A building scream

I think I am going to have to go utterly, boilingly, barking-and-mewing mad. It’ll be tiresome and noisy, I know. I’d be sorry about that if I wasn’t mostly preoccupied with not flinging my beloved lap-top across the room and tearing all my hair out. (Perhaps I should do my hair first. There’s a lot of it, and it’ll take a while, and I may have calmed down enough by the end of it to spare the lap-top).

This is a rage, a confused, miserable, frightened and utterly, utterly bitter rage, has been a long time growing in me (a whole lifetime, no doubt).

You see, I am a fat woman. I have been fat for about ten years now. I was also a fat child. Or, to be absolutely accurate, I was a tall well-grown child who started developing breasts at nine, and many people told me I was fat, with particular reference to the Alarmingly Precocious Boobies, so I assumed I simply was. I look back at photos of me at the time and I am so very not fat. A little chubby between nine and thirteen, say, as my hormones tried to work out where the hell to put all this oestrogen-related adipose tissue, but not fat. Adolescence was a royal fucker, and my self-image went to hell in a hand-cart, and a single-sex boarding-school full of neurotic young women with Daddy issues and abandonment issues and body issues of their own is no place for tall, shy, awkward girls with large breasts.

So I stopped eating. And I was very ill as an adolescent (nothing to do with not eating – I had glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) and I had a gigantic ovarian teratoma, which hurt me for YEARS (no I am not fucking kidding), YEARS before it was diagnosed, and twisted and ruptured my ovary before it could finally be removed). So, I was finally deliciously slender and lithe (with splendid tits), and I was permanently, persistantly, in pain, throwing up, unable to eat, refusing to eat, exhausted, failing at school, and fainting (yes, out cold), up to once or twice a week.

So I spent my twenties getting fat again. And learning not to eat like a deranged person. And learning that being fat is acceptable, attractive even, or at least not the reason why a person is or is not attractive. I dealt with the fact that I comfort eat (my parents had terribly issues around food, love and control, so, funnily enough, so did I, which is why I was a chubby teenager, alone and bullied at school in a different country from most of my family. Give me the damn sweeties already). I got to a point where I could eat a piece of cake or a bowl of ice-cream to soothe myself, and it was no big deal, and I’d have a ‘healthy’ meal later rather than punishing myself by not eating and not eating until I cracked and binged on something else. Admittedly, I was eating enough to get fat, even if a lot of what I was eating was ‘healthy’, as in salady and broccoli-y and lean-chickeny and wholewheaty. But fuck it. Really, fuck it. My blood-pressure was OK, I could go on seven-hour hill-walks, I could touch my toes with my legs straight and stand on one leg long enough to wash my foot in the bathroom sink. My husband thought I was hot. My husband loves booty. I had anovulatory PCOS (well, I used to), but, please understand this, I hadn’t ovulated a-fucking-tall when I weighed 120 lbs either.

Of course, various doctors told me I needed to lose weight – often, offensively, when I’d actually gone to see them about a persistant cough or a sprained knee. At first, this would usually fling me back into a pattern of weird and disordered eating – starving and binging, thinking the Soup Diet was a good idea, cutting out wheat, cutting out breakfast (I still have issues with breakfast. I DO NOT want to eat before nine am. I have to leave for work at 8:30 am. Arseage). In the end, I learnt to ignore them.

Then we wanted to have a baby, and I was anovulatory, and being anovulatory gave me polyps and made me bleed non-stop for five months. I was told then that my weight was contributing to the anovulatory thing and the bleeding, and this time (OK it hurt) I realised there were sound scientific reasons why my fat was Not Good. I lost a little weight, I started ovulating even without Clomid, yada yada yada.

I was told my weight was stopping me ovulating. I was told I was too fat for IVF, as the combination of the hormonal mess of my weight plus the extreme artificial hormonal induction was risky. I got the impression, somehow, that if I was ovulating fairly regularly, my hormones were more-or-less behaving. No one seemed bothered by my short luteal phase (and yes, I mentioned it at pretty much every bloody visit to the fertility clinic).

I lost several pregnancies. I put on a fair ol’ wad of comfort weight. Didn’t stop me ovulating, not a problem. We had tests, all tests were inconclusive, and mostly focused on thrombophilias and karyotyping, and everyone kept telling me to go away and keep trying.

And finally we coughed up big shiny bucks and went to see the world-renowned Professor in recurrent miscarriage, who found that I did actually have a treatable thrombophilia. But that the fat, the fat I had learned to accept, the me that I had finally learned to live with, and not punish and starve and drug with carbohydrates, the me that was, actually, not that fucking fat, and not that fucking unhealthy, who didn’t deserve to be shamed, who didn’t deserve to feel ugly and unworthy, was wrong, bad, damaged and sick after all. Apparently, the fact that my luteal phase is short is an issue. When I ovulate, my hormones are so unbalanced that the corpus luteum doesn’t last long enough, which is a sign that the egg produced may have been damaged, and unable to grow into a normal embryo. Fat women have more miscarriages, The Professor told me. Women with PCOS have more miscarriages. Fat women with PCOS have more miscarriages.

Bitterly ashamed, I chose the least unhealthy and misery-inducing diet I could think of and made myself lose a stone (14 lbs). I had another miscarriage. Despite comfort-eating for weeks over Christmas, I only put on a few pounds, and I’ve lost most of them again. But this time, now, I am doing it by eating like a deranged person. I can’t eat the healthy, low-carb, mucho-salad diet that worked so well over the summer. I can’t stop myself eating a whole bar of chocolate in one go to comfort myself. I make up for it by skipping lunch. I drink too much coffee in the pre-ovulatory phase, and none at all in the luteal phase, just in case. I tell myself over and over again to go and get salad for lunch, and find myself walking past the salad bar to go to the coffee-shop for something, anything involving bread and caffeine. I keep forgetting to take healthy snacks to work with me, and end up eating biscuits a colleague brought in (I hate biscuits. I really do really hate most biscuits. So this really is disordered eating) and more coffee.

And a complicated braid of things are going on inside me:

For one thing, there’s the raging, raging guilt and shame that my weight is killing my babies.

There’s the appalling waste of all the work I did to learn to accept and love myself as I was, to treat myself with kindness and respect and to make my health paramount rather than my appearance or the judgements of others. All that work. All those years. All gone. I think I hate myself and my fat as intensely now as I did at sixteen, when I lived on toast, black coffee, and fingernails and cut myself to deal with the poisonous feeling of just being plain wrong and bad.

(I am not self-harming now. Do not panic. I couldn’t do that now anyway, it upsets H so, and not doing it for his sake is quite a powerful motivator).

There’s the unfairness of it. There are many, many women out there, as fat as I am, much fatter than I am, who get pregnant and carry to term. In the grand scheme of things, my weight and size are neither extreme nor dangerous. I can buy pretty clothes in most shops. People do not point at me in the street. I fit into the seats on public transport, I fit through turnstiles, I fit in public toilets whose cubicle doors actually brush the toilet-bowl on opening. When I’m not just getting over my period, I can trot up three, four, five, six flights of stairs without breaking a sweat or having to stop to catch my breath. But my fat, mine is excessive and baby-killing. This is so unfair that I do, sometimes, wonder if The Professor is lying to me about my weight. (But then I read the statistics and yes, fatter women are more likely to miscarry. But not certain to miscarry. Which is why most fat women have perfectly healthy pregnancies. They don’t all have my hormonal issues. And it’s still, burningly, evilly, unfair).

There’s the fact that I associate being thin, for me, with being in pain and ill and VERY HORRIBLY DEPRESSED. Losing weight is exhilarating and terrifying. I’m being good! I’m thinner! Everything hurts! Like the Little Mermaid, who in exchange for acceptable, desirable legs, lost her lovely tail, her beautiful voice, and every step she took on her new legs was like treading on broken glass. I am scared of being thin.

I am also scared of being thin because of the amount of attention it got me. I was hot, but this meant that instead of just the love and desire of one good person, like H, I also had to put up with/deal with/fend off the attention of nasty people. The men who whistled and cat-called. The women who hated me because their boyfriends had noticed me. The boyfriend who wouldn’t take no for an answer. The step-father who dealt with his discomfort at my ‘improved’ appearance by constantly mocking and insulting me. The fact that my family’s disapproval switched seamlessly from my weight to my untidy jew-fro, my Doc Martens, my failing to get into Oxbridge, my refusal to do Law. Being skinny won me nothing but competition, envy, and coercion. Being fat was safer, more comfortable.

(And there’s the fact that sex, when skinny and when carrying a large and painful ovarian teratoma about, is often unpleasantly painful even when you do want to do it).

Then there’s the desperate need for comfort, sedation even. I come from a family of addicts. Growing up, food was equated with love, and love was very much conditional. Wasting food, leaving it on your plate, was utterly forbidden. Getting fat was shameful. Eat everything, eat more than you want to eat. Do not get fat. If you are good, you will get sweets. If you are given sweets as a gift (Easter, Christmas, birthdays), your parents will take them off you and force you to share them with everyone else, and if you protest, eat them all themselves, as greedy little girls don’t deserve them. If you lose weight, you will be pressed to eat more. If you gain weight, you will be reviled and shamed. If you are naughty, you will be sent away from the table without eating. If you refuse to eat something, you will be forced to eat it. To this day, if I feel bad and guilty about something, I feel I need to eat something I don’t really want or like, and if I feel sad and lonely, I need to eat sugar, and if I feel happy, I need to cook something elaborate and delicious (if you come to my house and I have made you lasagne, that means I LOVE YOU).

Feeling as I do now, bad, angry, miserable, out of control, ashamed and, oh God, how I miss my babies, how I want even just one of them to have lived, I can’t eat ‘normally’. I can’t do the healthy-if-strict diet that works, I can’t starve myself, I can’t eat what the hell I want and to hell with it. I hate cooking at the moment (poor H), I really hate it. And I’m good at cooking. All that talent and love and attention, contaminated with guilt and rage. I can’t make nice things for H and me. I try to, but for months now, H has been doing most of the cooking, whereas I used to do most of it, and enjoyed it. I eat what I’m given at home, and spend lunch-times at work fighting hard with myself to chose something good and tasty and low-carb, while my head wants me to, literally, eat shit and die.

Five years ago I was doing so well. I was doing so well.

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39 responses to “A building scream

  • Illanare

    Oh sweetheart. I wish I had some wise words. Sending hugs and warm thoughts instead.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    this qualifies as another post i wish i didn’t not understand so well. but i do, oh, i do. granted, i have not had to deal with all of this, but i have had a great deal of it, and it is horrible.

    re: PCOS. i would really like to know if anyone’s done studies that deal with the causality of weight and ovulation. that is, do PCOS patients lose weight and then get better, or does the disease get better for reasons of its own and then the patients can lose weight (because their hormones are behaving better)? sure seem like the latter is true for some people, but i suppose letting people know that would both admit that disease is scary and doesn’t go away just because of will power and rob folks of some excellent fat-shaming opportunities.

    i am a chubby little skeptic and tend to doubt that extra weight (short of extremes) is quite the same thing as disease, even if the two do sometimes co-exist (as skinniness and disease do, too). …which makes me a pretty terrible diet-cheerleader. diets have only ever made me fatter — well, and grumpier, angrier, and more tired.

    bah.

  • BigP's Heather

    I also wish I had the right words to say…but I don’t.
    I love you and I’m thinking about you.

    I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.
    Or better yet, through H’s.

  • Ben

    Oh my…

    I do wish you didn’t write so well, and explain so clearly.

    You are right. It is SO UNFAIR.

    Ben

  • QoB

    Oh, god. Your pain is so very very visceral here; though I don’t suppose it’s much comfort to hear (again!) what a very very good-indeed writer you are.

    I hope all that work is not wasted. I don’t think it is.

  • Jem

    I hope this post was therapeutic for you and that you see that you do deserve to be YOU whatever shape or form that is. Fuck your fuck-wad family and their food trips. This is NOT about them. Fuck those men who whistle, etc. The bottom line is YOU need you to be healthy and happy. H needs you. Your future babies need you. The rest of them don’t matter. Period. Fuck them.

  • Solnushka

    Oh no no no. It is so unfair. And I am so sorry that you have got to this stage. Bloody HELL. Thinking of you.

  • a

    That is an incredibly mind-fuck there. I have issues with eating healthily (I don’t want to! It doesn’t taste good! I’m a 4 year old!), but they are, fortunately, not emotional issues. I’m sorry that life has conspired to make something necessary and enjoyable like food into your nemesis. One more reason to shout NOT FAIR!

    I know that hormones and weight have some ties. I know that hormones and age have some ties. I know that hormones and genetics have some ties. What is unfortunate is that doctors know all of these things, but weight is the only area on which anyone can have any effect, so they focus on that.

    The other thing I know is that weight is much harder to lose once you hit 40. Especially when you do like cookies better than any other foods. So, if you can get yourself into healthy eating habits, do it now before your metabolism takes Satsuma and goes on a permanent holiday.

  • Rachel

    I am so sorry. It is astounding how many of us were dealt weird food issues by well-meaning family members (I can finally laugh when I am hungry now and out with my mother and she offers me the mini-sized sandwich/snack bag with 6 walnuts carefully counted and weighed in it, and I of course immediately make a beeline for the ice cream, which I obviously wouldn’t do if I were alone).

    I really wish that weight and PCOs weren’t linked (in my case, the process of losing weight rather than the starting or end weight seems to be key. To the extent that my first clinic had me take months off to “bulk up” after losing more than 2 stones). I really do. Because of all “medical” issues we judge people so much more for their weight than being out of shape or addicted to cigarettes, or whatever other problem they may have. I hope that H is being supportive, and that you find a way to reign in your cravings for carbs. I’ll fully admit that I did it by shopping: skip the hot chocolate, and you can have a new book, etc. But luckily we were in a place where that type of indulgence was (temporarily) not a big problem.

  • May ProblemUterus

    I could have written so much of this. It is just so so so unfair it hurts.

  • Quiet Dreams

    I have dealt with comfort eating and food mind-fuckery my whole life.

    Add to that the mind-fuckery of the last few years you’ve been through…it’s enough to make me…I don’t know, but something really bad.

  • lulu

    I could weep reading this post. I am so sorry that infertility has stolen so much from you. You are correct that it is appallingly, sickeningly unfair. Thank you for writing and thank you for waking up every day and putting one foot in front of the other, and giving hope to people like me. You are an incredible woman worthy of so much admiration and love.

  • manapan

    Oh sweetie. It’s just so unfair. You are clearly more physically fit than most people and you have lost some weight sensibly over the past several months, so why does everyone have to keep bringing it up? Many of us have never met you, but we love you and you deserve so much better than to beat yourself up over this. I wish I had something more to offer than mere virtual hugs.

  • Teuchter

    I’m probably not alone in wishing the World Renowned Professor could read this.
    Much love
    xx

  • Womb For Improvement

    That’s a lot to deal with all at once.

    All I can say is, when I met you – having read your blog for a while and seeing your dark asides about your own weight I anticipated a large lady. But you weren’t, to me you looked pretty normal so I am amazed there is such a focus from medical practitioners on your weight – it seems to me like they are clutching at straws, they don’t know what is going on and this is one thing that they think can be fixed. Saying that, to eliminate this from medical enquiries by loosing weight does make sense.

    I am sorry that it is so tough.

    And that you are so tough on yourself.

  • wombattwo

    OK, I’m going to agree with WFI here, I get the impression that there is a faint whiff of clutching at straws from the medical bods you have seen. Doctors don’t like things they don’t understand, and they’re often such a breed of people that they don’t even admit when they don’t understand or know something (yup, me too). They also hate something they can’t treat, something they can’t do anything about. And so they focus on the things they know about, thinking “that MUST be the reason”, and the things that they “can” do something about.

    It seems to me (and do forgive me if I’m reading this wrong) that when you met the professor, she went through her list of usual suspects, found the slight thrombophilia thing and thought “aha!”, felt quite pleased with herself that there was something she could do something about and sent you off with aspirin etc. Then, when that didn’t work, or even before then, she carried on going through her list, thought “Oh May’s BMI isn’t below 25, that might be it” and told you that fat is evil etc.

    I think she’s just (understandably) focussing on things that she can do something about, that she knows can cause miscarriages, when there’s probably a great big dollop of “I don’t know” in there too. And does anyone REALLY know exactly why miscarriages occur most of the time? No.

    I don’t mean to be rude about the Professor by the way – I think she’s one of the best at what she does.

    At the end of the day, I don’t think you’re fat. Not that I’ve ever met you, but from what you and others say, you sound, well, normally-sized to me. You do sound very fit and healthy, and isn’t that the most important thing? OK adipose tissue isn’t great, but a) we all have it, and b) you’re hardly a contender for “Britain’s Fattest”. Not nearly.

    I suspect, darkly, that if you did become a “perfect size 10”, then they would find something else to bug you about.

    It really isn’t your fault. I promise you that, and wish so much that you could know that too. I hate that infertility has taken so much from you (as it does from everyone). Perhaps it’s time to start getting YOU back?

    I also think you have to ask yourself this – if you lost weight, became a size 10 or whatever, and suddenly you can carry to term, well great. If it didn’t work, if you still miscarried, still had a slightly screwy luteal phase, then how would you feel then? If it would be “well I did all I could and at least I know that, and I don’t have any regrets” then OK. But if it’s going to be “I lost myself, I lost who I am, my happiness and my health, it was all for nothing and I can’t get it back” then is it really worth it?

    Sending you many, many hugs, and any support you want or need.

    x

  • Valery

    Evilly unfair.
    Because I love you I will make lasagna this week, with home made pasta sheets, wholemeal if you like. And bits of broccoli. Do you like it spicey?
    I know nothing about food-diet-issues, but I do know that depression can stop you from enjoying things you love. So I can cook for you or HB when you hurt but it feels futile to cook for me.
    Oh, and please leave your hair on? I adore ringlets…

  • bkwyrm

    Oh, May. I wish I could help.

  • Laurel

    Ah, hon. I’m, yet again, sorry, without much better to say myself. But I really did like wombattwo’s thoughts.

  • twangy

    O hellkite! There is so much to deal with here – a storm of things. There is grief, there is painful personal history, and while the two interact to make a living nightmare, they might not be connected in real terms. As the others have wisely pointed out, the weight issue (which I don’t even get – BMI, pfft, stupid system) may well have become the target of the doctors’ attention, in as much as it presents the one controllable variable.

    And of course, I echo what WFI has said: You are NOT a “fat woman”. You are lively, full of intelligence, humour and energy, strong, kind. Physically, like the rest of us. I wish you much peace. Be kind to yourself, you are grieving.

  • MFA Mama

    Ohhh damn. You’re such a goddamn good writer, and if simply beholding this from oceans away on a screen makes me frantic then I can’t imagine what it’s like in your head. Just READING this made me want to scream, and travel through time and snatch you up and tell you’re you’re wonderful at every age and size, and yell at everyone to lay off you and check out that abdominal pain and shut the bloody fuck UP.

    I’m not going to say they’re full of shit about the adipose tissue because I’ve had to see an endocrinologist for complications of excess adipose tissue having disastrous hormonal consequences myself, but I too wonder whether the adipose tissue is causation or simply correlation (as in: yes, MY excess adipose tissue was making me have dangerous hypoglycemia issues, but then the moment I lost it all everyone became preoccupied with the great honking mass on MY ovary, and I wonder if I would have done just as well had they found and removed that FIRST rather than getting distracted with the fact that I was fat). I will say that enough fat women (myself included on at least one occasion) successfully conceive and carry children while fat that they should NOT be pointing to that as a PRIMARY cause of your woes; perhaps it is contributing and perhaps it is not but honey there is no way your fat killed your babies.

    I think in a way it’s like the doctors having an eating disorder on your BEHALF: “well this is AWFUL and we certainly can’t figure out what the problem is here or do fuck-all to control it, so let’s make it about a variable that we CAN quantify and exert some control over, hey? LOSE WEIGHT, MAY!” And of course your upbringing and history set you up to accept that without question (not saying that was disordered thinking or a “bad move” on your part at ALL, mind you–doctors are authority figures we’re supposed to TRUST). Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT.

    This may be one of those situations where we never know how much is science and how much is society; certainly eliminating controllable variables can be a sound process toward figuring out an unknown one, but if that’s the case they could at least throw you a bone and admit that they’re grasping at straws. I suspect it’s more like Bionic was speculating, that holding onto weight is a sign in women with PCOS that the hormones are more out of whack, and losing it that you’ve stabilized. In the end I’m afraid the truth may be that the medical profession’s preoccupation with your weight ISN’T any more scientific than yours as an adolescent (or even now) and it’s just a scapegoat for things that they CAN’T control. That’s just not a very palatable answer, though, in that it means there ARE no answers.

    I’m so sorry you’re caught up in the middle of all of this having to try and stay minimally sane in the face of such a mindfuck, because I think it’d be enough to make anyone ELSE start barking ages ago. That’s the number one misconception most people (doctors included) have about women with disordered eating habits: that they’re weak. They’re not. If that was the case they’d cave in to biology and logic and have something reasonable to eat. You’re strong as an ox, because you’ve had to be. I just wish you hadn’t HAD to be so strong to carry on through all of this, because it fucking sucks, and it’s massively unfair, and you’re lovely and deserve a break.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh, my dearest dear.

    What can I say to you? It is, as you say, burningly, evilly, unfair, misery-inducing, and a royal fucker. So much of what you say strikes a resonant chord in me. So very much.

    Guilt and shame and conflict (Oh, May. Such horrible, appalling conflict. You poor girl.) notwithstanding, I don’t think you need to fear the spectre of being thin or being fat: you are a different and more resourceful individual now. You have a healthy relationship with food (you like it), your body (you like it) and exercise (you don’t hate it). Also, I don’t think that the invidious, tortured, BASTARD position you are currently in concerning your weight is anything other than temporary: I feel sure that following a successful pregnancy, your weight, whatever it was, would cease to trouble you. The spade-work you put in earlier in life has built you an even holistic keel regarding your body and self image.

    But there’s this goddamned… Issue standing between the Here and the Future. And I don’t quite know how to advise. The weight issue may indeed be a non-issue, but I think we need to assume it matters, because we can’t know otherwise. If t’were me (and, in fact, it IS me, because I need to lose a stone practically immediately) I would be tempted to go on a black-coffee-and-forced-march abuse-diet for a couple of months, and shed the weight fast and painfully. I have found, moreover, that the gym is an excellent place to be ANGRY. But this is my solution, and it is not the cleverest, I know.

    You are CONTINUING to do well, my darling. 5 years ago you had traversed mild-to-moderate trauma, and had your head held high. You are now traversing the proper north-face-of-Eiger type stuff, and your chin is still above the mixed-metaphor water.

    I love & admire you for it.

  • purrfurr23@yahoo.com

    “Wasting food, leaving it on your plate, was utterly forbidden. Getting fat was shameful. Eat everything, eat more than you want to eat. Do not get fat.” Exactly, exactly, exactly. I’ve just started to puzzle through this wreck of food and family. Clean your plate, eat every bite, don’t you dare waste food, I made you cookies and pie and breads because I love you and if you don’t eat them then you must not love me back. But- Do. Not. Ever. Gain a pound.

    My mother’s highest compliment is “You look like you’ve lost weight!” And it makes me glow, and then gag a little at the same time. Every time. I’m tall as well, six foot now, and I always was for my age and over and over I got “No one will ever want you if you’re taller than them.” Which seems almost crueler looking back, over something completely out of our control. Tall, chubby, and with big curly hair. Big in every way being drilled in the importance of being small in every way. I don’t have any answers, only commiseration and sympathy to offer. I’m so very sorry for all your troubles.

  • Solnushka

    I feel quite strongly about the fact that the miscarriages are NOT your fault, or the fault of the extra weight.

    You have, most unfortunately, other medical issues. The PCOS on its own, for example. Which is the cause of the extra weight after all. Particularly if the rest of your family were following the EAT! regime and not putting on weight. I know you’ve been told about losing weight before, but if no doctor was able to explain clearly why, or make the connection between the short luteral phase, the miscarriages and your weight, then why should you be the one to? Your attitude to your weight was perfectly sensible.

    I know you didn’t want to get back to the way you were eating when you were thin. What HFF said there though. You can come back from that, and you will. You have two options there I think, one to give yourself licence to go the black coffee route for a bit, as a conscious choice, as a sort of method of surrendering to the scream for a bit. I do think you are due a bit of suitably controlled kicking of the furniture if you see what I mean. It might help to set and end date. A bit like giving up smoking, praps. Never could cut down myself, but stopping cold worked quite well.

    The other is to try to get back on the straight and narrow now. You say that you can eat well at home if you let H do the cooking. Do not feel bad about this. Again, I think it’s a perfectly sensible attitude actually. Why should you be forced to forcefeed yourself lettuce, lettuce and nothing but lettuce and prepare it too? I was wondering if you could get H to make you up snacks/ lunch to take to work too rather than having to do it yourself. Or if you set aside time to do it together in the evening, rather than, again, being forced to endure the torture and organise and administer it all by yourself.

    Assvice, really, I suppose. Ignore what you want to. Except the bit about blaming yourself. For anything.

  • Bee

    I’m a lurker and felt moved to say what a brilliant price of writing this is. You have described the horrible feelings some of us have around food perfectly.

    My mother has passed on all her food issues to her daughters and even today she invited us to go on a race to see who could lose 4lbs the quickest. If anything was going to make me run to the cake shop that is. I feel persecuted by her constant comments about weight and my body, ‘ohh you’ve lost weight’, ‘oh well your bum has stayed nice throughout it all’ (?!!) She’s always losing or gaining weight, being ‘good’ or being ‘bad’ and its taken me years to even begin not to persecute myself by starting and failing weight loss programmes. It’s got to the point that I fear losing weight because I can’t bear her comments about my body.

    I am so sorry you are going through this, you sound like a lovely person, it is no comfort I know but you must know you are a very, very good writer.

  • Betty M

    Oh May. I don’t know what to say. I wish I did. Even more I wish I had an answer, a magic bullet, something that would whisk you past this and on to what you so want. It is as you say so very fucking cruelly unfair.

  • Jessica

    Why is weight such an issue…especially with us women? I struggle daily. I want to see “a number.” and even then it’s not good enough.

    But good for you, being able to step outside of yourself and see things for how they are, instead of trapping yourself inside and continuing the vicious cycle without understanding why.

  • Korechronicles

    Dearest May, so much pain and anguish, such searing, blind rage at the sheer, bloody unfairness of it all. So much work, so much effort and all ultimately unrewarded. But you have courage and strength beyond measure and, given time, I am sure you will make your way back to calmer waters.

    I’m all out of answers and/or possible solutions too. I so understand the issues of the weight and family related clusterfuck but have been spectacularly unsuccesful at negotiating an outcome I can live with long term. I’ve taken 24 hours to reflect on this post because I just didn’t know what to say or how to help as I have been so damned useless at helping myself. And dealing with weight issues alone seems incredibly trivial compared to being told that it is the weight that is to blame for the reproductive difficulties you are having. It’s ridiculously inhumane and I am ablaze with the unfairness and awfulness of it on your behalf.

    And, as others have said, I just wish I could do something, anything, that would help.

  • Claire

    I lost 100 pounds because i was told that’s why I was infertile. I was then told that it was why I was having multiple miscarriages. After losing 100 frigging pounds I had a further 4 miscarriages. I am now struggling to lose more weight now my metabolism has collapsed (and the extra stone IVF put on).

    I think that weight can contribute to miscarriage but that to many doctors weight is the first port of call to blame for everything. I miscarry for a different reason it turns out (an immune issue between me and my hubby) but it has taken 4 years and lots of money to find that out.

    So yeah life is a bit shit sometimes. All we can do is band together against anyone who isn’t us! xxx

  • everydaystrange

    I have thought and thought and thought, but anything I come up with is (in my head) palliative at best.

    Pour you a glass of wine and get the tissues on Friday?

  • katyboo1

    Oh my love
    I have had six miscarriages, and have always been what most people would consider thin, at times skinny. Nobody ever diagnosed why I lost my babies, because at the time, if you didn’t lose them in succession you did not qualify for help until you lost three in a row. I do not know to this day why it happened to me, and in the beginning, when it did, I was tortured with guilt. I went quietly insane for six months before I rang the Miscarriage association out of sheer desperation.

    I spoke to a woman who had also lost babies and I remember saying to her that it was so unfair that other women who lived much more unhealthy lives than me, went on to have perfect babies and I didn’t. I wanted to know what I had done wrong.

    She said something really simple. She said: ‘You have to stop blaming yourself. You are doing the best you can. You are not to blame, and you must trust that you will be alright.’

    It sounds so trite writing it down, but she was the first person who I had spoken to who hadn’t offered me a ream of reasons for what had happened or not happened, or justified or explained. She just spoke with utter faith and certainty that I was not to blame.

    I offer you the same. You are perfect, just the way you are. You are not to blame. It is not your fault. You are absolutely doing the best you can, and even if you cannot trust yourself to believe that everything will be alright, I will trust for you.

    I know it is not scientific. I know it is not ‘the answer’ to all your problems, but I hope it helps.xx

  • katie

    May I offer a hug? I don’t have much else.

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