I know that He loves me warts and all, and is happy having me as his child. Why can't I see myself the same way?  Truly I don't know.  And that is where I stand for this very moment in time. 


Abby said...

I know this struggle all too well, and I have decided I don't care anymore. I care about being healthy and active and teaching my kids to eat balanced meals, but I am done wasting energy worrying about my weight or what size I wear. I dress for the body I have now (and I have fun with will never find me giving in to the mom uniform of sweatpants no matter how big I am), I eat vegetables and chocolate cake and enjoy my life. I could be healthy and skinny as all getout and get hit by a bus tomorrow. Life is too short and too beautiful to spend it worrying about fat rolls.

The measure of your beauty has nothing to do with the size of your butt and everything to do with the size of your heart. You are gorgeous, outside and in. Believe it. xo

eliseandfam said...

I hear ya. And I just want to say a few things.
Post partum depression is difficult to deal with, I've gone through it 3 times. It sucked worse every time.
Moving to a new place is hard. You are making the best of it.
This sounds trite; love yourself, and you will be happy whatever size you are. The desire to exercise and calorie count ebbs and flows. Where ever you are right now is the best place for you.
I hope this finds you feeling better one month after your post.