This week is the Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I have been thinking long and hard about something to share about my own struggle with an eating disorder and body image. However, as fate has it, things took me to a different direction, one as vulnerable yet powerful as I am today.
Have you ever apologised to your spouse or partner for something you have said or done? How about for something you did to yourself? Have you ever said I'm sorry to yourself?
A few weeks ago, I caught myself apologising in my mind to my husband for gaining weight since our wedding. You want to know the worst part? I later apologised out loud to him for it, feeling like the worst wife ever for having failed to "pull my side of the deal" and ultimately not staying in the weight I was when we got married. How about that? Have you ever felt the same?
After that episode, I have been feeling particularly aware of the changes in my body after my second pregnancy. The softness of my abdomen, the increase in my hips, the stretch marks and jiggliness in my thighs, the fact that my arms aren't defined and ripped anymore... All the things that have changed in these over 3 years. I realised I felt ashamed, I felt I failed him.
But today something happened. While I was taking an ultra quick shower (what I call a mummy shower), I started counting and rambling about how many kilos I could lose in the next months without hindering my milk supply, what size I could reach if I got super focused and strict and started training (like a maniac) again, but it wasn't out of wanting to reach a goal for me, it was thinking about him and how I have failed him... And then it hit me: what was I doing?!?! What the actual funk was I thinking?!?! Why was I doing this to myself (AGAIN)?!?!
So I stopped myself for a second and froze all the weight, size and similar ramblings and started asking some pretty painful questions: why was I measuring my value over that little number on the scale? How come after all the tears, talks, moments of wisdoms and more I was back where I lived for so long, limiting myself this way? Why was I letting the voice in my head that loves bullying my greater self speak louder? How could I limit myself like this?
As I didn't have loads of time to ponder these questions (after all, mummy showers are around 3 minutes max in between nursing sessions, diaper changes and naps!) I decided to work through them more with time, because I could see how raw some emotions were... I could (and still can) feel the pain within me.
You see, this isn't the first time that I have felt unworthy of him due to my weight. The truth is that when #MrBrown and I met, I was obese. I might have softened that by saying I was chubby, but the reality was that I was obese. I had a pretty nasty diet, was dependant on a bunch of over the counter pills to function and, after over 20 years dieting and hating my body, I was only beginning to make lifestyle changes in order to live a happier and healthier life.
I still remember when, after dating for a few months, I suddenly realised he was really interested in me and my first reaction was to wonder what was wrong with him, how could a man as handsome, sophisticated and awesome as him be interested in me, how could that be. But he was... And even though I never doubted it, I always felt undeserving, and so it made sense to want to at least lose weight so I could be a little closer to his league.
Now, let me be clear, I have not discussed this at length with #MrBrown, but after 5 years together, 2 beautiful sons and so many amazing moments shared, I'm pretty sure he'll dismiss this as pure craziness because he loves me regardless of the number on the scale. But this, nonetheless, has been part of my reality all these years too.
So here I am. Today. Almost nine weeks after the birth of our second child and feeling myself going down that oh-so-familiar track of self-loading, working on keeping my focus somewhere else whilst keeping this side of myself as a secret. After all, how is it that a Holistic Wellness Coach who devotes her days to empowering women (moms particularly!) has these thoughts and fears? How is it that I can be so far from my message? Well I'm not. In essence I'm not.
The truth is I'm a work in progress and the more I heal, the more healing gets pushed my way. My personal battles with weight and self-esteem are like that subject in college that you struggled with over and over, but each time it got more difficult (full disclosure, for me it was Statistics).
In the end, I believe we all have that one thing that keeps pushing our buttons time and time again to prompt us to heal, to question our choices and ultimately to grow and evolve. And now, as my mind wonders off during my long nursing sessions, my days are less physically busy and my time somewhat empty of work, it gets easier for the brain to go into the old patterns it used to take... A little like going back to the familiarity that the pain I lived in for so long was.
I know there's a long and rocky road ahead for me to regain my healthy and strong body back. I know I'll work hard to recovered the nutrients I gave to my babies in each pregnancy as well as to get back all the muscle I lost whilst not working out, but I'm choosing to stop focusing on recovering a size and a weight, on cutting my curves to fit into a smaller mould... I'm done with that.
The reality is I’m flawed. I’m broken. I’m messy. I have all these little triggers and fears. I have done silly things and made loads of mistakes. Yet, I’m whole. I’m real. I’m complex. I’m vulnerable and genuine with my extra weight, curvier body and scars and bumps. In the end, I’m MY own perfect.