Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting Past The Woman in the Mirror (Loving My Fat Self)

Overweight. 

Nobody really wants to be that. Just saying that word makes me feel a little uncomfortable. 

But that's what I am.

I've got at least 60 lbs on this body that I don't need or want.

I look in the mirror each morning and adjust each outfit so it better hides my muffin top, and tilt my head downward so that my near-double chin is less obvious. Then I apply make-up and wear a bright scarf and hope that drawing attention to my face and neck will take people's eyes off my thighs.

But I also do something else:

Before I leave the mirror and go on with the day, I smile.

"There. That's better." I always think.

Why? Because I don't have to be miserable even though I'm fat:

I used to look in the mirror and think, "You need to eat only salad and work out for a month." 

The thing is, that was 70 lbs ago! 

I used to hate my body.  I used to feel guilty every time I ate fries. I used to obsess, and pinch my little tummy bulge and hurl insults at myself to motivate me to just work it off, tone it up, to be better.

"I'll be happier when I'm skinny," I thought.

Then I got married.  
I got married to Joseph, who told me how beautiful I was to him. I stood there in my wedding dress, feeling fat and unworthy.

Of course, I'd been hurling insults at myself in the mirror since I was 12, so it's no wonder it took me a long time to believe that Joseph actually meant what he said.

Then I got pregnant. I gained 50 lbs. Five,  zero. 

I knew I'd utterly failed in the body department.  My induction of labour and subsequent c-section, then trouble with nursing my oldest child only furthered my hatred of my body.

This fat body that wouldn't even give birth normally or feed a baby like it was supposed to.

I spent the next year losing and regaining the same 15 lbs.  My husband still called me beautiful, and said, "I just want you to be healthy and strong."

Diets were fleeting and exercise irregular. I was a full-time student, a new mother and overwhelmed.

Then my Dad died, and I lost it all. 50 lbs gone in 2 months. It was a combination of grief, stress and being pregnant with Carter, our second boy.

It was during that pregnancy that things changed for me.  I had researched how to have a natural birth after a c-section. I got accepted to a great midwifery practice.  Those women encouraged me to trust my body to do what it needed to, not only to sustain a little life, but to bring him into the world.

I gained 20 lbs that pregnancy, and had a long but wonderful birth.  I fully breastfed my baby. I was satisfied, finally, with my body's ability to mother.

Before the birth of Carter, I started doing a weird thing.

I'd stand in front of the mirror and tell myself I could do this.  I was a mama tiger, I was feirce, and strong.  My body was amazing and wonderful. I could birth this baby.

It was in this process of acceptance and awe at what my body was capable of, that I began to realize that all those pounds gained and lost were not me. Well, they were a part of my body, but they did not define who I was. 

They were just weight. 

They didn't have power, I had power. 

They did not have to mean misery and dissatasfaction.

I think marriage to Joseph and giving birth 3 times has played a huge role in my discovery that I am beautiful, and that happiness is possible even without my ideal body.

I wish though that I'd realized this a long time ago.  

I wish I could go back to my 12-year-old self and say, "Hey there, you're not fat or ugly. You are beautiful and lovely, strong and capable, and all you need to do to be more attractive is just be you and smile more."

I don't have to hate myself because 10 months after our third baby, Zachary, I still look 5 months pregnant. 

No, I don't really like when people ask if I'm expecting again.  I also don't like not fitting clothes, or being everybody's fat friend. 

But I love me. 

I'm a work in progress, trying to find balance with a lot of things, including diet, exercise and wellness.

While I'm on my way to a better physical being, my soul is not dispairing.

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  
                                     Philippians 4:13








Friday, November 21, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 25

Linking up with Kelly today. Go on over to find other more interesting bloggers.

ONE:
We are sick. Or, I should say, we are still sick, because we haven't been all well at the same time since September.  Which happens to coincide with the beginning of Patrick's attendance of preschool.

It may be universally acknowledged that a child who enters pre-school must be ready to recieve all the germs... 

But here I must rant, because a full two and a half months of alternating colds and flu despite my hypervigilance about healthy food, exercise, enough rest, getting the flu shot, and pumping the family full of vitamins and probiotics is ridiculous. 

And I fully blame the unenforced rule that sick kids must be symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school. 

"Okay honey, just cover your mouth and don't cough on the other kids! Byyeee!" Says "always-has-a-fresh-manicure" to her snot-nosed four-year-old (aka human Petri dish of virus), then ducks her head and runs out the door. Because clearly her 2.5 hours kid-free is way more important than the health of the other kids and their families. 

Ok so that was judgemental, but I know gel nails when I see 'em.

I just got an email today though that the teachers will be sending home children with symptoms of illness from now on, due to other parent's concerns over seeing sick kids in attendance... 
We'll see how that goes.
End rant.

TWO:

Despite all the illness, Patrick is loving preschool.
Ever the extrovert, he says his favourite thing about it is, "All the kids to talk to."

The benefit for me is that I get to hang out with Carter - which means that I drink coffee, read books and let my introverted child play by himself while the baby naps.
I thought Carter would suffer a bit without Patrick around, but I was wrong, thankfully. Carter likes time without Patrick as "director of the fun" and it's cool to see him grow more independent. And it's blissfully quiet for an hour+!

THREE:

During that quiet morning time I've been reading for an hour or so while I put the baby down and then while Carter is playing and doesn't need me. In September I revisited the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time since high school. 

I think I'll write a whole post about it, but upon rereading, I saw just how much my own growth and maturity as a married, university-educated mom cast a different light on the Anne stories.

In my teens I was preoccupied with the romance of Anne and Gilbert, and all like, "Come onnn! Realize that Gilbert loves you and punch Christine Stuart in the face!"

This time I had a new appreciation for the reality and depth L.M. Montgomery wrote into her characters.

FOUR:

My newfound love for Anne added to my enjoyment to Christy and Haley's podcast Fountains of Carrots. 

If you're doing dishes or laundry and wish you could sit down for coffee with two of your besties and talk about Austen and Anne, go have a listen. 

FIVE:

Carter turned 3 on the 11th of November. So we had an actual party for him. It was in the evening and we had all the kids come for a pyjama party.
We had super simple decorations: what you see below plus some helium balloons in the middle of the table - I'm going to hang this bunting in the baby's room, so it's going to serve another purpose! 
I even cut out little felt pjs and hung them on some yarn with mini clothespins, but that got destroyed before I could get a photo.


So kids arrived in pjs, we ate "breakfast" for dinner; Sausage, pancakes, bacon and eggs, all cooked by Joseph, and a big ol' pile of grapes, at Carter's request. 
We decorated mini vanilla chamomile tea cupcakes (which saved me decorating a cake), read a story (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) sang some songs (5 Little Monkeys and Twinkle, Twinkle), then Joseph sang the kids a Carter fave, Cowboy Donkey, and that was that.  Carter really loved it.



SIX:
Advent is fast-approaching, and I'm actually prepared.  I've gotten most of the Christmas shopping done, and have a little plan in my head for some prayer activities each day with the kids, and the very best thing, I was able to order Jesse Tree ornaments from two local moms. I'll be Instagramming our advent adventures at jjcyr, so follow along if you like.

SEVEN:
I have the gift of being able to get all boys to nap at the same time, so since I am under the weather myself, I'm going to indulge in some quality time in my bed with Netflix till I fall asleep. #sickdaywin 

Have a lovely weekend!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This blog is back!

After a 3-month hiatus, I am coming back to blogging.

My reasons for a blogging vacay were three-fold:

I left it for awhile due to not having a computer anymore - blogging on my phone, while possible, is just really time consuming.  Then, when that problem was resolved, I had just... No drive. 

I was seriously debating joining the workforce back in September and putting my hard-earned degree and training as a journalist to good use. For monetary gain that is... I actually use my university-gained knowledge a lot at home. But I ultimately decided we would carry on with me in the home, because my heart ached too much at the thought of not being there for the boys.

Then there's the whole inner-mommy-blogger angst I was having over being trained as a journalist - like being a real professional writer - and all I was doing with that was piddling away at a minuscule blog.  I needed to "develop" to blog "properly" as a trained professional, and somehow climb my way to "Queen of the Interwebz" if I really wanted to "succeed" at blogging. Or so I thought. 

But I'd lost sight of why I was blogging.
This post right here? This post by Bonnie at A Knotted Life is what convinced me I should just hop back in the blog pool.  That, and the fact that while I was away from blogging, I thought about blogging maybe 10 times a day.

I like it. That's the main thing. I like having a platform (or soap-box) for stating coherent thoughts. Or sharing my personal life with far-away family and friends. That's all there is to it. 

So here we go. Welcome back to the place where I write things.