Confessions of a Fat Mother

I am a fat mom. I didn’t start out like that, but I am now. Before I was a mom, I used to be fat, and then I got skinny, and then I got fat again. Then I got fit, and stayed that way for a little while. Then I got pregnant, and was an interesting combination of fit, fat, and skinny, depending on which body parts were held up to the light. Then I gave birth, was fat, and stayed that way.

Being a fat mom is a drag. I’m out of breath when I jog up stairs! Seeing myself unexpectedly in the mirror is unsettling! The idea of running for fun sends a shiver down my spine and a ripple through my belly fat. Lifting weights, doing Nia, dancing all night—hell, even long walks on the beach – are all just exercises in lumbering around, instead of, you know…exercise. I’m puffy and bloated, my poop is weird, and the skin around my eyes is just wrinkles and bags. I feel about ten years older than I actually am.

Which is a major fucking bummer, you know? Like, I liked having a body. I was proud of mine! I always ran to the chubbier side of things, but I dug working out because generally speaking, I could see the results. Put A in, get B out. But my math seems off these days, and I don’t know how to handle it. And I don’t always want to come back to the Birth Heard Round The World, but major body trauma has a way of making me feel like I don’t particularly want to engage with my physical self. For instance: I don’t want to have sex, I don’t want to be photographed, I don’t take compliments or want comments on any part of my body, I don’t want to shop for clothes, I don’t want to see myself in the mirror, I don’t want own this particular body.

But I do.

(And when it’s the season of the crop top and the booty shorts, the season of back fat and stretch marks? I would happily move to one of those miserable Northern towns that is infested with black flies and bears, where it snows from August to June, if it means I never have to see another mother pushing a stroller while wearing a leotard. Those are just not my people, you know? I would like the mom gang of the visible belly-dent where the waist of your leggings rides, the two-chins brigade, the fuck-it frappuccino people. It’s adjacent to the type of mom who’s like, “Finally, my chance to wear polar fleece and sensible shoes forevermore,” but I still drape my embiggening body in what strikes me as fashionable.)

I have no idea what I’m going to do about this, though. I don’t particular enjoy being fat. It doesn’t bring me peace or happiness. It’s not going to help me live longer. It’s not improving my quality of life. It’s just sand in my gears and a slow leak in my bike tire. And I will be honest: the quality of self-care I’m providing for myself these days is low. We’re not at “work out for an hour three times a week!” or even “Take a hot bath!” I’m operating at the “too many games on my phone” level of self-care. “Ignore the people around you in a craven attempt to just have an hour/half an hour/five minutes where I’m off the clock and can do something dumb and pleasurable: chocolate, Two Dots, grocery-store sushi eaten standing up beside the sink.” Self-care is a phrase that gets chirped at parents a lot, but there’s no real roadmap to enacting it. Make the time is useless when there is no time, no energy, never mind no clothes that fit.

Perhaps my Polish genetics are rising triumphant (even as my boobs sag ever-lower) to ensure that no fucking farmer’s great-granddaughter is ever going to be a size two, not on my watch, kumpel chłopca. When I think about my grandmother, who birthed eight children and worked both farm and factory jobs, I’m not surprised that she’s wasn’t a lithe little biscuit. But my current socioeconomy doesn’t favour my belly rolls or my two chins, so it doesn’t matter if my beefy upper arms would have been great at, like, heaving bales of hay. The heaviest thing I heave on the daily is a 2010 MacBook Pro and a wiggly toddler! Why don’t human bodies evolve faster than, like, slightly shorter toes every 12,500 years?

I’m trying very hard to make my peace with this because frankly, the only thing more boring than other people’s dreams is other people’s diets. Nobody gives a shit if I feel fat—if I am fat—because those are my feelings to manage. If I want to carve out time, I need to stop mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and do some fucking burpees. I hate this—my brain is screaming for downtime, just any kind of downtime at all—but my brain is also screaming at me about the stretch marks, the two chins, the lack of muscle definition. And beyond that: the feelings of going to bed tired and waking up the same way. Of knowing I need to stretch, and then not stretching. Of reaching for chocolate for a hit of endorphins.

I will probably never regain my status as a skinny person. I don’t know that I care, really. But I don’t want this body, this tired, lumpy, injured body, holding me back any more.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Kochany
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More about Kaitlyn Kochany

Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-area freelance writer and editor. She had her son, NS, in January 2016, and has been trying to sleep and write since then.

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