My scale broke. Or rather I broke my scale… When I stepped on it. When I stepped on it and it shattered.
Pregnancy, miright?! It’s this weird shape-shifty time that is magical and awful and liberating and scary as fuck. I could write a poorly written book on all my thoughts on pregnancy but let’s just talk about the important part: Weight. (That’s a joke. It’s the least important part. Which I’m just now figuring out.)
Important or not, this is the one aspect of pregnancy that really came to a head for me a few days ago when my glass scale surrendered/cracked into a thousand pieces of my shattered confidence. Just kidding, sorry for being so dramatic… They were actually pieces of my soul. A thousand pieces of my soul lay on my bathroom tile. Or maybe it was tempered glass but it felt like all of my hopes and dreams and my sense of self. Shattered. What happened was, if I haven’t been clear, I stepped on the scale and it crumpled into a blanket of tempered glass pieces. My feet didn’t get cut, thankfully, but the metaphorical slashes to my ego were no joke.
And then, after I took a moment to gather myself and DRY MY TEARS (and google the max weight of my particular scale and be relieved to learn I was still a few hundred pounds off..) I realized, hmmm… maybe I’ve been putting too much weight on my weight?
I’ve weighed myself every. single. morning. of. my. life. First thing, clothes off, after peeing, since I started puberty. My Mother, who was a beautiful, loving, fun and effervescent woman, was put on her first diet at the age of FOUR (that’s right) and spent an extraordinarily large amount of her short life worrying about that scale number. She and I went on a diet together when I was ten years old. I lost ten pounds in three weeks and felt her pride more than I ever had before. We went shopping and she beamed with joy when the sales lady said I was like a living doll. I learned a new, special way to her heart.
My mom passed away fifteen years ago but weight has continued to take up a ridiculous amount of time and focus in my life – time spent thinking about how much I weigh, wanting to weigh less, restricting, bingeing, “not dieting” but still checking, and I can’t help but wonder what I could have accomplished with the energy I’ve put towards something so meaningless and vapid. In the bad times, when I was using food as comfort/punishment/family, I’d weigh myself five times a day. That number would dictate everything – whether or not I got to go to dinner with friends, what kind of mood I was in, how I was doing in “life”. It makes me sad even just thinking about it.
Here was my big realization as I swept up the crumbled sheet of glass shards:
I DO NOT WANT THIS WASTE OF POTENTIAL FOR MY DAUGHTER.
I’m eight months pregnant and she weighs about four and a half pounds right now. The only reason that matters to me is that she is healthy and growing and thriving. Her brain is developing. She moves a lot. It’s beautiful. She is already so beautiful simply by her existence, and I want her weight to matter to me in the way it does right now for the rest of her life. It’s a symbol of her health and alive-ness. Nothing else. Her worth and miraculousness have nothing to do with the number 4.5. I want her to put the catastrophic amount energy that I and so many girls waste towards shrinking their bodies towards her passions, towards her mind, and her spirit. Her body will follow the way it should, whatever shape it may take.
And I know she will learn this from me. From watching me. I learned a lot from hearing my Mom complain about being ugly or fat when she was the most beautiful woman in the world. It confused me. Nothing was good enough, and if SHE wasn’t beautiful, then I certainly wasn’t.
Not putting myself down in front of my daughter or comparing sizes or complaining of having a fat day or associating food and weight with self worth won’t come naturally to me but it is SO important to me that I work on this for her. For both of us.
That scale shattering under my feet was such a gift. I will never own a scale again. It feels weird waking up and not knowing the number but it’s a liberating weird. From now on it’s about how I feel, it’s about what my body wants to do – move, nourish, etc.. that makes me feel good in my skin. It’s about giving my daughter a better chance.
So… so long scale. You won’t be missed.