vulnerable

This blog has been a great outlet for me.  It’s helped me understand my feelings and ultimately I’ve come to better know myself. Some people have been shocked by the more personal things I’ve shared.  I’d like you to know that I don’t write just whatever pops in my head. I realize it sometimes seems that way.  A lot of thought goes into what I write, especially the more personal posts.   I’ve written this post a thousand times.  I’ve edited and rewritten it over and over again.  I’ve been ready to post it and then felt the need to revise something else.  I think I’m finally ready to start sharing.  I first need to make one thing very clear.  I in no way regret my decision to get married or start our family early in my life.  The thoughts and feelings I’m about to express do not interfere with my inexpressible love for Madeline.  She is worth everything to me.  And I’d give up everything for her. But I don’t feel like I need to give up being me to be her mom.
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I gained sixty-five pounds when I was pregnant with Madeline. The average weight gain of women during pregnancy is twenty-five to thirty-five pounds.
For a long time I’ve been trying to tell myself that I’m ok.  That I’m happy and that I love who I am. But the truth is I hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I hate getting dressed because none of my clothes fit right. I’m still wearing maternity clothes and even they don’t fit quite the way they should because now it’s my chest that’s huge and my gut is back to being 5 months pregnant. Only there’s no baby in there.
It’s hard to see those women, the 1%, that loose weight with pregnancy.  Or don’t even look pregnant, pop out a baby and look better than I did before I was pregnant. It’s hard not to compare myself to those women.  Because deep down inside I know they have their challenges too. Challenges that aren’t visible, but I know are still there.
Over Christmas break my four-year old sister came up to me and said, “Sarah.  You look really big. You’re just big big big big big.” And she proceeded use her hands to show me all the parts of my body that were “big”. I laughed at the time, probably so I didn’t release a fountain of tears.  And I realize I look a lot better now than I did at Christmas. She still kind of hit the nail on the head of describing how I feel about myself.  And if my four-year-old sister noticed the major changes in my body, my sister who I’d barely seen in the past year, I knew other people did, too.
I’ve hear that older people often times look in the mirror and are shocked to see the reflection of an older man or woman instead of the strong, handsome, beautiful person they think of themselves as {see this post}. I often feel that way too.  In my head I’m still skinny and beautiful and when I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself it somehow always manages to take me off guard.  Because I don’t like what I see.
Call it depression, call it the “baby blues”, call it whatever you want.  It doesn’t change the way I’ve felt the past few months. 
It’d definitely a blessing that motherhood has come so easily for me, because the body image side of becoming a mom has not. Tears are shed almost daily.  Unkind thoughts to myself occur on a regular basis.  It’s hard for me to be intimate with my husband when I hate the thought of him seeing me naked.
I need to make it clear that my husband is amazing. I know Jeremy loves me no matter what I look like. And I’m ashamed that I tell myself he hates looking at me when he doesn’t.  He loves me. He thinks I’m beautiful.  He knows  I’m beautiful because he looks at me through God’s eyes. But I’ve convinced myself that I’m not beautiful. And because I think that, I think nobody else can see me as beautiful either. That’s discrediting a lot of people. Namely a Savior who bled and died for me because He sees great worth in me.
I think the hardest part of this experience has been accepting the fact that I’m not ok. That I’m not ”fine” or ”good”. Because I’m not.  It’s hard to come to terms with something you don’t want to believe.  As women we get so caught up with keeping to trends and making sure we look the way the world wants us to. Even if that isn’t who we really are. I recently heard a quote that really made me cringe. “We’re in a society where looks count.” – Joan Rivers {who by the way has had 700+ plastic surgeries}
Well, I finally realized that I wasn’t happy.  I had happy moments, but I spent way too much time laying around being a grump.  I felt like the only times I was happy was when I was playing with Madeline or making her smile.  But I wanted to be happy all the time. Not giddy happy-go-lucky day in and day out.  I just wanted to be able to call myself a happy person. In our church we are taught that everyone can be blessed to feel the Spirit whether they have been baptized or not.  After being baptized they are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The chance to have the Spirit with them ALWAYS as long as they are living worthily. I felt like I had happiness – but it couldn’t be with me all the time.
I told myself I’d be happy when we could afford to buy me new clothes.  That I’d be happy when I magically lost fifty pounds.  I said I’d be happy when we could afford to buy healthy food and not just potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.  I said I’d be happy when we had a bigger house.  I said I’d be happy when we had a dishwasher.  I said I’d be happy when I was released from my calling.  I said I’d be happy when the crazy hormones where gone.  I said I’d be happy when…
The other day Jeremy told me, “If your goal is happiness, you’re never going to get there. You have to learn to be happy along the way.”
I’ve found that ultimately what I’m looking for is self-worth.  I recently stumbled upon this inspiring blog {this post in particular} that has really helped me make the leap towards making the change(s) I need to make so I can be the happy person I want to be.  The happy, talented, brave, confident, caring, nurturing, beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend I want to be.  And not only become those things – but know with every fiber of my being that I am those things. 

There’s a lot more on my mind and a lot more I want to share but this seems like enough for today.  I do want you to know I have a plan and it has begun to take effect.  Every day requires conscious effort.  But it is working.  The seed has been planted and I’m beginning to grow.  

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“And now, my daughter, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”  [ Helaman 5:12 ]

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