How are you? You look great!
Well, that's a loaded bag. All in all, things are good. I'm so grateful for the positive things in my life. My kids are healthy and really wonderful. Bobby is doing well and really advancing closer to his chronological age in development; Maya is my little mommy and always wants to help, be it with cooking, cleaning, or watching Michael play while I do something; and Michael, in addition to being a dream, relaxed baby, is a nursing champion! I love volunteering as an assistant coach with our CYO Cross Country team- those kids are extensions of my own. The nights I am with them are so fulfilling and I get so excited to see them push towards their goals. As far as writing goes, holding the promotionals for one book (and the book itself!) and getting to work on the publisher editing of the second, is pretty cool, even if I wonder where I will ever find the time to actually do the edits! Not to mention that I still have a project that I'm due to send them that I haven't quite finished. (I need about 4 more hours in the day I think...) But, that's all good stuff. I cant complain.
But, don't worry, I can complain. Well, not really complain. Obsess? I don't know. I'm 50 shades of blue over here at times.
I wont say that I'm struggling with PPD (postpartum depression). I know women who have gone through that and, from the outside looking in, I don't think that what I'm feeling comes close. I've promised myself that, if I cant shake how I feel by the time I see Dr. B. in November, I'll talk to him about it. (The body needs 8-12 weeks post delivery to get the out of whack hormones kind of back to normal, so I'm trying to keep that in mind.) Not once have I thought negative thoughts about the kids- they are actually the one piece of perfection in the puzzle. But about myself? Oh man... I'm pretty much a full on self-loather at times. (Most times?)
The rational part of my mind knows that the things I'm beating myself up over should be non-issues. I know that. And yet? I cant stop. And the not-stopping leads to self-hating which leads to self-punishment and so on... Vicious cycle.
So, what am I so hard on myself for? You guessed it: my weight. Rational me says "It took 9 months to gain the 55 pounds, don't expect to lose them in 9 weeks." Irrational part of me says "It's 9 weeks since Michael was born and you still are carrying around 30 extra pounds!" Rational me encourages my good eating and exercising whenever I can, understanding that, with a new person to care for, getting out for an hour run every day isn't really likely. Irrational me beats myself up over not getting out and wants to reach for whatever is handy to shove in my mouth (like a second PB&J or a box of candy, etc). Rational me gets that my body has changed and that, until I'm able to run like I was, getting into a pair of size 8s is not going to happen- and that's okay. Rational me also understands that breastfeeding tatas aren't going to be comfortable in those medium tops and wont fit in some of them! Hey! Viva Las Tatas! Wear a bigger size and enjoy the fact that you are nourishing another human! Be happy that you've packed away your maternity clothes because they were too big! Irrational me is so frustrated by the size 14s that I'm currently sporting and the large shirts that are hanging in my closet. Rational me realizes that the number on the scale is going down and that going down slowly is the right way for it to go, both for me and for Michael. Irrational me gets physically nauseous and has panic attacks when the "2" is the first number (even if the second number is a "0").
See what I mean? Completely irrational craziness.
Every comment of "You don't look like you just had a baby", "You look great for having just had a baby", "I cant believe you are running already", etc, should be something that helps my self confidence. Instead, I hear the voice in my head coming back with awful things. How could you let yourself top 200 pounds again- you promised yourself you'd never do that! You are so slow... 12 minute miles? You need to run FASTER. Look at yourself in the mirror... All those fat rolls. You need to work out harder. And, when the negative thoughts come? The hand reaches for the proverbial cookie jar. Because how better to deal with hating yourself that feeding into that hate- literally.
It is mostly manifesting as food related issues, but I've also had a fair amount of panic attacks with benign things, like the telephone. I'm not really a talk-on-the-phone kind of girl. I prefer texts and emails (or real letters), or even better, real life conversation over coffee! to chatting on the phone. Recently, when my phone rings, I get an instant sense of panic. I know why it started and, now that the issue has been resolved, it should go away. But it hasn't. (We had to add Michael to our insurance- typical post-baby stuff. Peter had 60 days to do so and, because he and I are complete opposites when it comes to due dates, he had no issue waiting until near the end of that period, while I would have done it while I was still in the Post Partum Unit! Because of that delay, the hospital kept calling to find out when it was going to be done, etc., and because my number is always the primary (even though Peter handles all the insurance issues because it's through his employer), I was always the person dealing with them. They were always nice and understanding (they get the whole 60 day thing) and were just doing their job to follow-up, but just talking to them would set me off on a food rampage because I'd be so stressed out by the phone call. Hence, the panic attacks starting whenever the phone would ring.
I wrote a post years ago about the mind of an obese person. About the struggle of looking in the mirror and seeing the beauty of being me rather than the "fat person" I saw (regardless of my weight)... about the struggle of being an overeater even when I had that compulsion in check. I knew, as I gained the weight during pregnancy, that the disfunction I have when it comes to food and weight would be here after Michael was born. Yet, even knowing it would be here, I don't think I was prepared for just how loud the angry, anti-me voice would be. It's hard. It's awful. There's no pill or quick fix. I know that... I know it's something I have to work through and that it is a voice I have to be louder than to silence. But damn... It's tough. And I'm feeling it.
It's difficult because, while I can talk to Peter about it, he doesn't really "get it", or at least, it doesn't feel like he does. He can tell me that I look great, that this isn't an issue, that I need to give myself time. But I don't know that he really understands how much I need to run or exercise in order to keep the nasty internal dialogue at bay. Funny enough, I don't mind the scale the day after I run because the number doesn't get to me. The simple act of getting out there and running keeps the self-loathing away. The day that I don't work out? Or, worse, the day that I plan on doing so and then something comes up that I cant? It's awful. It's wanting to hurt myself (by eating- don't worry, nothing more sinister than that) awful.
Case in point: Saturday, post party. I needed to run. Michael was napping, the kids were eating lunch, and I asked Peter if he minded if I ran after I put them to nap. No problem. Thanks to the craziness that is twin 3-almost-4 year olds, the screaming banshees woke up Michael on their way to their bedroom to sleep. Now, in my mind, Peter would handle the baby and I'd be able to steal a half hour for myself. As soon as I'd gotten the twins down and was ready to go out, Peter hands me a fussy, hungry baby. I wanted to cry. I pump milk so Michael has food when I'm coaching or running so, to me, there was an option. But what made it worse was Peter going to take a nap. I was through the roof, battling between wanting to cry because I needed that half hour run so badly and wanting to scream because I was so angry that he went to take a nap! (I was tired, too... Michael had actually had an all night nursing session from 1:30am on...) While I was angry at Peter, the self-hatred was worse. So, what did I do? I ate. I held Michael on one arm, nursing, and rummaged through the kitchen for whatever I could easily find. (I was actually hungry, since I hadn't eaten lunch in anticipation of running, so that just fueled the fire.) By the time I woke up Sunday and stepped on the scale, 3 pounds heavier than Saturday's number, the events of Saturday just continued to push and push the loathing.
Sounds nuts, doesn't it?
The good thing is that I do realize what is going on and I know how to deal with it (keeping with positive eating, finding time to get in that half hour run regardless of what else is happening, making sure to get enough sleep even when we have the all-night diner routine because of growth spurts, continuing to volunteer with things like XC and racing (ALSF and the NICU run are coming up!) I just have to put on my big girl panties (realizing they'll be mediums again in no time!) and do it.
It's not about the weight- I knew that when I made the changes in my life a few years ago: it's about being healthy. Being healthy post-partum is a completely different take on what it's like to be healthy outside of pregnancy. It's something I never expected to deal with and the shock of the hormonal changes, nursing, and living with a newborn are all adding into the struggles of having an addictive, overeating personality.
I haven't written here in a while because this struggle has left me feeling sad and, at times, like a fraud. When I mentioned that to Peter, he encouraged me to open up and post about this. Writing it has been difficult, but it's been cathartic too. Hopefully, by putting this into words, I'll be better able to focus on enjoying being me, even in this part of the journey, and I'll stop looking so hard at the numbers on the scale when the woman in the mirror is, truly, happier than she has been in a long time.