Being a mom isn’t easy, from what I hear. I’m not a mom and I don’t have plans to be one. That doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the women who choose or may not choose to be one. I think there are many great moms out there. People acknowledge that moms do a lot for their families, but I don’t think they truly think about the toll it can take on someone.
This is Amanda’s story. She’s a mom and it sounds like she’s working hard to be the best one she can be.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had known my then boyfriend for over eight years, but we had only been together as a couple less than a year. It wasn’t planned- in fact, I didn’t even want kids, at all.
During the first three months of pregnancy, we moved him into my house and dealt with him not having a job since the one he had kinda screwed him. I was working as a clinical scientist at a hospital and was doing so much overtime. I worked a hour away so most days I was leaving the house at 5 am and coming home around 11:45 pm. It was so rough on me. I always had a horrible relationship with food, so I turned to that to help fill that void that I thought I had. I told myself “oh, you’re eating for two now, this is ok”. A couple months later I ended up going into early labor at 27 weeks. Luckily, they were able to stop the labor and I was allowed home, but I no longer could continue to work and I was put on bed rest. By this time my now fiancé (he proposed few weeks after we found out about being pregnant) had a job.
Again, I turned to even more food because I was home. I cried almost everyday because I hated how big I was getting. Everyone kept telling me it was all because of the belly, but I knew my eating a whole pizza by myself was not helping.
After going through labor and delivery (which was the easiest part out of this), I became so anxiety ridden. We planned our wedding to be July 11, that was only three months after having Zelda. I didn’t even fit into my wedding dress – I had to get it taken out a lot. I hated myself for that. I didn’t do anything about it though, I tried, but food was always there. Late night bottle feedings turned into late night snacking sessions. I look back at my wedding photos and I can’t stand them.
Around October of last year, I started to really try and workout and eat better. I had to get up at 3 am to workout and shower and get ready for work. As days went on, I was seeing some difference, but not much. My husband and I started talking about having another baby and we agreed to try sooner than later. Since I was already working out I knew I could at least be more active than I was in the first pregnancy.
Well, we had a miscarriage. It hit us both very hard. I spiraled into a depression and gave up on myself again. I blamed myself. My husband created another Instagram and began following all these women. He was even conversing with one, telling her how she is beautiful and everything else. I found out and was so upset.
How could someone do this to me when I am feeling like this? When he hasn’t even told me I was beautiful that day?
Our marriage, I thought was doomed. Here I was, trying to get healthy and he was off doing that – so once again, I turned to food. Food and my daughter were the only things that were keeping me grounded. Months went by and a lot of discussions were had with my husband. We luckily were able to make it through all that, but the emotional damage had been done. I didn’t feel worthy. I would order food, eat it, and then cry because I felt so gross. I was gradually loosing weight, but it was because of depression.
In April, shortly after my daughter turned one, I was diagnosed with having stress related seizures so I stopped working and became a stay at home mom. This time though, I tried focusing my energy into being stronger instead of filling a void with food. I really was starting to eat right and with My Fitness Pal, I found it so easy. I started to workout each day and I was feeling good about myself.
I fixed my physical self and that is a struggle each day to do, but I had never focused on my mental health. I’ve learned that in order to be a great mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc I have to not only be strong physically, but mentally. Lately, I’ve been working on my mental health and seeing how far that can get me. I want my daughter to see her mom as someone who is strong on the inside and out. I want to give her a role model and show her that if you honestly put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want ( as cheesy as it sounds). She’s my life, she gives me all my motivation, and I want to be able to give her as much of my life time as I can. The only way to do that is to make sure I am healthy physically and mentally.
I hope all moms know that their arms are made for more than lifting babies- they can definitely lift those weights too.