“I want to be just like Mommy.”
The first time my daughter said that, it melted my heart and punched me in the gut. I am not the kind of mom who has all of her shit together. To be honest, I’m a single mama fighting back a mix of mental illness and more.
You see, I’m also fighting my body. To describe my body in a way readers might understand, I have to close my eyes; I’m far too used to seeing my body in a negative light. I have yet to give a successful description, however, because inevitably, my own words fall flat. I can see the beauty in other fat bodies, but I still struggle to see — and therefore describe — my own.
And when my readers realize I’m not just describing a fat mom, I’m describing a really fat one, their reactions frequently reinforce the idea that I don’t deserve body positivity because I am, apparently, too fat. And a mom that is “too fat,” they tell me, can’t possibly be healthy or good. It hurts to hear that.
A few months ago, a reader asked a question that’s been haunting me. After reading a story about my war with my body, and, after learning that I have lipedema and PCOS on top of disordered eating, they asked how a fat mom like me can possibly raise a healthy child.
Of course, it wasn’t so much a question as an implication. An accusation, even, that I can’t raise a healthy kid because I am way too fucked up about my body and food to not fuck up my daughter in the exact same way.
Well… fuck. Am I?
My daughter is five years old. When I was her age, I was already showing signs of central precocious puberty. Every day, I hope like hell that she doesn’t wind up having the same disease. But, even if she dodges that bullet, I still worry about her having PCOS or lipedema. My own lipedema legs began to develop when I was 12, and doctors diagnosed me with PCOS when I was 14.
I fear that my daughter might inherit some of my most painful life experiences. I was put on human growth hormone injections to delay puberty for seven years before my doctor gave me pills to induce my first period. That meant that, for seven long…