Fitness, self care and wellness is my jam. So much so that it’s become my profession. But it hasn’t always been this way. And it certainly isn’t easy.
Being a girl is tough. Society tells us we are NEVER good, thin enough or beautiful enough. Then we become mommies. And our bodies, physically BUILD AND FEED AND GROW a human being, but somehow if you don’t look like you didn’t just have a baby, right after you have a baby, you’ve somehow fallen short. I’m exhausted just writing this. It’s a daily struggle for all of us and at one point; it almost took my life.
Here’s my story, about how I learned to love and accept myself by becoming a mother.
Let me give you a quick history of my story and struggle. At age 9 I looked like I do now, at age 31. Curvy, tall and womanly…who looks like this at 9? I was always getting weird and inappropriate attention from older men, and compared to my girlfriends I was huge. Feelings of insecurity and rage filled my every single day. I had lost control over my body. Puberty had taken over. I don’t exactly know where I learned about starvation and exercise, but I learned quickly how to perfect it. By 14 I was full blown anorexic. I had thick layers of hair over my body, I had stopped menstruating, the doctors warned of osteoporosis and my parents didn’t know what to do.
After a few therapy sessions, I convinced my parents I was healed, and thus started another 10 year journey of hidden bulimia. Secret binges and purges. Over usage of laxatives. Working out in my closet. No one knew my secret. I could eat in front of friends and be normal, but control my weight. It was the perfect solution. Until I couldn’t hide it anymore, and I had literally hit my lowest low. I was killing myself at a rapid rate. My family sent me to a 28 day treatment facility where I, for the first time in my life, found freedom from needing to be perfect and in control. My life was consumed (and some days still is) by the incessant need to be superwoman. Moms feels me?
Although treatment helped, it didn’t cure. By 25 I had hit my bottom(again.) I was thriving in my career, and hiding behind so much loneliness and pain. I was constantly surrounded by friends and doing fun things, but the hole inside of me was inconsolable. I was purging up to 10 times per day, until I was unconscious on my bathroom floor. I would frequent the ER, just to get an IV of fluids for dehydration; I had stopped drinking water, because it made me feel too full.
When I started trying to get pregnant at 29, I was scared. I knew I needed to be healthy and strong to carry a pregnancy. I prayed for a miracle. There was nothing more that I wanted than a child. And it happened. I got pregnant. Doctors said I would have difficulty getting pregnant because of the damage I had done to my body. But I didn’t! I was pregnant on the third month I tried. THIS WAS MY MIRACLE.
Fast forward 10 months (if you read my previous blog on staying fit while preggo, you’d know I had an amazing and symptom less pregnancy!) to the actual day I became a mother. The day I became someone ELSES whole world. Someone else that loved me unconditionally and no matter what. He literally was born to love me. And that was it, I knew that I was going to be ok; I knew that my fight with my body was over. This child…this innocent being deserved a healthy mother. His birth and his existence reminded me that I was indeed lovable, even though I was imperfect.
Today my son is almost 2. He gets a healthy, fit mommy with energy and a zest for life. He gets a mommy that is 100% present at all times and one that sets an example of balanced life.
Your body is an incredible machine that creates and gives life. Treat it accordingly. Get help if you need it. Know that you are exactly where you need to be. Learn to trust your body and it will give you what you need. Xo.
Rachel Lily Campbell is a single mom on a mission to inspire mommies everywhere to live their best lives, in their best selves. She is inspired daily by her sweet, active and curious little boy, Deuce. They reside in Austin, Tx where she also owns FIT4MOM Sunset Valley, a stroller based boot camp for new mommies.