Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Being the “Fat” Mom

Today’s post is from Caty Dearing who blogs over at Caty is wife to Justin and mom to K and is a high school English teacher where she loves her job and says that it motivates her to be awesome every day. Caty’s blog is a safe space for her and her readers to stretch, grow, and live. She promises honesty in her posts, which as we all know is pretty hard to come by these days.

Being a mom is difficult. No one tells you just how hard it is. The pressure of raising a human being to be kind, intelligent, and gracious is a heavy burden to bear. I remember being pregnant and reading book after book about how to be a good mom. Now, my daughter is 3 years old, and I think that I’m just now learning what difficulties have been present for me as a person, removed from my kiddo and husband. One of these, and probably the biggest one (no pun intended), is my weight.

“Fat” is a no-no word. We use words like “curvy” and “voluptuous” to mask the negative connotations of overweight-ness. Being called fat would have completely broken me a year ago. I’ve spent a lot of time telling myself about my large bone structure and that the curves on my body are just part of who I am. I’ve also spent a lot of time spewing hateful words towards myself, avoiding cameras, and wearing oversized clothes. Years later, I’m finally at a place where I think I’m ready to face the fact that I am not healthy, and to do something about it.

If I’m being 100% honest, I used to judge overweight moms. You know exactly what I’m talking about: the cute child, dressed to the nines, the handsome and fit husband, and the mom who looks like she woke up 15 minutes ago and just barely pulled herself together to be out and about. I remember the condescending tone I used in my head, an almost smug self-declaration of “That will NEVER be me.” Now, here I sit, weighing more today than I did the day before giving birth, and I’m faced with a choice: how will I handle this issue, and what example will I set for the tiny set of eyes watching my every move?

I found the answer at Disney World.

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you know about the Photo Pass feature. If a professional photographer takes your picture, you can scan your Magic Band and the photo immediately becomes accessible. I felt like there was a professional photographer every 10 steps or so! I packed the only clothes that I could feel comfortable in: Disney t-shirts and work out pants. It wasn’t my cutest look.

When we got to Magic Kingdom, a photographer offered to take our picture in front of the castle. She asked Justin and I to squat down beside K, which immediately brought to mind the image of fat rolls, awkward posture, and all of my other insecurities on display. I looked at my daughter’s face, smiling up at me, at the castle…and I smiled. Then, I squatted down and took the picture.

Caty Dearing picture 1

When my daughter is looking through photos of our family, she’s not going to care if I was overweight. She’s going to comment on the fact that I wore ridiculous Mickey ears the whole time, or the facial expression she made when we rode a fast roller coaster. I HAVE to continue to be present in photos, and to speak positively and full of grace towards myself.

At the same time…(here’s where it gets murky)

My body was falling apart the entire trip to Disney. My feet ached, my back hurt, my knees throbbed…due to the extra weight I was carrying around. I struggled to fit under the airplane seatbelt, and in a couple of the seats on some rides. People can argue all day long until their faces turns blue that you can be healthy at whatever weight, but there is no way anyone can convince me that being overweight and the symptoms that come with it are preferable to a less injury-prone existence.

Caty Dearing picture 2

It’s a delicate balance, brutal honesty and loads of grace. And, to be frank, this pairing isn’t an idea I see being preached. It’s not one or the other, people! You can love yourself and still recognize that you aren’t your best self. As a mom, I want to show K that it’s possible to live a healthy lifestyle and not constantly struggle with food or fatigue. But, even more so, as a person, as ME, I want to prove to myself that it’s possible to love myself at 270 without accepting it as my final reality. Because, to me, loving myself means pursuing my best self.

I was the fat mom at Disney World. But I was also the happiest mom at Disney World. Next time we go, I might not look the same, or I might. But I really hope that the changes I am making, both internal and external, are growing within me a person I can be proud of.

What has been your most challenging moment of introspection? How did you respond?




Hi! I'm Jennifer. I'm here in my little corner of southeastern Michigan observing relationships, family, and the world hoping to dig deeper and find the divine spark in it all. Thanks for visiting!

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