These pictures are hard for me to post, but I am posting them because I think there is an important conversation to be had here. To be honest, I wasn’t going to ever let them see the internet….. where they will live….. probably forever, but then I remembered a conversation my husband and I had a few nights ago. And another thought I had a few months ago.
A few nights ago I mentioned to my husband that my family was considering doing some more family pictures around Christmas. I was excited to get pictures that included Ranen (our last photos were done just after Lyra’s first birthday), but I also was scared to get them. I told him that I looked at out last family photos and felt sad. Sad about me and how I looked. I didn’t want to be sad about the new ones. I knew that I would feel the same way looking like I do now. I told him that I didn’t want photos of who I am today. And my husband said, “but what if I do?”
A few months ago I was ordering photos to put on our walls and, while picking out a number of great ones on my husband and the kids, I realized there were none of me. I thought back to a beloved picture of my mom carrying me in a backpack, and I wondered “what if my children look back and they don’t have a single picture like that of me?” It would make me sad, and yet, I never keep pictures of myself.
I’ve never been confident about my looks, even as an athlete. On top of having a slow metabolism, I have struggled with anxiety, and I am a stress eater. While I was able to keep some of that in check while I remained active, having a medically fragile/high needs child has sent me spiraling. Between a lack of available time to exercise, stress, anxiety, trauma, and a genuine love for good food and cooking…… I don’t always make the best nutritional choices.
So, this is where I am.
I am trying to learn to not make value judgements about myself based on my weight and my eating (“I was bad today because I ate _________.” “I am not a good mom because I look so unhealthy.” etc). I don’t make those judgements about other people, and I’m not sure why I struggle so much to not make them about myself. I can see a large woman and think “wow, she looks beautiful”, but when I see a smiling photo of myself I feel embarrassed and think “this isn’t worth keeping.”
But if my photo isn’t worth keeping, then what am I teaching my children? And what if I don’t leave any of those memories behind for them, or for me? What am I teaching my nieces? If I talk to myself that way, how am I teaching other people to talk to me? And what if my husband wants those moments? And wants me present as I am now? Why am I the one rejecting who I am now? Why can’t I view myself as a good person now, and not wait to label myself as a “better” person once I lose some weight? Why not give myself some grace and recognize that I have a lot going on? That doesn’t mean that I can’t try to exercise or try to eat smaller portions. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to work on my mental health and my internal talk. But those things take time, and I shouldn’t delete who I am now, because a lot of people are happy to have who I am now, here.
So. Here I am now. Well…. earlier today.
Pictures taken with the kids separately because it’s impossible to get them both to hold still at the same time*