Accept it…and then challenge it! About 5 months ago I said enough is enough. I was miserable. How can you be miserable with a beautiful baby in your arms? Well… part of it is you keep saying to yourself, “what the hell is wrong with me; I have everything I’ve ever dreamed […]
Do you every get up in the morning and just feel miserable with yourself? I do every single morning.
I hate this body… there I said it. It does not make any sense and I am so frustrated with it.
I wish I could be the body positive person that says they love how big there legs are because they are strong and get them places. Or they love their belly because it reminds them of where their baby grew. I am not that person. I can tell someone everyday how beautiful they are, how they are strong, etc, etc. I cannot tell myself that. I am wildly disappointed in my body, therefore, myself. There is so much I know I should be thankful for, trust me, I get that. I am thankful for a lot. But it does not mean I can accept my body like I should.
Why put so much emphasis on how you look you might ask. I have no idea. I wish I did not care as much as I do. I care about the number on the scale. I care that my pants do not fit. I care that I cannot seem to get a handle on weight. I care so incredibly much. I feel like my outer image defines me. It is the first thing the world sees about me. I want to be perceived as someone who takes care of themselves. I want people to know how much I take care for my daughter and family. I want them to know my family eats healthy three times a day (for the most part, I am not super human). That I try really really hard to provide a healthy lifestyle and consistency. But when you look at your own body and see things you never thought you’d see, you question if you are doing anything right. I question if I really am providing a healthy life for my family if my body is not responding well.
I am so frustrated with where I am at right now. After I had my daughter, I lost all of the baby weight. I was back to where I was before IVF and pregnancy within a few weeks. It was amazing, since I had gained 42 pounds while pregnant! Most of it was fluid though, although doctors never believed me. I did so well for several months. I started an anxiety medication and did not realize that weight gain was a significant side effect of the medicine. I started putting on pounds. I switched medicine because of stomach problems and I became so depressed. I put on a ton of weight with in a months time. Now, I am way past pre-pregnancy weight. I am frustrated. I am angry. I am sad. I am obsessed.
I want to get up in the morning and put on clothes that I feel comfortable in. I want to not analyze every picture of me that is taken. I want to smile and not worry about a double chin popping up in a picture. My husband says I am beautiful, I want to honestly believe him. I want to be a positive role model for my daughter. Right now, in terms of body imagine, I am a terrible role model. I do not say things in front of her. But I know one day she will know how I feel about myself if I do not get a handle on this.
This post is raw about some deep feelings that are going on in my head. I feel better just saying how I feel though and maybe just admitting how I feel is the groundwork to healing. I am not a confident person. I struggle like most people do. I am trying and I hope some day soon to be able to look in the mirror and at least like the person I see looking back at me. I’ve tried just getting over it and forgetting it, but it just keeps creeping up on me. I exercise and I eat well but I am just struggling to love myself. I feel that losing the weight may not even fix how angry I am with my body. So I hope while on a journey of losing weight I will find ways to love myself that have nothing to do with my weight too. If you struggled and have ideas for self-love let me know! I am open to ideas – just NO sales pitches please!
I have not written in quite awhile. Honestly, I’ve been exhausted and this has not been a priority for me. However, I do miss writing my thoughts down so I thought I would revisit my blog and give it another go. After all, I have greatly benefited from others sharing their stories so I like to give back by sharing mine.
Sometimes life gives us a rude awakening. Right in the middle of “normal” you can find yourself in a situation that you do not even recognize. You do not recognize the situation or even yourself during these times. Since having my daughter I have spent a lot of time trying to figure myself out. In a matter of months, everything I knew about myself changed. I was a teacher and wife. Then one day I because a mom. I am not longer a teacher, a part of me that was a huge part of my identity. While I am beyond happy to be home with my daughter, I often feel like I am in a bit of an identity crisis. Adjusting to being a Mom has me trying to figure out who I am all over again. My daughter is over a year now and feel like I am still trying to adjust to this new life.
Part of working on figuring out who I am, has been working on my anxiety. Anxiety has been a part of my life for maybe… forever. I was diagnosed around 10 or 11. However, I have spent a majority of my life with relatively well-managed anxiety. When I had my daughter, I struggled a lot with anxiety. After about 6 months of struggling, I called my OB. They gave me medication to help. It did help, I felt really good! I lost all the baby weight, I was happy, I was able to do a lot more. Overall, the medicine had helped me get to a more normal state. However, it caused frequent stomach issues. I would wake up throughout the night often sick to my stomach. After several months of hoping my body would grow tolerate of the medicine I decided to call my doctor. They changed my medicine in hopes it would eliminate the stomach issues while still helping my anxiety.
My stomach stopped hurting. But I hit a wall and had a pretty nasty reaction to my new medication.
I found it difficult to get out of bed. I did not feel any emotions. I felt flat, like life had no highs or lows. I just felt nothing. I had frequent unprovoked panic attacks. For the first time in my life I needed Xanax to help stop panic attacks. It took me a bit to realize something was wrong. I put on weight which only further worsened how I feel about myself and caused extra stress. I became easily frustrated. I just was not me. Thankfully my husband and sister recognized that I was not acting like myself. I avoid going to the doctor as much as I can. Throughout my pregnancy I felt so bad about myself because of weight gain. Now that I gained weight from the medicine I felt for sure they would nail me for it. So I avoided it. I just wished it all away. Thankfully, my counselor was able to get me to see a psychologist to take care of my medication. He has changed my anxiety medication and it has made a world of difference.
I can get in a car and go on a trip with my family without dripping in sweating. I can function all day without extra medicine. I feel happy, sad, excited, and most importantly in my world, love. I feel emotions, something the other medication took from me for awhile. I feel like I am going to be okay and that I can manage anxiety again.
Bottom line with treating anxiety, it is not a one size fits all treatment. Not everyone presents the same way and not everyone reacts to treatment the same way. If you struggle with anxiety I encourage you to find what works for you. For me its a healthy mix of counseling and medication. Whatever works for you, find it. As I have found, there can be speed bumps along the way but do not give up on it. My doctor consistently reminds me that if one medication does not work, there is a list of other ones to try. He reminds me constantly, I have options. You have options too.
Serious conversation time…
STOP TELLING PEOPLE WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING!
The other evening, Kevin and I were shopping at a local store. While waiting in line, there was a lady eyeing Claire and started talking to her. Claire stared her down and as usual it is just an awkward exchange. Between the parent pretending to talk for the baby (or whatever we are supposed to do whenever someone ask their baby questions) and uncomfortable laughter. Then it got more uncomfortable. She asked us how old our daughter is, which we replied with 7 months old. Her automatic response was, “you need to give her a sibling soon.” There it was 7 months into this parenting gig and I got the first, “when is the next baby coming?”
Seriously, 7 months? That is all I get to learn to be a parent, and it is time to have another baby. That is all the time I get to spend enjoying my daughter before it is time for me to spend more time with my head in the toilet, waiting for baby number to to arrive? That is ridiculous.
What I wanted to tell her was the following:
- Will you hand over the thousands it will cost?
- Will you go to Congress and help us fight to keep the law intact?
- Will you come play with Claire while I toss my cookies and give me a nap?
- Will you ensure me that each embryo transfer will not ultimately end in absolute heartbreak?
- Will you ensure I am ready to have another baby?
- Will you heal my anxiety so that I feel ready?
- Will you hire someone to be my personal trainer so I can quickly get my body in shape to meet your deadline?
- Will you hire a cook to create healthy food options so I can have a healthy pregnancy?
- Will you take the shots in your ass cheek, to somehow help me?
- Will you pay for college and weddings?
- Will you come tame every argument between the two of them?
- Will you be able to comfort me as I go through some of the most difficult treatments and experiences I’ve ever known?
- Will you explain to my daughter why I have to give myself shots everyday?
- Will you babysit when I want to spend a day with my husband on a date?
My guess would be that she will not do any of those things. My guess is I will never see that woman again. So why does she think she can have ANY input in my life? She has no right to it.
Bottom line is… there is nothing wrong with have one baby, five babies, eight babies as long as you have the love and means to support them. There is nothing wrong with living child free either. I believe a person can be perfectly whole in any way they choose to live their life, that could be with children, without them, maybe with a dog or even a really awesome sports car. Whatever floats your boat is exactly what you should do. What you do does not impact me, so I have absolutely no right to tell you what you should do.
If you do choose to have children, having one is completely okay too! The lady at the store was telling me how much my daughter needs a sibling and how wrong it would be to not give her one. Whatever. My daughter will be fine just with herself or with several other siblings. How dare someone think they can tell me otherwise. Kevin and I have no idea how many children we will have, but I can tell you that it is not even a thought in our head right now. We are living in the now, and loving the now. Whatever we choose in the future, is between the two of us, not some random lady at a store. I see it all the time, parents with one kid or couples with no kids, constantly hearing what they should do. They know love, whether they have children or not. Don’t be so ridiculous and so ignorant that you cannot comprehend that someone may want a different life than you.
Moral of the story…DON’T be the random lady at the store.
Today I drove on the highway. Big deal, right? It actually is a big deal for me. I have not driven on the highway since I had my daughter, 6 months ago. My Husband drove us on the highway one time which resulted in a panic attack. I have not been on it since.
I’ve always struggled with anxiety. As a teenager, I was diagnosed with OCD. Which is not what everyone thinks it is, where everything has to be in order or clean. Sure, sometimes things have to be in order. But if you saw my house or my car you’d question whether I really had it. Instead, I might have to put something in order, only because inside of my brain I’ve been told if I do not comply, something terrible will happen. It is not just because I do not like the way the “out of order” looks. It controls me. I run late to things because I am constantly checking and worrying over things. I live in a state of fear because I know that the compulsion will not prevent something terrible from happening, but the mind game continues.
After I had my daughter, my anxiety decided to take it up a notch (or fifty). My jaw tightened, my breaths got shorter, and my muscles got tenser. I was living in a constant state of fear. I went through a difficult labor to a terrible time with breast feeding. I also had someone new to worry about.
My biggest fear in this world is death. It runs my OCD. I worry so much about losing people I care about that my body cannot function sometimes. It literally drives me insane. So now, I have a tiny human depending on me to keep her safe and healthy. I worry over everything. The torture of it all is that I am aware I am doing it about 90% of the time. So I know my thoughts and actions are not logical and that I look like a damn nut case. It is beyond frustrating. It feels like fighting the devil. I don’t want to be the control freak Mom that does not let her daughter do anything. I want better than that for her. There were times that I wanted to leave. Not because I was not happy, but because I felt like my husband and my daughter deserved better. I thought maybe I could watch from afar as she grows up so I do not ruin her. It was a terrible place to be in. I felt guilt (still do) and despair. I did not feel worthy of this life. I have an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter that I absolutely adore, but I felt like I was not good enough. I felt like I had failed them in every way possible and it only deepened my depression and anxiety.
I realized I hit a low when we needed to go to DC and I realized I could not get myself in the car to get on the highway. When I stepped on the scale and realized all the weight I had lost after having the baby was quickly creeping up on me, I knew something was not right. I realized it when I cried over nothing or when all emotion I felt were too much to bare. I realized it when I watched my husband enjoy every minute with our daughter, while I worried over everything which was taking away my joy. I knew something was not right when I laid awake every night after a terrifying nightmare of someone trying to harm us. I had to sleep with lights on everywhere because I was so afraid. I panicked driving home at night to the point where there were times I almost did not make it. I could literally feel my jaw locking and my teeth hurt from the clinching. I felt no safety or security.
I hit the point where I needed help.
Since I have reached out for help I started taking medicine and seeing a counselor several times a month. My jaw is starting to relax. I am starting to feel joy in my life. I am enjoying moments with my daughter, rather than waiting for something terrible to happen. I started to get more sleep, although nightmares still come sometimes. I have even lost some of the weight I had quickly put on. I am starting to feel like me again.
Through counseling I am learning to understand myself a little bit more. I was probably always predisposed to have anxiety. However, there has been a lot of things throughout my life that amplified them. Now that I am in a happy, healthy relationship and have the family I always wanted, some of the terrifying things that happened want to be remembered. I am working on some of the things and it has made me have more panic attacks. However, it is like quitting a bad habit, it is going to be harder before it will ever get better. I try to think of anxiety as an abusive relationship. It wants to control you to your core and turn your life upside down. You have to fight through some pretty difficult things to be able to break that relationship. So I am fighting, like I’ve never fought it before. I survived one abusive relationship and now I have to survive the one that is fighting myself. I will, because I cannot and will not allow something else to control me. If anything good came out of some of the hell I’ve met throughout my life, it is that I am strong. I can be so incredibly weak sometimes, but I will always fight that with my strength.
So for today, I won. Tomorrow I will have to toughen back up to win again. And then the day after that, the same fight. It is a fight I will not give up on because my daughter deserves a Mom who can drive her on the highway and enjoy every minute with her, instead of wasting her time in her head thinking of all the terrible things that can go on. I do not want this life for her and I am going to have to fight it to help her fight it too.
Truth is, I don’t like the body I have right now. I am miserable with it 90% of the time. Right after I had Claire, I dropped a lot of weight very quickly. I felt amazing, not to mention there was no longer a baby putting pressure in 1000 places too. I’ve kept most of the weight off, but my clothes have never fit since having her. I am almost at pre-pregnancy weight but my body is different now. I’ve squeezed myself into a few pairs of jeans, but the lack of oxygen was not pleasant. I wear mostly leggings because I refuse to buy bigger pants. Then there is the skin changes. The stomach that was covered in pin pricks and bruises from all of the shots to get pregnant is now a target made of stretch marks. I made it most of the pregnancy with out them. Then towards the end my hips and stomach got covered in them. I used the creams and everything I could have done, it does not matter. If you’re going to get them; you’re going to get them. Then there is the beautiful scar from where my daughter was born. I actually love my scar, it does not make me sad. It is proof that I went through something tough and in exchange I have the most beautiful gift, my daughter.
I analyze every picture taken of me to see just how “big” I am and how much work I still have to do. I take forever to get ready in the morning because I try so hard to dress nice but nothing satisfies me. I take out so many tops and my bed is scattered in them. Then finally, something makes the cut, but I still do not feel good about it. Sometimes, tears flow because I do not feel confident with who I am. Sometimes I just get flat out mad that I am not thinner. It is so hard to feel confident. I constantly feel like I did pregnancy or life in general wrong. Some people shed the weight and get their body back quickly, others don’t even if they follow a similar lifestyle. I honestly never knew how self-conscious I was until I got pregnant. I worried over every single pound because my doctors brought it up every single time and made me feel that I was not taking care of myself. I worked hard to get pregnant, there was not a chance I was not going to give the baby growing inside of me the best I could. But, I still always felt like I was failing her. I’ve felt like a total let down to my daughter and husband because I do not always feel pretty enough. My husband is amazing, he has to be one of a kind. He does everything to make me feel beautiful. It is a battle in my own mind that has nothing to do with how he treats me. He is so kind to me when I am struggling with myself and it makes a world of different for me. He always talks me up and makes me feel like I am worth loving.
The point of sharing this is I read awhile back something in regards to helping your daughter build self confidence. It said something about how your daughter watches and hears how to treat yourself. I keep playing that in my head now. “Claire is watching and she is listening.” She may only be 4 months, but that does not give me much time to get my act together before she really understands what I say to myself. My heart would break in a million pieces if I saw Claire looking in a mirror assessing herself to determine if she was worthy enough to step out into the world that day .. I do not want that to cross her mind. It might one day, but I want her to have enough confidence to brush it off and be herself, the beautiful soul that she is. I want to show her how to love who you are. I know if I want her to understand that love, I have to model it. I cannot tell her one thing and then do another. I have to figure out how to love this body and to feel confident in it. I am working out again to hopefully help me make it to the goal of getting into my pre-pregnancy jeans and will hopefully teach her how to keep her body healthy. I am trying to watch what I vocalize while trying to change what is said in my head too, which I think is probably the most powerful thing I can do.
The changes to my body brought me my daughter, I could never express how thankful I am for that. Every single thing that has happened is completely worth it all. I’d stay like this forever if I had to, but I do not have to. I can exercise, I can eat right and I can figure out how to love who I am so that my daughter never second guesses herself. Okay…she is going to second guess herself because who doesn’t, but hopefully she will remember how I treat myself and adjust her thoughts about herself. I may never be “skinny” or lose these stretch marks, but I think if I can change how I feel about myself I win either way. So the answer to my question is “yes, I do have to love this new body.” It is mine, it is flawed (in some eyes) but it has carried life and nothing is more beautiful than that. So the battle starts, to change my thinking and to push myself to be a healthier person inside and out.