Self-Loathing

There has been a fair amount of self-loathing around these parts.

I’ve wanted to write about it but I’m not quite sure how. I don’t want it to seem like I’m fishing for kind words. I don’t want anyone to assure me that I’m NOT all the things I’m about to talk about being. At the same time, I want to write about all this because it’s true, and I’ve always wanted to be honest here. I think there is real power in honesty. And I think our demons lose their power when they are paraded out into the light, for the world to see. When these thoughts are acknowledged–in this case semi-publicly–it’s easier to move past the paralyzing, and unproductive, phase of self-abnegation, and move on to something more productive.

So, with that in mind… here is why I hate myself.

I really dislike the way I look right now. I absolutely do not recognize my body. It’s big in all these unfamiliar ways. I’ve definitely been bigger than this before–I’ve certainly weighed a good deal more than I weigh now–but I really loathe the way the weight has collected around my abdomen. The worst part is that NONE of my clothes fit. I can’t even begin to button my size tens (which I was was wearing less than two months after Isa was born), I doubt I’ll ever be able to wear my size eights, which constitute the majority of my wardrobe, ever again. My stomach is just giant. It’s covered in two different sets of stretch marks and muffin top does not begin to describe what it does when I wear any kind pants, even of the stretchy-yoga variety. It’s so hard to dress for work when I look this way, and our financial situation doesn’t allow for me to buy anything, not even used clothes. I hate the way I look so much that I’ve created this elaborate way of walking to, using and leaving the bathroom at work, so that I don’t catch myself in the mirror.

I have dealt with serious body issues, and disordered eating, in the past. I’m working hard, every day, to not go back to those places. I know that being skinnier will not necessarily make me happier. I know I was a lot more unhappy than I am now, when I was a lithe size eight and trying to get pregnant. I understand that I will probably lose this 15 lbs when I stop breastfeeding and can start exercising without worrying about negatively affecting my milk supply (though I HIGHLY doubt my clothes will ever fit in the way I remember). I understand that this too shall pass. But it’s really hard right now, hating the way I look. I hate being intimate with Mi.Vida–I cannot believe he still find me attractive (he assures me he does). It’s just really getting me down.

And then, of course, I feel really shitty about caring so much about the way I look. I’ve worked so hard to move past that part of my life, and I thought I’d really changed my attitude about body image. But maybe the only thing that changed was the way I looked…

If it were just my body that was getting me down, I’d be okay. Unfortunately, I’m also feeling totally incompetent in almost all areas of my life. I’m just a mess generally. I keep making really stupid mistakes, and sometimes they have really upsetting consequences. On the Monday after Daylight Savings I was almost too late to pick up Osita, because I was checking my watch–which I hadn’t reset–and thought it was an hour earlier than it was. It wasn’t until 5:50pm that I happened to glance at the microwave (thank god Mi.Vida had changed it) and realized what I had done. I scrambled like mad to get Monito into the car and barely made it to Osita’s school by 5:59. The poor thing was the only one left, doing a puzzle at a table all by herself. It could barely contain my tears when I saw her there. I felt awful, just awful.

There are other stories too, of dumb things I’ve done. I don’t really want to rehash them all, but needless to say I’ve been fucking up some dumb shit. I just keep making mistakes, and they are the kinds of mistakes that cost my family hundreds of dollars, or precious time and effort that we don’t have enough of. My house is a total disaster area. I haven’t sent our tax documents to our CPA. The other day I suddenly realized I was pumping without bottles attached to the flanges! There were two big puddles of milk on the floor, at my feet! What the fuck is wrong with me?!

And then there is school, where I can’t seem to get on top of things enough to be productive. My classroom is a mess, I’m way behind on grading (and the second trimester ends in two days), I’m barely putting together lesson plans just minutes before my kids come in.

I keep coming back to the same conversation I’ve had with myself a million times, the one where I try to determine how much of all this is me and how much is my ADD and if it even matters. I mean, in the end I have to find a way to live my life, and attributing my problems to a condition does nothing to help me manage it better. I can blame my problems on ADD all I want, but I still have to function at a level that I deem appropriate. I suppose acknowledging my challenges might help me to be more realistic in creating goals for myself, but I still need to be able to do my job, to parent my children, to manage my house.

Ugh. I know a lot of this, or at least the way I FEEL about a lot of this, has to do with this awful hormonal crash. I KNOW it will get better. But right now I’m really struggling. And I’m really upset with myself about it.

7 responses

  1. I’m sorry you feel this way but I think every woman who has given birth in the last year or so is unhappy with their body. It changes so much in a short period of time- we have to be patient that it doesn’t just snap back into shape.

    One thing that i wanted to comment on is the bf/exercise stuff. There have been studies that show that extreme exercise (like running a marathon) negatively affects bf/milk supply. But any exercise that we would do wouldn’t make a difference. In fact, exercise + nursing (pumping) would make you lose weight faster because making milk burns extra calories.

    • I think one of the reasons I’m so u happy with my body, is it responded very differently to pregnancy the first time and I expected it to do the same this time around as well. By four months postpartum with Osita I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and clothes, despite not doing a dang thing to make that happen. This time I gained 15lbs less than I did with that pregnancy and yet I can’t lose the last 15 lbs. I think that makes it more frustrating, because my body is doing things so differently than last time.

  2. We are our own worst critics. I assure you that you don’t seem near the idiot that you feel you are. I feel you though. I hate when I make costly mistakes. I did just the other day – I butt-dialed my friend in Spain TWICE and got her VM. I left $20 worth of senseless voicemails. I’m still not over it.

    The DST thing… Could have happened to anyone. Stupid DST!

    Hang in there. It will get better!

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  3. I think when we feel poorly about our physical body, it just makes all our other mistakes and annoyances magnified. You are almost to the finish line of BFing- and when you can exercise again, I hope you will feel better emotionally as well as physically. Sending love this morning..

  4. From an outsider, looking in, I have to tell you, your wedding photos were phenonmenal. While looking at them, I kept on asking myself, “didn’t she just have a baby?! She looks amazing”.

    I agree whole heartedly with Elizabeth’s comment. Feeling out of touch with our self, our body, always makes me feel so all over the place as if I can’t get a hold of anything.

    You’re a mom…a working one at that…a wife, a caregiver, the list goes on, so you are ALL over the place. Give yourself a break. It’s alright to be upset but, know you’re beautiful and things will get better.

  5. I was at this EXACT same place when L was 4-5 months old. I just felt so uncomfortable in my own skin physically. I wish I could say its resolved, but that weird belly wrinkly poochy muffin-top nonsense is unfortunately here to stay, but I guess I’m just getting used to how clothes feel on me now. As long as I don’t accidentally glance in the mirror without everything arranged in the most concealing way…then it still shocks me every time.
    We’re all a mess with DST, I completely FORGOT about taxes until I just read your post…and I don’t even have a newborn as an excuse!!! Hang in there, you really are doing great, and I agree your wedding pics were gorgeous!!

  6. What Melissa said – working + new baby = total case of mommy brain… much less trying to figure out how much ADD plays a role… that’s got to be incredibly tough. It WILL get better, it will.

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