I have been overweight since after I had my first son 25 years ago. When I found out I was pregnant with him I weighed a whopping 123 pounds, and when I gave birth to him some 8 months later I weighed 175 pounds. I will never forget the disgust I felt when I got on the scales at that last doctor’s appointment before he was born. I couldn’t believe that I had gained more than 50 pounds in such a short amount of time, but I didn’t let it bother me too much because, hello, I had just grown a baby inside of me!
The disgust I felt with myself and my growing body did lead to a problem: I hated having my picture taken because I was so unhappy with my appearance. I have only a picture or two of myself during my first pregnancy. Today, that makes me so very sad, and I wish I could go back in time and have pictures taken of myself so I could see the transformation of that precious baby growing inside of me.
After I gave birth I started losing weight, but I never got down to a weight where I felt comfortable being photographed. During the ensuing years, I was in a few pictures taken, but only on special occasions. We had a handful of family pictures professionally taken, and there were a few snapshots of just me and my son, but few that I really liked.
I had a couple of miscarriages between the births of my sons, which only added to the way I felt about myself. The doctor told me that part of the issue I had staying pregnant was due to my weight, so when I became pregnant with my now 11 year old son I was determined to do everything I could to take care of myself, both during and after the pregnancy. At the time I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 184 pounds, and when I gave birth to him I weighed 204 pounds. I wasn’t thrilled to be over 200 pounds, but I was happy that during those nine months I had only gained 20 pounds. I’d managed to focus on taking care of myself and only gain the amount of weight the doctor recommended, but once again, there were few pictures of me during the pregnancy.
I wasn’t happy with the way I looked in pictures, so I avoided the camera at all costs.
The reality is it didn’t really have anything to do with the pictures, it had to do with my self-image. I was so upset with myself that I had gained so much weight and hadn’t lost it the way I had promised myself I would. I was defeated and depressed, and ANGRY with myself!!
A few years ago, I started feeling sad for all the memories I had lost with my sons because I wasn’t in many pictures with them as they grew. I realized that my weight was doing more than stealing the physical memories (because I wasn’t able to DO things I wanted with them), but my weight was stealing the photographic memories of life events. I decided that those fading memories would only be present in our minds if I didn’t start appearing in the pictures. So, I started taking pictures with my kids. I started making an effort to take random, fun pictures.
Since I have started taking more pictures with them, and of just myself, I have been able to see a progression in my weight loss, which has helped me feel better about myself. It has also been nice to just look back at all the random things my sons and I have done together! My older son is in the Marines and every time he comes home for a leave I make sure we take a picture together before he leaves. Every few months or so I try to take a selfie with my younger son, too.
This weekend I will be embarking on my fifth Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk and I know I will have a lot of amazing pictures to document the journey!
I may not like the way I look in each picture, but it is important for my kids that I document the events of my life so it will never be forgotten. It’s also a good way to see how much I have changed and progressed as the years go by.
Pictures are just one window into life, but they are a very important piece of the puzzle for future generations. Do you take pictures of yourself, or have others take pictures of you? Or do you hide from the camera because you don’t like the way you look?
It’s important to document your life with pictures, to see where you have been and where you are going. So go! Grab your phone and take a picture now! Your family will thank you for it, and so will you as you continue to change!!