Thursday, August 16, 2012

The so called expert

I think I stopped blogging here for a few different reasons. One was that whole having a baby and a toddler thing. Busy. Another reason was that I was just tired of the constant debate about what was wrong with me: is it depression, does she need attention, etc. I'm fine. Really. I just like to write. I like to express my feelings through the things I put down in writing. And I think that body image is an incredibly important topic. One that many of us struggle with for many different reasons. Why do I have to have something wrong with me to want to write about it?

Another reason I stopped was that I felt I had been doing this long enough that I needed to be an expert. I guess I wanted to set myself up that way. Kindof a "been there, done that" sort of deal. But the truth is, I haven't "been there" I am there. I haven't "done that" I'm doing that. Right now. Have I made progress? Yes! Have I arrived? No, and now I begin to wonder if I ever will. Or maybe it's the journey that is important, not arriving. But I didn't feel comfortable blogging as an expert as soon as I tried to make that move. So I stopped blogging. But I missed it.

I didn't gain much weight with my last pregnancy. And honestly, I loved my pregnant body. I loved hearing people tell me I was beautiful. I thought I was too. Yes I was big. I carry very far forward. But I was creating life and it was beautiful. I took better care of myself this pregnancy. For some reason I didn't gain much weight. I convinced myself it would be easier to lose it. I started counting on losing that and all the other weight I was carrying from my first pregnancy. I thought it would be easier this time. And I began to feel like it was important to lose weight.

After Azure was born I did indeed lose the weight I gained with her quickly. In fact within a month it was all gone. But the weight from before, well, it's still hanging around 6 months after her birth. I started seeing all these other women and comparing. I started getting down on myself. "How can she be that thin after 4 kids, I've only had 2 and look at me." My internal dialogue lost any sense of being positive. And even though I fought the back slide, or at least outwardly said I was fighting it, inside I was losing. Inside I had once again bought into the lie that once I was thin I could love myself.

Then the feelings of guilt crept in. I'm a hypocrite. I preach to others that they should love themselves, meanwhile I just want to lose weight no matter what. I started looking at fad diets again. I started wondering about cutting out specific foods to lose weight. And in order to make myself feel like it'd be okay for me to do those things I claimed it was for my health. The pain in my back has been growing worse. Surely if I could lose some weight it would help.

Today it all became very clear. I had a rotten morning. I was mad at the world. I was grumpy with my children. I was disgusted with myself. And I suddenly realized how much I'd been obsessing over my weight. I realized how it was effecting everything from my happiness, to my abilities as a mother, to my relationship with my husband. Suddenly it became clear. I had fallen off the wagon and it was time to stop pretending like I know it all and to get back on.

And then I cried a little. I cried because I was frustrated that I had slid back so far. I cried because I was upset at myself for giving in. I cried because I am tired of the fight. And then I cried because I was so relieved to realize what was happening to me. I cried because I knew I had trodden this road before and it would be easier this time. And I cried because I suddenly realized that arriving may never happen, but that the journey is well worth the effort.

Then I picked myself up. Put together a fun craft for my toddler and me to do together. Cuddled my sweet baby. And told her again that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. And I told her that mommy would do better. I looked at my children and remembered that in order for them to learn to love themselves they have to see me loving myself first, and I realized that they are saving me. And I understand now how much we can help each other along this path.

Oh yes, and I remembered that I am indeed beautiful.