In the shoes of a plus-size mom


A week before delivery // November 2010

This post was meant to be published in a magazine here in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, it didn't make it so I will start my blogging journey with some closure.


Being a plus size woman does not make me any different from other women. Plus size women are just fuller, curvier, bigger and taller women than the average ones; but we all have the same ambitions, same concerns and same worries. Motherhood is one of women’s most sacred and natural callings. A plus size mom is not in any way less capable of leading motherhood with flying colors but it can be a bit challenging and requires more effort. In order to be able to take care of her little ones she needs to take care of herself and her health first. That applies to all women too, of course...

MAMAHOOD
Although I try to lead a somewhat healthy lifestyle, I do feel that I can be better physically. Not that I am aiming for “the ideal weight” or the “perfect model figure”, just the perfect me. Health meets with beauty at the crossroads of happiness. It is an amalgamation that undoubtedly affects women’s perception of themselves. When a woman feels healthy, she feels pretty and confident. I believe so. I am a 29-year-old full-time mom to a 2 year-old boy. Surely it is the most rewarding job but just like anything else, it does get tiring at times. A couple of weeks before my son’s 2nd birthday, my best friend told me “By the time they are 2, things will change drastically. Their fast development will take you by surprise.” And she was so right. Things have taken a sudden turn and a faster speed. My baby boy is a toddler now with a personality, likes, dislikes and super energy. Trying to keep up. Welcome to Mamahood! “It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thought motherhood would be like, and what you thought you would be like as a mother, with reality.” (D.G. Rosenberg) Motherhood is not a cooking-oil commercial where everyone seems to be disturbingly overly happy, where everyone seems to be behaving and sitting where they should be and where the food is stylized to the last grain of rice. I don’t see life as perfect. It is filled with Crayola drawings on walls, food splatters, noise, running and more… Flaws are what make things beautiful. Just like curves, they beautify women. Just like controlled chaos, it gives vivacity to family life. That being said, this job is never easy. Being a mom requires much summoned patience, energy and love. I won’t deny that I might have neglected myself a few times, especially after delivery; I was devoting my outmost all to my bundle of joy. If you don’t already know, I have always been a plus size girl/woman. So nothing has really changed except that my body took on the pregnancy weight and then I lost all of it if not more. Now, all what is left are stretch marks. And who doesn’t have those? Oh well, a small price to pay for a beautiful blessing. After that, old eating habits come crawling back around, less time to do anything and not much me-time. The neglect begins… without letting it go too far of course.

FOODILICIOUSLY SMART

I must confess. I am a foodie. I love trying new foods, different cuisines, go to restaurants, etc… It is not a weakness, simply a delight. I enjoy good food! The only problem is you can’t have too much too often – it depends on what kind of food too. So leading a healthy diet is important. I am not using the word diet as the nemesis we all hate and fear. A healthy diet must become a lifestyle. It is hard for some people to shift from ‘liberal eating’ to a more controlled diet. I tend to believe that you can eat whatever you want, but all in moderation. I think this is the most reasonable equation anyone could follow. I would hate to deprive myself and at the same time I would hate to see myself heading to a dead end. So the equilibrium here is in the choices of food, the quantity and the pleasure of eating. I would also hate to miss out on a well-cooked delicious artisanal burger just because it is politically incorrect to accept a big girl with a juicy burger in her hand. “Why don’t you have a salad instead?” kind of looks. The irony. Life is too short. Enjoy it to the max but with reason. I am not saying let’s go devour anything delish in sight; simply pamper your soul and appetite. It is not shameful. You can also balance your lifestyle with exercise. You might be able to get away with a few extra calories as long as you MOVE…

A FUN WORKOUT
Maybe if I had a chance to relive my postpartum period, I would have given a little more time for me. I am not saying I look dreadful but I could have avoided a few now-stubborn areas. Anyway, my point is to exercise. Apart from eating right, exercising will give a new meaning to your lifestyle. I mean house chores alone make a woman lose calories. If you are a full-time mom and you can’t find time to register at a gym, well, there is an easy solution. Your living room! You can exercise, stretch, yoga, dance, Zumba, I mean the list goes on and all in the comfort of your own home. I’ve tried that and it is fun. Plus, you don’t need to look your best. Throw on your comfiest workout pants and shoes and let’s go! Don’t you just hate the looks of others whenever you are at the gym? Well that’s what used to happen to me. As if only Barbies and Kens get to workout! We are seen as outsiders. I hate going to the gym alone. It is one of those experiences that leave me annoyed. I have attended some fun classes though, like Aerobics and Kickboxing fusion. Thankfully, not all people are vile. So whatever makes you comfortable and happy, just do it. The most important thing is to feel alive, to move and to awaken some adrenaline. Exercise or any physical activity will not only improve your mood but your health too. You’ll automatically feel more radiant, more energetic and more feminine.

FASHION

I haven’t forgotten about the fashion side of the story. I thought that after pregnancy it would be hard to squeeze back into my old clothes. Surprisingly, I was thinner than I was before getting pregnant. Fatigue, sleepless nights and the aftermath of a C-section. A woman doesn’t need to be plus size to have this same concern about whether her old clothes will still be good on her. So, with plus size women, the headache is increased just a notch. It was hard enough finding cute maternity clothes, yet alone worrying about postpartum fashion. As usual, same tactics: digging in the most unlikely shops to find – almost all the time – imported/US/foreign clothes that would match my super-prego size. So what are we talking about here? Plus size maternity fashion. I did buy some good finds: one of them was this cute dress that just shaped my baby bump beautifully. For a very pregnant plus size girl, getting compliments from complete strangers made my day. There is always a savior! I love Mothercare’s maternity line! It is so casual, light and well fitted. This brand embraces the fact that all sizes can welcome pregnancy in style. Maybe there are other brands but this particular one made my 9 months feel like a spring breeze. I am always on the lookout for new stores. I don’t think it is fair that curvier and bigger women should settle for baggy unflattering block-like pregnancy clothes. Just like any other day of the year, women should feel fabulous everyday, whether wearing lounge wear chilling at home or casually chic for an outing!

STRONG BY INSTINCT
Mothers tolerate just about anything. Their endurance is remarkable and I only got to truly understand that once I became a mom. Every woman has worries or stressful matters on her mind. The power she holds is in her perseverance, her patience and her unconditional love. I do encounter tough times where it feels like I just want to drop everything just so I can catch my breath. But then I get an unexpected hug from my little man and it sweeps me off my feet. Love is a healer. Headaches, backaches, or just tiredness may occur and they would mess up your day and make you lose your patience. But mothers look beyond that; they surpass themselves and that’s what’s so incredible. This inner strength is admirable. So, I urge plus size moms to take care of themselves – through the guidelines above – so they can be able to fully and unconditionally take care of their little ones. “Take care of yourself. If Mommy isn’t happy, no one else in the family is happy either.” (D.G. Rosenberg) I know that what I am saying applies to all mothers, but plus size women are closer to the limit line between healthy and obese (in some cases), than other women. So the goal is to avoid that and stay as far away from health problems. Neglect can cause so many bad things. Unattended health can bulldoze everything down to nothing. So give your body the absolute needed attention so you can shine at mamahood and everything else you choose to do. A mother never raises a white flag and does not accept defeat. A mother who is a natural warrior by instinct must always carry with her the key elements for a good, happy and healthy life.


1 comment:

  1. I love your depiction of words, your creative analysis, the pride and confidence your plant in the "Mamahood". I really enjoyed reading your article :)
    Very nice cover photo, all the luck!!

    ReplyDelete

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