As far back as I can remember, my mother would comment about how her girls were lucky. We wouldn’t endure our parents’ weight struggles. Then puberty hit and my luck ran out — or so I believed.
My parents tried their best to instil confidence within me, but growing up a fat girl in southern California was challenging. While I’m quite certain kids everywhere are mean, I was bullied a lot in school. I was touched, but never loved. I deeply believed that I should be ashamed of my body.
On the cusp of my 19th birthday, I moved to Colorado on my own. I was craving something beyond the plastic utopia where I grew up. Years passed by, but not a lot changed.
It took me a long time to realise the main bully I was trying to escape was actually me. I saw her each time I looked in the mirror. The girl I tormented.
I’ll never forget the night I wanted McDonald's but was on a random radical diet for the hundredth time. As I returned home from the drive-thru, I was so mad at myself. I proceeded to strip naked and ate my food sitting in front of a full-length closet mirror. It was my punishment. Many of the details escape me, but I will forever remember one thing — how sad and desperate I appeared.
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Things became a little better as I allowed myself to be loved by a wonderful man. He adored me, but I still couldn't feel the same way about myself.
We became engaged when I was 28. As we were planning our wedding, I taped a sign to my office door — "Please do not feed the bride." At the time I thought it was funny. I now realise it was as equally destructive as eating McDonald’s naked in front of a mirror.
Following our wedding, I had a deep desire to become a mother. I also felt pressure to lose a significant amount of weight.
Two months after my 30th birthday, my husband and I were thrilled to find out I was expecting. Like most new mums-to-be, I jumped on the Internet. I signed up for weekly updates telling me what kind of fruit my baby compared to in size. I also Googled "plus-size and pregnant." To my dismay, I read that I would develop gestational diabetes and have a C-section. Essentially, large women are horrible people for wanting to become mothers. The internet was far crueler than the bullies of my childhood.