Tuesday, June 2, 2009

something to think about

Motherhood: it’s an experience fraught with contradictions. It is at once beautiful and messy, exhilarating and exhausting, amazing and agonizing. It is a winding journey that is so filled with certainty and uncertainty, with self-confidence and self-doubt that most of us never really know which way is up (or down for that matter … although crunch a Lego with your bare foot in the middle of the night and you’ll quickly remember).

That said, it is amazing to me that once we cross that threshold from womanhood to motherhood, that we don’t automatically assume a “solidarity” type of mentality. I think supporting our fellow mamas should complete our transformation — wider hips, droopy boobs, empathy for anyone who sleeps with Cheerios in the bed and wears snot remnants on her sleeve.

I’m the first to admit that my automatic compassion switch didn’t flick “on” when Cooper came out. But an e-mail I received tonight has made it clear that I need to super glue, nail, duct tape my switch to the full and upright position … I don’t ever want to be responsible for making another mom feel the way I do right now:

“You and Chris cannot tell me how much you love little Cooper UNTIL you show yourselves that you love him enough to stop the food addiction cycle.”

This is just a small portion from an e-mail written in response to a recent blog entry I posted on Fat Chants.

It is the only sentence that matters.

I believe in my heart of hearts that the sender wrote out of love and concern. I know the intentions were good. But daring to question my love for my son … that simply negates any good that was intended.

I’m truly at a loss …


Anonymous said...

head up lil mommie--let everyone speak their opinion-they deserve that right, but deep in your heart you have to follow what you BELIEVE is the truth. Love for your child is NEVER negated or tarnished by the comments of others. The best advice I have ever received is to "let those people who drag you down, walk away"...life is tooo short and precious to allow negative thoughts to invade your being...so just walk on my sweet daughter--you know what you believe and trust in that. lovemimi

Minette said...

Tessa, I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. As someone who has ridden the rollercoaster of weight gain and loss my entire life, I understand your thoughts. I spend way more time at the high end of the scale than the low. I can't blame my kids (it's not their fault that I am still holding onto the weight I gained during pregnancy - 10 years later.) While I would certainly never presume to question your love for Cooper, I struggle daily with what I am modeling for my children. If I don't eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle, how I can I ever expect them to? It's an ongoing emotional battle that my husband and I both fight every day. We walk a tightrope of trying to manage our own insecurities without passing those on to our children. I try not to freak out every time my son gets a little chubby around the middle. I don't want them to struggle with their body/self-image like I have for over 40 years. So while what your email friend had to say is so hard to hear, think about it for a minute. Don't you want to be healthy for years to come? I want to be able to sit on the floor and play with my grandkids and take them for walks to the park. Our health impacts everything. So listen to me preach. Why am I choosing not to make a difference, to get healthy and stay healthy? Because it is so hard, I am so busy, maybe I don't really care. No one doubts your love for Cooper, but that love has to start with you loving yourself, all of you! That is what you want to model for the beautiful baby boy, that you are perfect just the way your are and so is he!

Sawatzky family said...

Oh my... things even when said out of a good place can still hurt. Iam soory this one even gave you a moments pause. I have never even met you nor spoken with you outside of comments and the love you feel for your son reaches me way up here in Canada! Food is tricky, the sympathy other addictions get like drugs and drinking is not always given to those of us who battle food everyday. You know what...this has got my brain going so I am going to share my own thoughts and story about this over on my blog at some point today.
Keep the faith my bloggy buddy your are supported!

Rebekah said...

Tessa - what a hurtful comment to have received. I totally identified with your early comments in this post about feeling this common solidarity with other Moms once you become a Mom (see my blog post: Judge Not, Lest Ye Be...The Mom with the Crying Child in Seat 17B at http://www.mykindofmom.com/?p=43). This comment was a slap and inappropriate. No one can (or should) question your love for your child...but I would think about the reasons you were eating that Ding Dong in the close. Maybe loving yourself is something to spend time on.

Jenna G said...

If I had received that comment myself, I would be absolutely, positively hacked off to the core. Why? I would think, "How could someone say that to me? Of course I love my child."

But the real reason that I, personally, would be so upset, is because it hits too close to home for me. I know that I love my child. But as someone who grew up with an overweight Mom, and then grew into an overweight Mom herself, I know how hard it can be to break the cycle.

Why would I push that hardship on my daughter instead of changing myself? I don't know. I don't want my daughter asking me why I didn't get healthy, didn't I love her enough to change? Yet here I sit, heavier than I've ever been. I know what it would take to make the change, and I even start some days, and then quit.

If I just needed to love my daughter, if that's what would make me thin, I wouldn't be fat.

There's more to it than that for me. It's something that is deep in my core. Something that I need to take care of before my daughter starts following in my footsteps.

your crazy cousin's wife. :)