Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Life Story: The Early History of My Body

 
My mother wrote my baby book as if it were me. About my body she wrote:

At birth, "I have a round face, round body, blue eyes, light hair. I'm a good nurser and I'm getting fat on Mommy's good milk."

Few months old, "I have colic or something. I cry all the time! Especially in the evening. Mom and Dad have to turn on the hair dryer to make noise so I can fall asleep. I am Mom's first 'naughty' baby."

At two, "When I turned two I got real chubby. I love bread, sweets and all things that make me fat!"

At three, "One side of my face has weaker muscles than the other side but other than that and my fatty body I am perfect!"

At four, "I have been a healthy girl this year, Mom says my only problem now is my weight!"

At five, "Well, my weight has come down, but my face is still round. I am healthy girl and I never get sick."

At six, "I'm a picky eater but I'm getting better. I'm still chubby in the face but I am slimming down everywhere else. I LOVE TO EAT!"

At seven, "Mom is telling me to watch my diet. I really like fattening foods and I don't like meat."

At eight, "I'm losing my baby fat."

At ten, "I'm on my way to becoming a young lady! I am a real sweet tooth and always look forward to good things to eat."

Growing up my brothers called me Tubby. I assumed it was after my love of tub time (it was NOT because I loved tub time). My aunts and uncles called me Tooney due to my uncanny resemblance of Petunia Pig.

My mother recorded my weight yearly.

I just checked childhood growth charts for weight to see how fat I really was.

I was always within a few pounds of average.


134 comments:

deadlock said...

Arh, this is a bit unfair! And it makes me angry because it was the same with me, I have figured out years later while battling with my weight. My family always used to comment on my weight, even though I was just like you, ONLY a few pounds heavier. One of my earliest memories is my aunts talking about me and my "weight problem" in front of me, and I couldn't have been more than 5. This is one of the things I promised myself never to do or let anyone else do to my children or any other child for that matter. It is just cruel, even if not meant to be.

Holly said...

My heart hurts reading this.

I can feel it breaking.

hi said...

Oh wow. Dear little girl Courtney, you are perfect just the way you are. "come on! Open your mouth and sound off at the sky! Shout loud at the top of your voices I am I! ME! I am I ! And I may not know why but I know that I like it. Three cheers! I AM I! Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! Shout loud I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I'm not just a clam or a ham or a dusty old jar of sour goosebury jam! I am what I am! That's a great thing to be! If I say so myself happy birthday to me!" dr. Seuss.

Dear grown up Courtney, In your last posts I thought you seemed upset at your mother, this one reaffirms that. You are honest and brave, but do be careful. Maybe you feel you can help someone else who was treated the same way as a child by sharing your story, but maybe it isn't worth what it might do to your mother. You will make mistakes, BIG ones while raising your children. Things you wish you could take back. Things you wholehartedly believed were for their own good at the time, only to realizeit broke a little peice of them.We all will. I hope my kids feel like they can talk to me about those things and we can cry about them together and work through them openly, but God help us if our children turn out to be bloggers...

Amy said...

I think it may have been a generation thing. On one hand, my parents was so proud to be able to offer unlimited amounts of food, no going without at their house. On the other hand, my father especially felt like a failure that his daughters were not thin.

Just this weekend we were at their house and I was having cereal for lunch. He turns and says to me, in front of my six children, "You eating AGAIN Amy?"

And it still hurt. I still felt like flinging the bowl at him. But instead I said, "Some people LIKE lunch, dad. " And then I looked at my 14 year old daughter and rolled my eyes so that she would know I thought he was silly.

I think my father would be mortified to know that he was the source of so much food confusion and self hatred, and he would be shocked to know that his attitudes toward my sister and I helped develop our food addictions. Rather than the help he thought he was giving, he created the very problem he was trying to make us avoid.

However, I forgive him. I know he was trying to help me in his own way. And I have changed what was trapped in my own DNA and I have raised children who like themselves and don't obsess over food.

And thankfully I have a husband who tells his daughters they are beautiful, he never comments on what they eat-not even to me, and I tell them constantly that they are daughters of God and absolutely perfect as is. Who knows, if he hadn't been so misled, I couldn't have been so aware and raised the particular girls I was given so much more enlightened.

This was beautiful and heart wrenching. I imagine you have touched a nerve for many.

Carrot Jello said...

This sounds familiar. Except my mom didn't journal, she just told me.

Penny said...

Very poignant, vulnerable and probably quite universal. When others have expressed to me the same dismay at being called fat as children, looking back at pictures and realizing they weren't really "over-sized," they seem to focus on that point..that they actually were not big. That's far from the point, though, isn't it? It's not so much about judging what is a good size vs a bad size and getting it wrong. What if they were larger than the charts called for? What if they were little tubbies? Is it more painful and damaging to be told you're fat when you aren't than to be reminded that you are when you're not within an acceptable range? It's as if the ultimate rub is that you were taught you were fat when you weren't, and not that your tender little spirit shouldn't have been offended by this kind of judgment no matter your size.

And I think I understand how you can take this approach about your mother's actions, because (I'm guessing here) you probably have a good relationship with her and I suspect she knew you were going to write this before you did and you and she both know you were both under attack by whatever forces were (and still are)on the march in this heartbreaking and seemingly stifling human predicament.

jen said...

I was known for being "solid" and "a good eater."

I hear you, sister.

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...
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SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

I hate how those things scare us, and effect our lives so completely....the words of my mother and brothers have echoed in my ears for years....I have talked a lot with my mother about it - she came from somewhere too, her mother was far more critical of her body than she is of mine....
I feel the responsibility to be hyper aware of all the references I make to my children about their bodies - I hope I am encouraging them to take care of themselves and to love what they have got.
I had a round russian face until I was about 25, regardless of how much I weighed!! I hated it...

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

'Hated' is such a harsh word you know what I mean...

Townhouse Towny said...

OOoohhh your Mom is going to be maaad! Just kidding. Does it not seem funny now? I hope it does, something like this can break your heart into a million pieces when you are unsure of yourself (aka young or having a bad week). But these days, a grown successful woman with a spectacular family, I like to think of you laughing with Chup over this.

But still...ouch. I was called Skinny Minny growing up, until I ballooned up bigtime in puberty. I still feel like I let down my true skinny self by becoming a fat woman. I can't imagine being saddled with the fat label so early in life, and so diligently labeled I might add.

Travis & Jasie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis & Jasie said...

I could really scissor-kick someone in the jugular after reading this.

Pearl said...

I had a very similar experience growing up. My mother and her sisters were also very "concerned" about my weight. I remember a time when my mother pulled up my shirt in front of the entire family and pinched a "roll" of my fat to show everyone. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time. Like you, I was not really fat, although not slender either. Looking back, I was a normal sized girl. It didn't help that I had a cousin of the same age who was tall and thin. Today, although my cousin and I are the same height and while neither of us is overweight, we've had children and are not exactly skin and bone. She is still considered by the family as the tall and thin one and I am the short and fat one. I'd love to say that it doesn't bother me, but of course it does. It caused a lot of confusion in my childhood and teenaged self. It causes a lot of resentment in my adult self. When I had my first daugther, one of my aunts pulled me aside and insisted that I "slow down" with the nursing because I was going to open up a lot of fat cells on my daughter causing her to grow up to be fat (like me, I guess). Needless to say, I didn't speak to that aunt for a long time. She no longer comments about my daughter's weight, or mine for that matter. I will not tolerate such talk about my daughters. I hope they grow up with a healthier outlook on their bodies than I did. I also hope they have a healthier relationship with food.

I'm so glad you wrote about this. I think it took a lot of courage to expose yourself in this way. I hope it doesn't cause friction with your mother. I'm sure my mother and her sisters did not intentionally mean to hurt me. I think they were acting out of their own insecurities and didn't realize the damage they were causing.

Butternutsage said...

Oh my goodness Courtney, I thought your babies looked like CHUP but they look like YOU!!!!!!! Now do you want me address so you can send me my PENNY!!!!!!

Stephanie @ dial m for minky said...

Oh my HEAVENS! Ever is your twin. Flat out twin.

Raevan Blake said...

Ouch, kids go up and down ALOT! The build of your body, the hundreds of growth spurts we go through, puberty, you name it. I'm sorry so much emphasis was placed on your little body:( And no wonder your mother had so many children, it was my first baby who wouldn't sleep and cried alot. That'll scar you a bit. No one to help me or give some perspective (I was an only child and in my mothers recollection an extremely easy baby thus not much help!) I was literally suicidal because I thought I must be the world's worst mother. But alas, babies grow out of these things and mothers start being rational again with a little sleep! But you were never being naughty, just a baby! :)

Lenny said...

I smiled when I saw the picture. I thought it was Ever :)

I got sad when I read the post. It seems as though, she could have talked about SOMETHING ELSE besides your weight. I'm sorry. I have an 18 month old daughter and your baby book broke my heart and made me a little angry.

downj said...

I am assuming you and your mom have discussed this over and over privately. My nick name was tank as a child. At age nine I had to explain the impropriety of the name to my parents, much to their dismay. I feel your pain. Ironically I am the thinnest of my three sisters that I apparently thundered over. My weight is something I have always felt a failure about. Sadly, as a mom now to four I worry about my third born's weight and think he doesn't know it, but I bet he does. I am sure you will screw your kids up in your own way, LOL. We all will ;) Doesn't it always come back to your mom?

shannon said...

I thought I was the only one! Perhaps it WAS generational. Thank you for sharing this.

Alecia said...

The past is painful and there is nothing you can do to change what is written in that baby book. I look at your baby picture and see your little girl ....Ever. Now is the time for you to break the cycle. Ever will not be called Tubby.

hillary said...

Ugh, this makes me sad. But I hope it will give you some clarity as to why you feel the way you do about your body and help you clear your mind of those negative feelings. As someone once said, our parents are so good at pushing our buttons because they installed them.

Jennifer Bowman said...

Oh Courtney I am so sorry. Reading this breaks my heart, I can feel your sadness in these words.

And oh how I can relate..I was a chubby child and well into my adolescent years then again in early college years. As a child my four brothers always called me "pigifer"
When I got braces my Mom said maybe it would help me stop eating so much. I know she was just trying to help, but it hurt.

Still I struggle daily with body image issues but am really trying to fight it. I don't want my daughter growing up with those same body issues I had. It is rough.

Unknown said...

So right there with you. I remember being about 19 and trying on a swim suit. At the time I weighed maybe 130 (that's so far from my current GOAL weight that I can't see it), and my mom told me the suit looked awful and she could see my rolls. Rolls! That was when I remember being really weight conscious. I now weigh more than that and I've done it all to myself. I hate family gatherings because I'm the largest and people are always making sly comments: "Your chest would be smaller if you lost some weight". Particularly my mom, who had weight issues herself and dealt with a mother and sisters who said things about her as well. Each one stings. Bad. I'm even to the point of not wanting my husband to see me because I am embarrassed by my body. (I actually weigh just under 200 lbs). Love you! Love your honesty! Everytime I'm driving through Provo, I wonder if I'll get a Cjane Sighting. You inspire me.

Jenny (also) said...

I'm hoping these are just excerpts from your baby book and there are lots of other wonderful things in there about you as well. Curious to how your mom responds to this post. Did you give her a heads up?

Vanessa Brown said...

And then....sometimes we learn things the hard way so we don't do it with our kiddos. Sometimes we learn things from our parents that way even though we do completely adore and love them. Just like you do with your Mom! I met your Mom at the Farmers Market years ago, she made me smile so big it lasted a couple of days :)

Kiar Shaw said...

My mom made an offhanded comment to me when I was 15 about how one of my eyes was "droopier" then the other. I still obsess about it to this day, and I just turned 33.
I have always been a chubby girl, and my mom went in the opposite direction, always telling me I was perfect, and that my weight wasn't an issue. So I just got bigger. I have tried for years to lose it, and get to a healthy wieght and have developed a condition that made me have brain surgery due to my wieght. Through the whole thing, my mom kept saying things like "you aren't fat, I just don't know what is wrong with those doctors!" (For the record, being 5'3" and 236 pounds IS NOT GOOD)
What I think I am trying to say in this extremly long comment, is that our parents are going to screw us up. That is inevitable. But we need to try really hard to not screw up our kids. But we will. Just in different ways. Sigh.

Camille Farias said...

You're not the only one who went through this, it appears! Reading through the comments, I was shocked to see how many of your readers share similar experiences. Here's mine, fwiw. I was born into a family with 6, count 'em SIX older sisters. I was the largest at birth, and apparently the heaviest at a whopping 8 pounds and 6 ounces, and therefore labeled "The Heavy One." At age six, I was wearing size 8 clothing, and it was deemed a family crisis (I was also the tallest girl in my class, despite the fact that I was a year ahead in school, but apparently that fact slipped passed the radar). When my mother was placed on hospital bed rest for her last pregnancy, my two grandmothers came to care for us. One of them paid me not to eat. The other made me walk around outside in the summer heat while my sisters sat in the comfortably air conditioned living room watching cartoons.
Sadly, these things happen more often than our society would care to admit. Thank you for giving us a platform to come forward with our own painful and/or beautiful stories. These things are what make us who we are, and they can affect generations. I personally have decided that in my house we will not be allowed to use the "D" word (diet) EVER.

Jessa. said...

I, too, grew up in the time when commercials warned that if you could 'pinch and inch' you needed their cereal to lose weight. My sister and I were healthy, happy, joyful girls. However, when it came to family dessert time, we felt like second-class citizens. Our 'skinny' older brother always got the extra piece of everything...because he 'needed' it and we were plump enough.

Even as a 5'7", 120 lb teen, asking my mother if an outfit "made me look fat" (really meaning, does it fit right, look attractive?) she would say, "Well, you're always going to be a big girl, honey." This, because she was all of 5 feet and, as the story went, had weighed 90 lbs on her wedding day.
Still, our mother was wonderful in every way except that one- and I know she never realized how much her comments hurt.
I, too, have struggled with children who are a few pounds over average. I want them to be their very best selves- that is all. I'm sure I've left scars and after reading your post, I plan to heal them as much as possible.
So, thank you!

john's mom said...

it is amazing how such comments can impact us so deeply. i recall sitting on the couch with my mom when i was about 10, and she looked at me and said, "you're going to be beautiful one day."

and i died inside, because if i was going to be beautiful "one day," i certainly wasn't beautiful then! (in my pubescent mind.)

my whole philosophy on parenting is this: screw up my children as little as possible. we will screw them up - human beings screw each other up all the time - but i try to do as much good and as little harm as i can.

i'm sorry you have these written reminders of those hard moments, courtney.

jbp said...

Your photo is so beautiful, and really does look just like Ever.

And I am so touched by this. It is a painful reminder of my own childhood, and reaffirms for me how much I want to avoid doing this to my daughter.

Thank you for your beautiful, insightful writing. It always feels a little bit like Christmas when I wake up and there's a new post from C. Jane. :)

Chelsey said...

I think it is generational. I had many of the same experiences. When I think back to myself as a child, I picture myself enormously obese. The pictures don't support that notion - I was maybe a little bit chubby.

My parents did the best they could, but the message that I always heard was that I was too fat and not good enough. I don't blame them. They praised me in lots of other areas (as I'm sure your parents did for you). My mom now says that how she handled my weight is one of her biggest regrets as a parent, and I hate that she feels that way.

But. I have abysmal body image as an adult. I am a healthy size 6 and will never feel thin enough. I had periods of promiscuity. It really sticks with you. Which is why I'm trying to raise my daughter differently.

Bryn said...

I am so sorry that your weight was such a focus of your mother. That explains a lot doesn't it. I am so sorry. Whether such a focus was a cultural or a generational thing or not the comments made to you were very personal. And those early hurtful comments are hard to shake. The term naughty baby though, I really hate, common enough but I still hate it. I've always hated it. Makes my blood boil. I don't believe there is such a thing. A baby in pain maybe. A baby we don't know how to help or soothe and that makes life difficult! As a mother knows it is so hard to not be able to console a child! But Naughty? NEVER!!!!!!!

Stefanie H said...

The more i read of this post the sadder my face got. so sad! But totally Ever does look just like you.

Mary said...

Ouch. I'm sorry.

And seriously... that adorable little Ever is your twin.

flemings said...

I think it was very brave of you to begin this discussion. When I was growing up my Mom was almost always on a diet, a fast, or taking diet pills. And although she never spoke to my sister and I about our weights, we were witnesses to her self hatred. This of course led to both my sister and I dealing with various eating disorders later in life. Years later, now that I have 2 daughters of my own, I had to have an extremely difficult conversation with her regarding her constant use of words regarding hating her body in front of my daughters. I really almost had a panic attack when I approached her. She was silent and denied the use of such language and then stormed out (but she does that). We have not spoken of it since but the language has stopped and I can only assume and hope that she has done some self reflection and begun to love her truely beautiful body.

Jessica said...

Your baby picture = EVER!

My sister used to call me "fat tub of lard." I won't ever forget that.

I'm sad to read some of this.

Family of 4.... said...

Hi Courtney,

This really hurts to read this. I got the same thing with my mom, too. I am short and for the whole of my life my mother has been obsessed with weight. She is obsessed herself and feels at almost 85 that she needs to lose some weight. Come on! You are 85, who cares if you have some weight? I asked my uncle why mom would feel this way and realized he has called his wife "tubs" all the time they have been married (probably about 60 yrs!!!).

I am in my late 40's and I finally had to realize that it doesn't matter what others feel about weight, etc., that I am who I am and that's who I will be. I will never be a "skinny" minnie, I will be me. And I am ok with that.

I don't want my daughters to grow up the way I did, so I never tell them they are fat. They are adopted and have their birthmother's tallness, but I can see my 10 yr old worrying about weight and I don't want her to. I tell her she looks great.

You are a great person Courtney and you look great. I think the best compliment was from my husband who said he liked me just the way I was. We need to move past this obsession with having the perfect body. Love who you are.

That's just my opinion and having read about your mom from your blog and admired her, I'm kind of sad to see she would be pushing weight on you at a young age. It makes me sad to read that's what she was worried about and you were within normal range for weight. And that your brothers teased you and everyone felt this was ok.

Hugs, Courtney. I know you have the tools to help your daughters as they age and to not make weight the focus of their lives.

And as someone else said in the comments, you are perfect the way you are!

Molly

Lindsey said...

You are easy to love Courtney, and every post you write is brave. I loved yesterday's, but then I usually learn from them all.

I was a fat kid, but my parents never said a word. My dad promised me I was beautiful. My mom always pointed out my perfect teeth, my long thick hair, my pretty eyes.

I still knew I was fat. (hello, leotard and dance mirror). As an adult I still fight to keep custody of my body image.

I've had some important times in my life when I've had to do something really physically hard, and my body can do it--because I sturdy, thick, and built like a workhorse. In the millons of moments I wish that I just didn't have to fight the mental battle of body image I try to superimpose those memories of times that my body did strong things.

I get what you are saying though. Little moments in our life, little words, little insignificant things are not at all. The science of who we became because of what we experience is mind boggling. I thought (as a teen) adults had everything figured out. Now that I am one, it seems like being an adult is just sorting out all the things that happened to you as a child and making something of them.

Keep writting! Your body is beautful and your soul is stunning.

Bri!!! said...

I honestly think I have the best parents in the WORLD, but they have said hurtful things that have stuck with me. I have serious body image issues, and I am a very fit (not right now, I'm 8 months pregnant) person. Yet, there are times I loathe my body, which is so sad. I remember my mom saying I could never have an eating disorder cause I love food too much. Well, that got me on my way. They were frantic for a while during my junior high years because my weight got down too low, and I wouldn't eat anything. Looking at me you would think I have a healthy relationship with food, yet I don't. I obsess. I love food, and I constantly think about it. Then the guilt begins. I am pregnant with my first daughter, and it's terrifying. I want to offer her all the health and love possible. Those comments stick, and they are so damaging. Like others have said, my goal is to screw up my kids the least amount possible!

Aubrey said...

You are so beautiful. Health is the only goal that's important. Studies now show that pointing out a weight problem to a child only makes it worse, but our parents didn't know that. Hopefully we can do better in this generation and just focus on being healthy as a family.

Alisa said...

My heart breaks when I think of the mistakes I've made as a Mother. My heart also breaks when I think of the mistakes I've made as a daughter.
I'm trying to learn from both and it sounds as though you are as well.
Your writing is extraordinary.

Amelia said...

Is that drool on your chin? How embarrassing!!! Just kidding: my most favorite picture of my first son is the one where he is cutting his first tooth and there is drool hanging off his chin!

Morgan Lee said...

Holy Ever! I didn't see it too much in yesterday's pic, but in this one, the similarity is undeniable.

I am the fourth and last child, and by the time I came along, my mom had gotten over the baby book thing. So thankfully, there is no written record of whatever critical thoughts she may have had about me (except her diaries, the content of which I am not currently privy to).

I was a short, muscular, but relatively fit child. Starting at age nine, though, I started to feel fat, my brother told me I was fat, my grandmother told me I was fat, and really, I have felt fat ever since. Looking back at pictures, I DID put on a little weight at around that age. But in hindsight, I realize that it was because my body was preparing for puberty. I started my period at age 10, and by the time I was 12 I had the body of a 16-year-old. I didn't feel awesome and womanly, though... compared to most other 12-year-olds, I just felt big. Looking back at pics, I see I was not remotely "fat", but I had a few unwelcome curves that had shown up early. My self-perception at the time, and they way I felt that my peers perceived me, undoubtedly has had a lifelong effect on me. Thank goodness, my parents really had little to no part in all that, but I still feel like I am disappointing them if I am not in good shape. And at the moment, I am NOT, as I weigh just 10 pounds less than I did when I had my baby 18 months ago. I weighed 115 when I met my husband, and when I think about possibly never being that small again, it depresses me, but I know it shouldn't. Rambling...

Beth Allen said...

When my oldest daughter was 2, I got a letter in the mail from our health insurance company warning us of the danger of having an overweight child. It made me furious. First of all, all of my babies have been chubby- and perfectly healthy. My daughter was beautiful and still is. She was a cute, smart, funny little two year old. We ate a healthy vegetarian diet filled with a variety of foods. We were active. My kids were happy. It had never occured to me she was "overweight." Second of all, how many parents would read this letter, panic, and then put their baby on a diet? Pretty much instilling negative body image and food issues from infancy. So I took the damn letter and all of it;s suggestions of how to better feed my baby and tore it up and threw it in the trash.

mylifeasiknowit said...

you were precious!!! I had my family commenting on my body my whole life even though I'm really skinny... It did affect me growing up and I'm still trying to get over it. But now, when they make a comment I just tell THEM to get over it, I'm a perfect healthy human being and having this body to live my life is a wonderful blessing. And I will feed my kids with whatever they want as long as it makes them happy.

Janie said...

I remember my aunt saying:

"you get fatter every summer I see you"

and another aunt saying "you'd make two of shelly and she's two years older"

will my daughters ever meet these aunts - you bet NOT!!

Karen said...

Oh my, this sort of chronicling of your weight, as though your weight represents WHO you are, is unfortunate and I am sure your mother must regret focusing on it so much (at least I hope so!) In my house, it was my father who felt the need to keep tabs on the weight of the females in the house and it led to a lifelong struggle with food issues for me. I resented him for a great deal of my life but know that in his own mind he felt he was being loving. I know that if he understood the torture I felt, he never would have said a word and so I have let go of my resentment and have focused on becoming healthy on my own terms. Raising my own girls, I have been very careful to promote good eating and activity rather than focusing on a number on a scale. Our weight is not who we are. It took me forever to learn that.

Also, other people should mind their own business as far as weight is concerned. A heavy person does NOT need to be told that he/she is fat. They live with that fact day and night and it is not some huge revelation for some outsider to put it on blast that you are fat. It's just mean.

Lindsey said...

Okay, what about the other side? What if you had a daughter who WAS overweight, and you were concerned about her health, or type 2 diabetes. What if she snuck food to her room and would set her alarm for 2 am so she could go down stairs and eat... THEN what would you say to her? How would you draw attention to her issues without drawing attention to weight?

The Bears said...

I really wish they would stop recording babies weight. They fully admit i doesn't indicate much and all it does is cause some parents to obsess. My little sis was skinny, just not as skinny as me and my grandma called her fatty-boom-boom and always commented on what she was eating. We both learned being skinny was the most important thing you can be. A lesson that we are still trying to unlearn before we have daughters. BTW.. child number six and your mom is still keeping baby books... Go Mom!

leigh anne said...

i've never commented before but this made me cry instantly. we have such power on those little hearts, don't we? as a mother of a 2.5year old gorgeous girl (a mother still carrying an extra 20lbs from her last pregnancy...and clearly not pleased about it) my number one priority is to ensure she loves herself unconditionally. it is on my mind CONSTANTLY. everything makes an impression... good and bad. thank you for beginning my day with a reminder. we are all better moms because of each other. good on you, cjane. keep it coming! xx

PS my kids mirror yours in age (I always love seeing your little ones dressed in the same pj's as gideon and clementine!).

deb8able said...

I've read your blog for so long and know how wonderful your Mom is just from the stories you tell. That being said this brought tears to my eyes. I have a 16 year old daughter who has suffered from an eating disorder for almost 3 years now. She has never, ever been heavy a day in her life, but in 7th grade a boy told her she was "chubby" and that set off a struggle that I sometimes fear will never go away. You are beautiful just the way you are - we all are!!!

Just Jaime said...

You know what, I know your mother loves you. And you know it too. You love her. What you've written today has nothing to do with that. Nor really does it have anything to do with your relationship with her, because I have read how wonderful it is. You have a beautiful relationship.

But still, these comments were made. I believe there was no ill intent behind them. I love to see a thriving child, but perhaps I should refrain from using words like "chubby" or "fat" Something to ponder. Thank you.

erinv said...

I was a skinny little girl, which changed when I hit puberty -- which, at 33, I'm still trying to recover from. My mom was very focused on weight, as her own mother was with her.

I remember at 12 or 13 I'd written down "I am fat" over and over on a piece of paper. My mom happened to find it and wrote a message to the effect of "That's great you recognize this; now you can work on it." Like you, I look back on the pictures and realize I was far from fat.

One of the benefits of getting older is realizing your parents are imperfect human beings who (hopefully) do the best they can. The majority of us inherit their flaws and insecurities, and hopefully each generation improves a little. I appreciate your willingness to tackle such a sensitive subject. Your mom deserves kudos for raising some good, strong kids.

Oh, and I disagree that it's generational. Having recently worked with the Young Women program, some of their moms (my age) do the same thing to them.

Scouter's Wife said...

This post made me cry. Like a lot. It made me so sad and angry...

@ Lindsey - I can't answer for CJane but I know I wouldn't just tell my daughter that she's too fat or big or that she's getting fat or real chubby or any of that. But I do know that I control whatever she (or he) eats...I would keep healthy foods and snacks in the house and encourage outdoor physical play. I would try to give them a healthy relationship with food so that they don't feel that they need to sneak away for it at 2am. You can build a healthy lifestyle for your kids without giving them nicknames like Tubby. And if I did have a daughter who was dangerously overweight, I would focus on the aspect of being healthy and taking care of our bodies that can do amazing things. I am still scarred by some of the comments my family made about me growing up. Even if "she snuck food to her room and would set her alarm for 2 am so she could go down stairs and eat"...my reaction wouldn't be "What is wrong with you, you pig! You just can't stop eating bread, sweets and all things that make you fat!" I would want to know WHY she felt she needed to do that, for starters, and talk about nutrition and how too much food can be bad for our health.. I guess I'm just saying I could never CALL my daughter fat. It's cruel, and for children under 10 years old, still depending on someone else for everything... there must be something you as the parent is doing that's making her that way...That's no reason to take it out on a child.

I know I'm rambling now. Just my 2 cents.

mameelynn said...

Wow! I was always considered the skinny one even though I wasn't all that small but as I got older the phrase I remember hearing a lot was "you look good but you would look really good if you lost 10 lbs" It took a long time for me to be able to learn that this was my mom's issue with her body not an issue with mine. It got to the point where I just stopped asking my mom how I looked. Now I really try to love my body every day! I know that there are things I would like to change but if I don't love myself now why would I love myself more if there was less of me? I'm thankful every day for this awesome body my Heavenly Father gave to me! I look at my body as the story of my life. Every stretch mark I have a fond memory for... Those are the proof that I was able to take care of and grow all three of my babies! It is sad to me when I see woman (and men) that feel they need to get back to their high school weights... When they were that age they were children!! Why would you want to be the size of a child??? I don't get it! It breaks my heart every time after spending time with my husbands parents they come home and use words like fat and chubby.... With tears in my eyes I gather my little 4,3 and 1 year olds into my arms and tell them that they are perfect and that they are just the way Heavenly Father made them! It makes me want to scream and yell at my in-laws... Don't force your insecurities onto my babies!!! It just really shows me how it takes 10 times the positive things to combat the one negative... Looks like I have a lot of work cut out for me!

Lidia Lavonna said...

I needed this this morning. I woke up and looked in the mirror and studied my arms and my belly and pronounced myself "fat." I spiraled downward. I cried for an hour. Nothing my poor husband could say could console me. I thought I was worthless, without self-control, wasting my life.

And then i read this. And I remembered my cousins calling me "gordita" and my dad telling me to watch what I eat and trying to make me run with him. I remember being thin as a child and feeling fat and ugly and worthless. And then my weight ballooning at puberty until age 20 when i slimmed down to 135... and now I'm hovering around 150, still average... but my feelings of self worth and happiness are directly correlated with what I eat in a given day, and how much the scale tips.

I need to recognize where this came from, remember I'm beautiful and gorgeous just like you.

Thank you.

Lidia

Kelly said...

I think it is the injustice owned by the subsequent child to be compared to the previous. I hate to be critical of your mother, who may have just been keeping track of these things for her own record. Maybe she was honestly concerned - maybe all her previous children had been very slender so you were different from what she'd known? I know I compare my children (albeit mentally, hot in written form) just to see where they are - I know what was healthy with my first child and she's my only solid comparison point for my second child.

I'm not condoning your mother's claims that your nearly "average" body was chubby and round... but maybe some people here should cut her some slack. Knowing your relationship with her (just from your blog of course) and your admiration for her, it seems if you haven't forgiven her you've at least moved on. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Kelly said...

Wow, I should have read all the way to Just Jamie's comment and said ditto.

Jeannie said...

This just makes me sad. Growing up my mom was always a petite 5'1" and 101 pounds. I took after my father and was always tall for my age and not chubby though they all told me I was. My mom was always commenting on how "big boned" I was and my dad would say things like, don't worry you'll grow out of it, no one in our family is fat. My mom had always wanted a tiny, petite daughter, just like herself, and she often let me know in subtle and not so subtle ways that I was a disappointment.When I wanted to take dance my mom told me big boned girls like me played Tennis. All of this led to an eating disorder when I was 14 and at 5'9" I ended up weighing 98 ponds. Instead of being worried and taking me to a Dr. even though I hadn't had a period in 11 mon. my mom was thrilled that I was so thin. I met my now husband at 15, and he slowly helped me recover. I am now 44, I had 3 sons and I have tried to teach them that real beauty comes from inside and women of every shape and size are lovely. My mom now tell me how beautiful I am and how lucky I am to be so tall, and I don't believe a word of it. I forgive her, but the pain is still there to a degree. Courtney, you are a beautiful woman!!! I love your writing.

Lindsey said...

CUTEST BABY PICTURE EVER.

Kortnee said...

This is what I do when I think of anything troubling from my past. I go to my secret closet, pull out my favorite bottle of gin, whiskey, or what have you, take a few swigs, and in no time I am laughing my ars off!

Shanté said...

I was always the "big boned" child in our family. When my uncle (he's a year older than me and like my older brother) would tease me I'd always yell, "I'm just big boned". I was never fat either, just not skinny. I finally lost my baby face when I was 16...it took that long. Then, I was called flat butt and my Mother told me my face was too thin. Seriously, you can't win.

Natasha said...

I have never been overweight but I still remember a comment my mother made about "If you keep eating butter like that you will get fat." And it still hurts.

People have no idea how the slightest comment will wound and hurt someone.

I struggle the other way because my babies have a hard time gaining weight (under 3% on the growth charts) and whenever someone says "They are so small" or "They don't weigh much do they?" it wounds me in different ways as well.

I think weight is such a touchstone issue for so many of us, whichever way it goes. And really, we need to recognize that we have bodies which can move and function and enable us to get through our days and THAT is what counts.

Mrs. Mari said...

We have the same story. My family called me tubby, and as I grew older the changed it to "Amazon woman". I have 5 petite thin sisters. I am 5'7 and weigh 135lbs, and they refer to me as HUGE! M two older sisters were snarky when introducing me to new friends saying, "THis is my BIG little sister" with the emphasis on BIG.

Reading this brought it all back to me. It still hurts and to this day not one of them has ever apologized to me, nor do they stop referring to me as Amazon woman. Families can be so cruel to each other when they think it's just funny. It's not funny.

My heart is hurting for you. You are so beautiful inside and outside. You have an amazingly curvey body that I am so envious of.

You really are a beautiful woman.

--Mari

kirsten said...

Whoa, I think you cloned your cute baby self and named her Ever! So sweet! My mom always told me to hold my tummy in, I had (and have) a sway back and a soft round belly. She told me she was worried about my back and that I needed my tummy muscles to be stronger. I believe her now as she just had her second surgery, but I secretly thought it was because I was fat (I wasn't). The thing that really got me thinking about how I looked was how she talked about herself. She didn't like her thighs, her arms, her chin, and as I resemble her so much, I thought I shouldn't love my body either. Now I know better, and try to embrace my shape in front of my ballet students, as I see the pain in their face if I joke about needing two tutus sewn together to fit me. Haha, I think it's funny, but they don't. They love me, and want me to feel happy, so I try to remember that and talk about whats important: all the things your body can do, hug, dance, comfort, breathe, and embrace all the different ways there are to be a beautiful woman!!

Charity Suzuki said...

Does anyone else want to eat a cookie after reading that? :(

Miranda said...

When I was almost 5-years old, I was molested by a 12-year-old neighbor boy. I had never been a "skinny" child but shortly after that I began to gain weight. This is also when my father began making hurtful and critical comments about my size. Already so insecure and feeling so much shame about my body, his comments only drove me to seek more comfort in food. Food acted like a drug for me - it numbed any emotional pain or discomfort I felt and enhanced any happiness I had. I was an obese child who turned into an obese teenager.

As a teenager when I would sit and eat at the table my father would sit and glare at me with a look of such disgust. At times I would glare back, but mostly I would try to ignore it until I broke down into tears. I learned to take my food down to my room. My portion sizes were off the charts, but you see, I was trying so desperately to fill the hole in my heart where the love and approval of my dad should have been.

At 16-18 I probably weighed close to (if not more than) 400 lbs. Several times my dad would hold either my 2-year-old or 4-year-old sister in his lap and laughingly whisper to them to say to me. Reluctantly they would turn to me and say, "Miranda, you're fat. You're ugly." If my dad caught my other siblings overeating he would say, "You better watch how you eat. Do you want to end up like Miranda?" You can imagine my devastation.

As I have slowly put less stock into the treatment of my dad, some of the weight has come off. But, at 25, I still weigh 300 lbs. It is only very recently (like within the last 3 days), thanks to my relationship with my Savior and inspiration from cjanekendrick and Janna Dean's blog posts that I have come to realize that my size really DOESN'T matter.

Christ has never loved me any less because I am fat. Being fat has never made me any less of a good, or kind person. In fact, my struggle with weight has probably made me even more compassionate than I would have been without it. I have come to realize that the body that I have thought about and treated with such contempt is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given me. I need to start taking care of it. Feeding it more nutritious food and exercising it regularly will be a part of that, but obsessing over a number on a scale will not.

I'm sorry for writing this novel of a comment, but these realizations have more of an impact than ever before. I know who I am and what I am worth and none of that can even come close to being expressed by such a trivial word as "fat". My father did the best he could for me with the limitations he was given by the generations before him. Because of that I have been given an extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow. Someday I will learn to forgive my dad. Maybe I will even have to thank him, because in the loss of my relationship with him I have gained an ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. And that is worth more than all the love he ever could have given me.

Kelly S. said...

I just have to say that Ever looks exactly like you as a baby! I think that's pretty special...and you can write that in her baby book :)!!

darilyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iliana said...

I like when you write what is, and leave the feelings out. It makes me feel like you feel it all and had no need to pigeonhole a specific emotion and thus prioritize what emotions are most important. They all are. You are such a great writer.

Kellie said...

To write the truth is an act of courage. Thank you for sharing something so personal and vulnerable. Beautifully done.

Stacey said...

Okay, I have to say that I disagree with EVERY single post!
I am happy to say that I am the product of a militant mother who addressed my weight on a daily basis.
So bottom line, if it were not for her, I would not be the successful, beautiful and skinny (mind you) person that I am today.
I am just thinking of all the amazing and wonderful opportunities that have come my way because of the way I look today!
I travel the world, and mingle with the most beautiful and successful people in the world, and better yet I am one of them! (thanks mom!)
Let's face it ladies. Our bodies DO matter. If they didn't we would NEVER give them a second thought EVER! (ha!)
Our men would agree and I think it is just an inborn nature that our mothers and those that are close to us know this as well.
I think we should quit being so hard on those people in our lives who only had/have our best interest at heart. They only want what is best for us because this is what leads to true happiness! So even if "reality bites" this is the way it is whether you like it or not.
I am living proof of someone that is living life to the fullest!

Vanessa Brown said...

I am back because I have been thinking of this. I wonder if I am already doing this to my girls! My girls are toothpicks, my husband and I are always kidding around with them....you skinney minnie! we need to fatten you up! how are you so skinny and you eat all that? When we go to the doctors they tell us how skinny they are, we even had one that was put down as "failure to thrive"

Eh I might need to re think things.

I am sorry for some reason all your posts make me really selfish...I just think about myself and my life after I read about your beautiful life! It is odd, hope its not very annoying.

Tamsin North said...

I can remember my aunt poking me and saying "what a round, fat belly! Do you have a baby in there?" I was seven and so very hurt by it.

I will never, ever, never, ever do that to a child. I promise.

:pG said...

I so appreciate you sharing your life with the world. I hope you put all your blog posts into a volume and I will buy them and read them and laugh and cry and giggle. Beautiful post. I was a perfect girl just like you when I was growing up. Still am!

Thank you!

SmileyIsles said...

I have to say, this makes me a bit sad. Poor wee Courtney.

jenifer said...

your mother is a grown, amazing woman. i'm sure she knows she wasn't a perfect mother. yes, she was a child of her generation and yes, she may have made some mistakes. my mom made lots of mistakes too. i am making lots of mistakes. this isn't a post criticizing the mother that you adore and who seems mary poppins in every other way... it is a post about who YOU are and WHY you are and what mountain you have had to climb. we all have to climb!! thanks again for sharing. MWAH to you're kissable cheeks!!

jenifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenifer said...

your... duh, i hate when i'm stupid.

Jennifer said...

Went through the same thing growing up. I remember not being allowed to get fancy dresses with sashes, I had to get drop waist dresses because I had a little tummy. Looking back on old pictures, I can see I was not overweight. I was put on my first diet in 5th grade. I have struggled with food and my weight all my life. I wonder if maybe I was just left to be who I was if I wouldn't have these issues now.

alicia said...

While I realize this isn't the point here, I'm amazed that your mother maintained baby #6's baby book! I couldn't even keep up with #2!

JLJ said...

I love fat babies. I love that my babies are fat. I encourage my babies to get fat. I know that I wrote in my babies' books about their chubbiness and I meant it as endearing and something that I love about them. But there is certainly a point you cross when it's not ok to 1) encourage fatness and 2) comment on fatness. Not sure when exactly that is. Age 2? Earlier? I hope I didn't screw it up for my kids.

My two daughters are 4 and 9. I will never "compliment" them by saying they look skinny. I don't let my husband "compliment" me by saying a look slim or skinny. I like to tell them they look great or healthy or that their outfit compliments their body well.

Court said...

From reading the other stories you write about your mother, she seems like a lovely and caring woman. But I can't believe mothers do this to their daughters!

I have so many friends who have bad self esteem because their mothers, to this day, tell them they look fat in certain things, or shouldn't wear their hair pulled back, or should wear more make-up, etc.

Sometimes I wish my mom had taught me more about appearance when I was younger, but mostly I'm grateful that she didn't. I'm 27, slightly overweight, pregnant with my second baby and I LOVE my body. My mom never said one word about the way I looked, and if I ever have a daughter, I plan to do the same.

Carrie said...

@ Stacey

Are you serious? I sure hope your post is sarcastic. Or else my heart is breaking for any daughter you might have. So sad...

You claim to be living life to the fullest while surrounded by beautiful, successful people? All thanks to your militant weight-checking mother? "This is what leads to true happiness! So even if "reality bites" this is the way it is whether you like it or not."

I am so glad that I don't live in your reality, and am grateful that my experience of true happiness doesn't include scales or physical measurements of any kind.

Courtney, I'm really enjoying all of your memoir posts so far, keep it up.

Alison said...

@Stacey...ugh! Really. Your wonderful militant mother managed to instill in you the belief that you are only worthy if you are beautiful and mingling with the "beautiful". I think you have missed out on a LOT of wonderful relationships and a lot of the joy life has to offer. I can tell you right now that traveling the world and feeling pressure to look a certain way in order to feel accepted by a certain group of people would bring me no lasting happiness whatsoever.

Are bodies important? Of course. Do they have to be perfect in order to be loved? No way. I have a family and friends who love an accept me for the person I am on the inside. I have had times in my life where I have been "thin" and times where I have been overweight. At all times I have felt that as long as I am healthy and have the energy to do the things I need to do, I am happy.

My mom taught me that. I have seen some of the world and I have plans to see much more. I have 5 beautiful children that I love UNCONDITIONALLY and that I am raising with the same positive body image...feel good and be healthy and everyone's body is different and that is OKAY. (Thanks, Mom!) I, too, am living life to the fullest and not because I am mingling with "the most beautiful and successful people in the world." (What a shallow basis for determining friends! And, just so you know, both beauty and success are subjective and I'm sure you and I would define it much, much differently). I am mingling with some of the kindest, most Christlike, and truly GREAT people in the world. I hope someday you can be loved for the person you are, too.

I feel so sad for you and for your mom, too.

Morgan Lee said...

Wishing you good things here, Miranda!

Atlantic Beachlife said...

Memoir usually generates a little controversy. Maybe you'll wish you HAD written the book but the time this is done. No reader comments in a book :-)

a) I hope you leave comments open and I'm guessing you will. You're throwing out a lot of controversial topics that are good to debate and discuss.

b) when i read your post I admit I felt shocked (probably too strong a word) to see that you were disclosing this b/c I felt it might embarrass your mom. I have not ever felt you had issues with your mom; rather, I believe she's a woman you love and admire, and feel close to, as an adult.

c) I know my mom would not like it if I'd shared those baby book comments because in today's culture it's obviously not the thing a mom would write about her daughter, even in jest. My mom would be mad if I'd publicly shared what you did, oh, I know that!

But memoir is by its very nature one's own reflection of events that resonated personally. I have to believe you've talked with your mom about this and she's okay with your sharing.

Why am I so concerned for your mom, I wonder? My visceral reaction to the post was, "Wow. That's embarrassing for Cindy," because I just don't think you harbor resentment ... and I wonder: let's face it. We can't be perfect mothers. What comments that I've made are the ones that will ring in the minds years later; the unintentional thing that shapes their point of view about themselves? I try so hard to be natural in tone about all matters that could negatively influence their self-awareness, etc... but there will be something i did or said that wasn't exactly right.

Of course you're perfect the way you are and etc., as everyone is saying... And I'm just totally focussing on how your mom might be feeling, more than what you do/did, upon reading the baby book comments. Gah!

That banner pic of your three kids? So cute. Ever's precious and the look on Erin's face! So bright and engaged. It sure doesn't take a baby long to be 'all up in it,' does it?!

HayleeBird said...

I was born in '77 also, the sixth child of nine. Grew up in Provo too. My mom did the same thing. Even offered to pay me to not eat sugar or butter on a monthly basis. I felt like she didn't love me as well because I was chubby. So sad thinking back on it. I have a 2 year old daughter who will probably be chubby like mom, and she will never hear anything about her weight from me. I think we have to learn from the mistakes our moms made and do better with our own daughters. They will have negative messages about weight etc from outside sources, we have to counteract it at home as much as possible.

Blueccc said...

This made my feelers hurt. I have inherited things my parents felt about themselves not moi.

Jenni said...

It saddens me to read through all of the comments of so many women who have experienced self image problems, eating disorders, and more - due to comments said to them as a child and in their youth.

My cousin actually told me to come read your blog and the comments, because earlier today I had posted on my own personal blog my own story with my eating disorder and how my parents made "comments" to me in my youth. Scare tactics, if you will, to prevent me from getting fat.

I am trying to heal from this, and am making every effort to never inflict my own children with these sorts of "words".

I wish I could give you a hug and let you know you are not alone, but obviously from all the comments, sadly, it seems that everyone needs a hug here.

Melissa Staker said...

First of all, adorable picture! No wonder your kids are beautiful. Secondly, this post made me sad. When I was a baby my family called me the Michelin tire baby because of my rolls. I know it was meant to be funny and it doesn't bother me, but other things my parents said when I was little and even recently, still hurt. Even though I know your mother didn't mean to hurt you by saying those things, it's a powerful reminder to be careful about what I say about my kids. My baby girl is 15 months old and is a bit chubby and I absolutely LOVE it - I think it's so cute! I do need to remember the power parents hold and be sensitive about what I say about it.

M. said...

I love my mom too. And the words "thunder thighs" were written next to the cheeky 2 year old with lucious little legs in my baby book. Some of my first memories were of my mom dieting and teaching me to count calories. I think it was out of love and concern and her own struggles with weight and body issues as a young girl. Now, at 39 I vacillate between self-loathing and self-acceptance but I bask in the glory of this strong and solid body that conceived, carried and birthed two beautiful children. My mom still offers her criticism and concern, but I moved past accepting it for fact.

Anna said...

Wow. I never realized how many other women were told they were overweight by their mothers. My mom was obsessed with her weight and would always make comments to me growing up. It didn't help that my sister was always a stick. I'm really sad for us all.

PS. Ever looks so much like you. I think she is one of the cutest kids I have ever seen.

Jan S said...

Courtney: One of the best things I learned (in therapy, ha!) is that often when people say hurtful things, it's really about their OWN fear and they're projecting it onto YOU. Yes, even mothers who love their children more than anything in the world do this! Keep that in mind when you read your baby book. I can bet you a billion dollars that your mom was struggling with her own weight issues and/or her parents had said the same thing about her weight/eating as a child. Regardless, it's hurtful. And it's OKAY to be hurt and say that.

I KNOW you love your mom! I hope everyone reading this knows that this post has nothing to do with holding grudges, being disrespectful to your mom, etc. My mom is honestly the BEST mom in the world...but I still needed help getting through some of my "issues" from when I was a child. (My mom had depression when I was growing up and we had a very codependent relationship.)

I'm proud of you for posting this. It is a huge part of your life story. And, to be honest, it helps me understand you better. You said before that you feel a need for attention or recognition as an "attention starved middle child?" Well, gosh, if I were called some of those names (even in jest), I would be seeking positive recognition, too!

THANK YOU for sharing. It is real. It is life. And it is part of who you are! ((HUGS!!))

Kelly said...

I too inherited a somewhat negative self image from my mother. Of course she didn't mean to, it just happened. We love each other dearly. However, it has been one of the most liberating of my adult experiences to throw off the negative assumptions I had made about myself and my body. I also have hope, because I know that I will damage my daughters in some way also (unintentionally, of course), and I am so relieved to know, that they will be able to heal also.

kshannoka said...

Ms. Courtney,
You are beautiful inside and out. I on the other hand am very heavy, and dread Easter with my fit and trim family.
Your babies look so much like you when you were young. They are lucky to have such an incredible mother!

Xteena said...

Thoughts on this? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/fashion/dara-lynn-weiss-to-write-book-on-policing-young-daughters-diet.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimeshealth&seid=auto

RenaeBell said...

You were set up. Your sweet Mother probably didn't even realize she was doing it. :(

Leslie said...

I was so angry with my mother for years for similar reasons until a few years ago when I found a baby picture of my mom. On the back my grand mother had written "Isn't she homely?" It hit me like a ton of bricks, I had no idea what my mom went through with her mother as a child. It taught me to cut my mom some slack and it allowed me to let go of most of my anger. But the old hurts and insecurities still pop up sometimes.

Eliza said...

THIS BABY PICTURE IS JUST TOO FUNNY! YOU HAD US ALL FOOLED IN BELIEVING THAT IT WAS YOU!! COME TO FIND OUT IT IS YOUR DAUGHTER! THAT VINTAGE FILTER IN PHOTOSHOP IS AH MAZING!

Dollymama said...
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Keep Good Company said...

I absolutely feel your pain. Unfortunately, even if we KNOW our family loves us, we remember the pain, even if it is only a handful of occasions. For me, I ALWAYS have struggled with my pain. ALWAYS. My parents fed us crap our whole life. I remember my dad mentioning how big my legs were when I was about 10. I cried later in my room. I remember telling my mom when I was about 8 or 9 that I wanted to be skinnier and would she help. She said I do need to lose weight, but it was up to me. Again, I was 8! The worst were my grandparents. I have numerous accounts where they made fun of me. I dreaded their visits. The last thing my grandfather said to me was at the last Christmas time. We were all together eating dinner, and I got a little more veggies. VEGGIES. He said I didn't need more of anything. I was 28. He has passed away and that was our last conversation. My grandmother called 2 weeks ago to tell me that if I cut out certain foods I may lose weight. I am 30.

I think the hardest is the fact that when I was skinny, at my wedding, (I weighed 135, btw) no one in my family ever told me I was skinny or looked good. In fact we were eating lunch 2 days before the wedding, my dad told me not to chips so I'd fit in my dress.

I married a sweet man who never says a word about my weight. I looked for someone like that. I thought if he teases or describes people by their looks I'll be doomed. He didn't and still doesn't.

Feeling your pain....

Traylia said...

Unfortunately I can't relate to ANY of you! My heart breaks and goes out to all of you though!

I have grown up on the other end of the spectrum. I grew up skinny and beautiful, and still am!

I have had to say A LOT and I mean A LOT to people then and now, "Don't hate me because I am beautiful!"

Its bad enough with my physical appearance, but then add my name on top of all of this and you can see where I have had my struggles.

My name is just so unique and beautiful sounding that people just can't seem to wrap their brains around my looks + my name!

Who would have thought that the name Traylia would cause such a stir!

I have to admit though that the times I feel exhausted from having to tell people "Don't hate me because I am beautiful!", I do get an honest and real sense of JOY every time I look in the mirror.

It is then at those times that I am able to focus on something else, and carry on with my day!

Thank goodness for mirrors right?

The one thing that makes everyone else feel bad, makes me feel the best!

Talk about being on the other end of the spectrum! Ha!

Please tell me there is someone else out there that can relate to me. Anyone? Anyone?

the fam said...

Every generation has their definition of health and healthy bodies. There was a time when having enough food to feed everyone was considered a real triumph. Having enough to put a little weight on was true luxury and sign of good health and material blessings. There was a time when voluptuous bodies were the ideal. We are now living in a culture where thin is 'in', but in truth people of many different weights can be equally healthy. It is more about lifestyle and food choices. In fact, many of those held up by media as models whose size is to be emulated actually have very unhealthy relationships with food and their bodies. Model are photoshopped by professionals into size 2 jeans when in real life their thighs are the bigger than the waistbands of those jeans.

I think you actually have (at least as portrayed in your blog) a very healthy attitude toward food and its place in your life. It brings you joy, you celebrate with friends and family over a great meal, you enjoy cuisine from around the world, you bake cookies for your children. I am sure your mom was filled with the same yearning to be a great mom that we all are. I am sure her writings portray the zeitgeist of the times.

Traylia said...

As you can see I don't relate to this recent post, but I keep telling myself "That is ok, you don't have to relate to EVERY post!"

There are PLENTY of posts that I DO relate to!

Just because there is a post that you do not relate to and it seems like everyone else does, there will be future posts, as well as posts from the past that I can relate to.

Maybe I will just read over some archives, or just wait for another post.

Believe me I am not upset that I do not relate to this post. I know it was not the authors intention to leave me out.

I don't even think she knows me!

These posts come from her heart and perspective of HER life, and there is NO WAY that all of them can cater to my needs!

Oh how desperately though I would like to relate to all of them!

Do you know what I mean?

Well at least I know what I mean.
Oh dear I am rambling now, and all I meant to do was make a point that it is OK that I do not relate to EVERY post!
Kudos!

Traylia said...

Look above a couple or three posts above to clarify what I am talking about.

Kudos!

Jenny said...

Lucky lucky Ever to look so much like her mom.

Lauren said...

Is that person for real? lols... I wish I thought I was that beautiful. Anyway... I think more than anything I am impressed with the meticulous notes your mom took in your baby book! You were baby number 4 or 5 right? That's impressive! I wonder if Nie would post what was said about her. :)

Alison said...

@Traylia...please tell me that was sarcasm. Otherwise, your vanity is astounding. I don't even know what to say to you.

The LDSMommy said...

Oh, those comments remind me so much of MY life. My sisters are all thin and beautiful. As I grew up - the oldest - I was always told "You have such beautiful eyes...if you could just lose some weight, you'd really be pretty." So, here I am - married, mother of 3, recently earned a J.D. with honors, and am working on a LL.M in a really cool area of law. And I still feel inadequate, like I don't measure up physically. I look at me in my sister's wedding pictures, and I see overweight and ugly. I look at my sisters, and I see thin and beautiful. I have two daughters, and I have refrained from saying the things to them that were said to me. I don't want them to have to deal with the ultra-negative body image that I have. I am working on it, though. I eat increasingly healthy (for a long time I've eaten to numb myself), yet I will always be big-boned and big-hipped. I will never be the sizes my sisters are (the biggest of them is a size 6 on a bad day). I wish I felt like I was valued for ME in my family, and not for what I look like.

Penny in Pink said...

No little girl should ever have to hear those words. I'm so sorry.

Alison said...

@Traylia (again): Did you read all the comments? If so, you will see that there is apparently someone else that can relate to you. Stacey, who only hangs with the beautiful people, sounds like she'd be right up your alley. You two may just be kindred spirits, living in some sort of alternate universe wherein your physical appearance is the most important thing to you.

Milady DeWinter said...

Ah, Courtney. I can relate all too well. I'm a 1977 baby as well, and I think I was put on my first diet when I was 6 years old. "Rolls", "flaws", "thunder thighs"... those were all my ever-constant companion from my former-model mother all through school. The one time she was actually ok with my appearance was at the height of my anorexia at age 17.
Even now, I'm a size 8 and she asks "jokingly" when I'm finally going to lose that baby fat.
Sigh.

You are such a beautiful woman, inside and out--I'm sorry you had to hear such cruel, ugly words. *hug*

Tami said...

Traylia is obviously here just to annoy people. You know what to do with an attention whore? Ignore them...they will go away!

Alisha said...

I was always thin growing up. I was thin until a few months after I got married, when I started having health problems. It is always so hard to look at myself and remember that for 2/3 of my life I was skinny. It's hard to hear, too.

KroonFamily said...

Are you kidding me? You are all getting worked up over Traylia? This person was obviously going after the Samantha Brick scandal in the UK. I mean, don't you think it WAS sort of coincidental that Courtney wrote this and Samantha Brick wrote the "Don't Hate Me Because I Am Beautiful" column in the Daily Mail ONE day apart... and "TRAYLIA" commented on the same day?! Google it... Funny...you all take yourselves SOOO seriously... sheesh!

KroonFamily said...

@ Courtney. This was very insightful. I was worried last week when things got a little ugly that you might begin to second guess yourself. Don't!! You have important things to say. It is obvious that you feel this memoir is something you are meant to do... do so with courage and remember: Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (that is from the New King James Version) Hang in there...

The Lady of the House said...

My mother always told me from the time I can remember that I would always be "a big boned girl". After I got married, my husband looked at me (and my skinny wrists and ankles) and said, "I think your mom is wrong. You are definitely not big boned."

I took up running (just 5K or less), lost all the baby weight and then an additional 30 lbs.

Turns out this 5'8" 'big boned' girl isn't so big boned at all. I am most comfortable at 130-140.

I won't be telling my daughters anything about their weight. Ever.

I just plan on teaching them they're beautiful, wonderful, and teach them to eat healthy by example.

LWSpotts said...

I don't know if my mom journaled by baby stats or not, but I do know that she began telling me - practically every single day of my life, and into my thirties - that I was fat and needed to lose weight. This started when I was about 12 years old (a girl of 5'2" weighing 98 lbs) and continued until I was long into my adult years, and (at last) truly overweight. My kid (and hopefully one day, kids) will NEVER hear that language from me. NEVER.

Amanda said...

I have always been on the other side of this, with my earlier memories being of someone with good intentions trying to "plump" me up. I went on my first ensure diet at 5, and remember feeling bloated and lethergic, but still being a failure since I didn't gain enough weight. I was called a skeleton, parallel, and gumby and developed a true loathing of mirrors.
As I got older my size became a double-edged sword where my thinness became my identity. I was the "perfect" size for dancing, the "perfect" flyer for cheerleading, When puberty finally hit (16), I was terrified at the thought of being a larger size and thus no longer "perfect". If I wasn't the skinny girl, who was I?
Even know as a soon-to-be-wed adult I avoid mirrors, since I can't resist pinching and pulling at anything that could potentially become a roll.
I can only hope that when I become a mother I can look beyond size and see my children for who they are, thick or thin.

Emily in Wonderland said...

This is how I remember myself as well. I remember asking if I could have cris cut fries at Carl's Jr and my dad said no, I didn't "need it" although everyone else had gotten what they wanted. My sister piped up and got in his face and said, "Well, why dad? Why can't she have it?" Challenging him to spit it out and say I was too fat to eat any more. He didn't and I got the fries, but I knew what was going on. I ate to soothe myself that night.

I was always told I was fat. I was often told how I weighed 11 pounds at birth. I was always told to slow down eating or not eat so much, or if we went out to eat it was insisted that my dad and I share a meal because it was "too much" for me alone, and then he would comment the whole meal how fatty it was and how bad it was for us and how fat he was.

He still does this.

By 10 I was extremely self concious of my portly body and so afraid of my pant size that when I went shopping with my sister and couldn't button the shorts she picked out for me I lied, bloused my shirt over the top and said they fit great. She bought them. I couldn't even button them.

A couple years ago, I looked at pictures of me from elementry school.

I was not fat. I was maybe 5-10 pounds overweight, IF that at all, and mostly, I carried it in my face and was more guilty of a bad taste in clothes as a result of trying to hide my body than anything else.

I felt so much shame and sadness for myself. There was no reason I should have been so obsessed and ashamed of how I looked. I genuinely thought no one wanted to be my friend because I was fat.

No one wanted to be my friend because even I did not want to be my friend because I was so ashamed of... something that wasn't even there.

Emily in Wonderland said...

The repeated comments that it is "generational" are very aggravating.

It is NOT generational. Whether this happens or not depends on whether the parent is aware it is a problem. THAT'S IT.

My brother in law and sister have two children. They are 11 and 14. Both are extremely athetic. The younger is the girl and is on competitive cheerleading squads with high schoolers. She has always been on the verge of underweight and in the 10% or less category for weight and on the higher end for height.

My brother in law constantly rides his daughter for her weight.(He does it to his son too, but considering her size, this is most concerning.) CONSTANTLY.

"If you eat that you're going to get fat."

"Don't eat butter, it makes you fat."

"That's really fatty, you shouldn't eat it."

"Do you know how many calories are in that?!"

"Cheetos? You're eating CHEETOS? Do you know how much saturated fat is in that? You know how bad that is for you? You're going to swell up like a cow!"

This is NOT generational. My sister sees nothing wrong with his comments, and the daughter obeys. She's thin as a rail and works out several hours a day with her squad or on her gymnastics team. She's not even a teenager yet. This is going to turn into an eating disorder.

NOT generational. It is NOT.

Creole Wisdom said...

I know you love your mother and that she loves you and that she is a lovely, wonderful person. I think her comments were/are emotionally abusive. Reading them made me want to rescue the baby you. When I first opened this post all I could think was: what a beautiful, strawberry blond baby CJane was, gorgeous. To read those ugly words after the photo shocked me.

I am so grateful and blessed that I grew up in a home where my parents told me I was beautiful and I was more than my physical appearance. I remember my dad infuriated, telling the restaurant hostess who was fawning over my hair that, "Katie is more than her hair." My worth came from my hair? That's what society has told me. No wonder I chopped it off.

I am disgusted at our world. Truly. Disgusted that it tells children and adults that their looks are not suitable, that they don't deserve love and are worthless based on the outside.

I'm angry about pornography and what it has done to people.

Yet, I am amazed by the hope and love that you and others have. Pushing through these things and saying "no more."

Lilly said...

Oh I know how it feels. I think I have much the same in my book. I don't hold it against my Mother because we all try and do our best. However, reading this book many years later did make me understand myself and my issues with food and weight a whole lot better. I guess you can break the cycle for your girls. although I am not so sure I was that successful myself simply because it has become a focus for me my whole life.

marlamuppets said...

quotes from my dad

"if you eat that cookie, you have to go to the clue!"

"you are one chubby woman". to my mom. my MOM.

to my 10 year old sister who would get teased at school "you really need to do something about this"

the thing is ... our parents are so flawed. i'm not sure where the notion came from that our parents were supposed to be perfect. they were never meant to be. some of us have suffered horribly by our parents hand ... i'm afraid being told we are fat is pretty low on the list. however, when i am married and have a husband, i am going to make damn sure that he 1) doesn't comment on what anyone eats in public "wow another serving" 2) that he doesn't slap his daughters on the butt 3) that he doesn't tell them they need to work out and go on a diet.

gah!!

Sarah-lucy said...

I agree that this is not a generational issue AT ALL. I overheard an (LDS) mom saying similar things to her daughter not long ago.

I remember one time (after I made the hs field hockey team and consequently began exercising more) my mom started commenting on my how skinny my legs were and how space there was between my thighs. And somehow it made me uncomfortable, because I just wanted my body to be strong and good at sports, and she was making it into this sexual thing. I also felt like my overweight mom was envious of my teenage body.

There really are so many ways you can mess your kids up :/

Ramirez said...

I'm glad you addressed this today. My daughter gives both of her children chocolate milk regularly and they are overweight because of it. The problem is she makes comments about it to them and in front of them. I keep telling my husband that will affect them and he agrees. On top of that my daughter has lost weight in the past several months and wears a size extra small and a zero in pants and she's 5'7" tall. I'm very scared there's an eating disorder being developed that's very unhealthy for her and the children. I think I will talk to her and mention your baby book. I know your mother didn't mean harm and I don't think my daughter does either. She loves her children dearly and tends to them lovingly. That's really the only thing I dislike about the way she is raising them. Like my dad says, we do the best we can as parents and we will make mistakes, it's just that we hope the kids will forgive us for the mistakes we've made.

Stella B's Kitchen said...

Thank you for the reminder that no matter how hard we try as mothers to do our best, we will inevitably scar our children in some way. Hopefully some good-hearted momma will read this and stop the weight references that you described. My perception of your relationship with your mom has always been complete adoration from both of you. What an amazing lesson you (both of you) have shared. I enjoy your posts so much. Thank you.

lady lee said...

This just broke my heart.

Kimberly said...

The first thing I thought when I read this was, "wow as the 6th baby she has a baby book." I'm the 4th and I have nothing :).

Rhiannon said...

This makes me sad for you. My daughter has mentioned weight a few times, but mostly in relation to me as I'm quite heavy at present. I'd never however write or say any of these things about myself out loud or in writing, and NEVER to my daughter. I hope you find peace with just being.

Kim Orlandini said...

Heartbreaking.

Melissa said...

I can totally relate. My good friend, Leslie, referred me to your blog. She thought I could specifically relate to this post - and she was right. As a child, it seems like appearance was everything. I went through a "chubby period" during my childhood and it was focused on A LOT. Growing up, I wrote noted to my mother. I always started them with - you are so beautiful and skinny mommy. Obviously there was a lot of focus on appearance and weight. And it was better to be skinny. Now I have major body and food issues. It's sad how much emphasis we put on our weight and appearance. I am trying to be a better example for my own children, but it's not always easy when you have a background that was SO weight-conscious.