Sunday, June 15
I discovered the well-rounded mama blog tonight. She’s the author of Plus-Size Pregnancy. After reading through the blog, I sent her this e-mail:
I just discovered the blog tonight. I really appreciate that you look at fat women and pregnancy and how being fat increases women’s risk of poor treatment and discrimination. I just really wanted to share a story with you that may encourage you to take your discussion beyond childbirth.
My mom is overweight; she gained weight with each pregnancy (four live births and two miscarriages). She now hates her size. I think she looks beautiful; she sees herself as much bigger than she really is. I tell you this because her perception of herself has had a big influence on how she treats me. I’ve been overweight for practically all my life. My siblings are much thinner. I think it’s because that as the oldest, I got the brunt of Mom’s hatred of herself projected on me. It hasn’t stopped now that I’m an adult and married.
I weigh about 360 pounds. I’m in fairly good health; I passed a physical 30 pounds ago with flying colors. However, Mom has frequently told me that if I have children, I won’t be able to “keep after them.” She says I have no energy and stamina and that my weight will hold me back from being a good parent. She keeps telling me stories of fat women she sees at work (she’s a nurse in a family practice) and how they are such sad specimens of humanity (my interpretation, not her words). She also tells me about one of her friends, who is an “armchair parent”: she sits on the couch or wherever and tells her children to do things instead of doing things with them.
I would hope that I won’t be a parent like Mom keeps suggesting, but since that is all I’ve heard, that is all that fills my head. My husband tells me I’ll be a great mom, but I’m still uncertain. What does a fat parent look like? How do fat mothers move beyond pregnancy into taking care of children while also taking care of themselves? Do fat parents continue to receive poor/critical treatment from medical personnel after they give birth? Does it ever stop?
What do you think?