As a little girl I didn’t have a care in the world when it came to my appearance. My life consisted of playing outside, eating whatever I wanted, and trying to keep up with my older brothers. I can remember having taco eating contests with my brothers. As a 9 year old, I could somehow eat close to ten tacos in one sitting. I always was the first to grab a treat from the snack drawer and I loved when my school served cinnamon roles at lunch. As a little girl I didn’t care what I looked like. I actually convinced my mom in 1st grade to let me have a bull cut because that is what my brothers had at the time. I felt loved by my friends and family and “looks” were the last thing on my mind.
I started to put on weight when I entered 4th grade. I still was really well liked at school so it didn’t seem to bother me. Once I hit 6th grade I was one of the bigger girls in my grade. I had broken my foot and couldn’t exercise like I was used to. I was still liked, but not in the same way. Boys started ignoring me and the popular girls started to hang out with girls who were much prettier than me. I can remember the first time someone called me chubby…it was the first time I was embarrassed about the way I looked. My mom and dad started to notice how unhealthy my eating had been and encouraged me to start eating healthier. I was able to lose 15 pounds in 6th grade. I was really happy with my accomplishment, but I had developed an insecurity about the way I looked.
As I got older, I started to fall back into my bad eating habits. From 8th grade to 10th grade I gained 50 pounds. I had a great family and wonderful friends, but my insecurities were growing. I remember hating what I saw when I looked in the mirror…It was Thanksgiving of my sophomore year in high school that I decided that I would never be fat again. My goal was to lose 5 pounds. Once I lost that 5 pounds, my goal was to lose another 5 pounds. Before I knew it I had become obsessed with losing weight. I would count calories and work out endlessly for hours. Before going to a restaurant I would look up their menu and find out what food had the least amount of calories. I remember skipping meals and punishing myself with extra workouts if I ate anything that was on my “bad list.” I didn’t tell anyone what was going on because frankly I thought this is what it meant to be healthy…
By the time I was 18 years old I only weighed 90 something pounds. People had definitely started to notice I had a problem. Lots of people in my life started to question me and I always had an excuse. I would tell people that I knew I was too skinny even though deep down inside I still saw myself as fat. Each time I would look in the mirror I would see saggy arms and that stupid pouch on my stomach that NEVER would go away.
Here is me at 18 (notice I was tan because I that would be the answer to being more beautiful as well.)
Long story short…my insecurities led to a lot of other problems as well as depression. Being skinny didn’t make me happy. I sought to be accepted and I didn’t view myself as the beautiful girl God had created me to be. I eventually gained the weight I needed to in order to be healthy, but weight and food were always on my mind. By the time I was married I had learned to be a healthy weight and knew how to be skinny, but not too skinny.
Jaber and I had talked about wanting to have a family. We both were excited and we knew that we couldn’t wait to have kids. The more I thought about meeting that little person the happier I got. Once I got pregnant, we were absolutely thrilled. A few weeks into my pregnancy though I started gaining weight. I absolutely FREAKED out. My mind started to race and I knew I had to overcome this and not turn back to my old ways. My unborn child’s health depended on it. I knew that if I withheld food from myself, that I would also be withholding food from my child. I felt guilty throughout each week. I fought for Zane my entire pregnancy. Each time I would step on the scale I would remind myself that Zane was more important than the way my body looked. Each time I would think about skipping a meal I would force myself to eat more. I remember being so mad at myself for this being so difficult. WHY on earth did I care SO much?? Why did my mind constantly attack me with thoughts of food and weight? Was I going to make it??
Well friends, I made it!! I fought for Zane and he was born at 8 pounds 8 ounces. He was PERFECTLY healthy. I gained a total of 44 pounds, but gained so much more than just weight. When I first looked at Zane I cried and realized that he was WAY better than me being skinny. Zane helped me overcome my eating disorder. He showed me that there is so much more to life than weight. He forced me to focus on something other than myself. He helped me to learn that people love the real me. No one cares that my body has stretch marks or that I don’t fit into any of my old clothes. No one cares if I am pale or tan. People love me for me. People can relate to me because I am just like every other woman…flawed yet beautiful! I smile when I look at my pictures now. This is me at 40 weeks pregnant:
When I look at this picture I don’t see weight…I see Zane!! My body was able to give him all he needed and without that weight gain it wouldn’t have been possible. For the first time in my life I am happy I gained weight. To this day I haven’t lost all of the baby weight but that’s okay!! When I was skinny I never was satisfied…but now I have a family of my own that loves me exactly for who I am.
For all of you women out there…you are beautiful!! If you are pregnant, don’t let weight gain get you down. You are creating a beautiful life…your child. Give that baby all they need! And for you women who have postpartum bodies like myself…embrace it. Your body did an AMAZING thing. Each time you start to get down just take a look over at the beautiful baby of yours. They are SURE to make you smile 🙂
Thank you Lord for this sweet boy that changed my life in more ways than I ever thought possible…