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Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

Also, don’t forget to check out my other website for some affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.

Categories
Parenting

Postpartum Depression: Don’t Suffer In Silence

Despite hating the pregnancy process, I loved the bond the I had with each of my children. That natural love and nurturing instinct that expectant mothers feel with their child(ren) in utero is undeniable.

I don’t know how to describe it, but the bond you have with your baby while you are pregnant is different from the bond you have with your baby when he or she is born

Now you’re about to meet your child. You have been anxiously awaiting for this beautiful moment for 40 long weeks. The next time you bring your baby home, he or she will share the experience of your world.

For many mothers, the moment doesn’t start out as beautifully. After all of the adrenaline wears off, negative emotions start to deep in.

Of course you love your baby. It’s not the baby’s fault. Imagine just having a tiny human ejected from your body. The same tiny human who kicked you relentlessly, made you nauseous, and was the reason you always slept.

Now that baby is living on the outside of you. You are shocked into a new reality.

I suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of all of my children. Each time brought a different experience.

I suffered the most after I had my oldest. When I was pregnant as a teenager, it didn’t seem like I had as much responsibility. Just go to the doctor and stay nourished, right? Was I hoping everything would fall into place after I gave birth? Kind of.

I had a traumatic labor and delivery experience in the first round. People tell you all of the time how the routine goes, but there is nothing like experiencing it. I was scared when I went felt the first contractions, the epidural that I was given didn’t work, and I tore to my asshole. That was the easy part.

When I held Ariana for the first time, reality came crashing down on me. I spent most of my pregnancy crying because I felt worthless. A lot of people looked down on me. I had no plans or structure. I felt entitled to help that I was not entitled to.

The truth is, I expected my mother to rescue me. The reality was that she couldn’t. Even through our ups and downs, and despite her being upset, I felt like my mother was the main one in my corner. I burned so many bridges when I was growing up, but the bridge of my mother’s love was indestructible. Thank God for infrastructure week!

First, I became angry. I was angry at myself for wasting time. I was angry because instead of preparing, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was angry because I only had a car seat, 8 onesies, 4 bottles, and $30 to my name when my baby was born. I blamed everyone, but myself. I started to question if I had made the right choice.

Anger turned into self-doubt. How am I going to do this? I can’t do this!Why didn’t I let another family give my child a better life? Why am I so selfish?

Self-doubt turned into sadness. By the time Ariana was three days old, I was overwhelmed. My baby wouldn’t stop crying and she barely slept. I couldn’t stop crying, and my appetite quickly diminished. I guess I can credit postpartum depression for my “Snapback”

I received inpatient treatment for postpartum depression. Being away from my newborn for a week was different. My parents were taking care of Ariana, so I knew that she was in good hands.

Being in the hospital was an odd experience. Yes, I saw someone get “the needle”. Yes, I was traumatized. I felt like I was in a daze the whole time I was there. I wanted to go home. Every morning, I was given a pill. After the nurse checked to see if I swallowed, I went to the common area for group therapy. It wasn’t productive. Then, I went back to my room for 1-on-1 therapy with a doctor. The rest of the day was pretty much free time. All of the patients gathered in the TV room to watch reruns of “America’s Next Top Model”. This was the routine for 7 long days.

I had to get out of there. I did anything I could to prove to the doctor that I was ready to go home. I faked a spark in my personality and a glee in my voice. I became very social with the other patients.

My ruse worked. I was on my way back to my daughter. My mother offered to keep Ariana another night so that I could get readjusted. I refused the help. I wanted to be with my daughter.

Reconnecting with Ariana was very difficult. She still cried a lot, but that wasn’t the reason why I was still struggling. My daughter wasn’t to blame for any of it. I shouldn’t have never pretended to be well so that I could leave the hospital. At the very least, I should have accepted my mother’s help. Yet again, I was selfish.

Today, I am glad to be a wiser woman. I can admit my mistakes and learn from them. Remember, we are not perfect. We will all reflect on our mistakes. This is fuel for growth.

Postpartum depression is very real, and not to be taken lightly. When starting a family, make sure that you have a strong support group. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. If you feel like you may be suffering from postpartum depression, seek help immediately. Don’t ever think that you are above this. There is no timetable for recovery, but you will feel better. We all love our babies, but the most important thing to remember is that self-care is VERY important.

Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call the emergency number in the country you reside in(United States 911).

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com