During my adolescences and even into early adulthood I had body image issues. I have always been quite shapely and would be criticized frequently by my peers because I was not “skinny”. I never really believed I was exceedingly over weight but began to internalize the perspective of those that viewed me in a negative manner, all because I had curves. I vividly recall some of my female peers in middle school making statements like “She thinks she’s cute but she’s not with her fat butt”. This started the downward spiral of my body image issues. In reflecting on memories of my adolescences, it set some precedence for how I later felt about myself and my body when I became pregnant.
Although many of my female peers made sly remarks the boys saw my body as fascinating, which also bothered me. It was almost as if they objectified me. They would hit my buttocks or try to rub my thighs and then run. I recall getting into so many spats behind it, but I never told my mother. I would just internalize all the commentary, which caused me to later have low-self-esteem. I would wear pull over jackets or long shirts in attempt to cover my thighs and buttocks, as they were always the area of focus.
It was not until High School that I stopped caring about what others thought of me or my body. I gained a new perspective about myself and I was ultimately becoming a young woman. I believe it had to do with my mother always telling me I was beautiful no matter what people said. Also my female peers were now envious of my body type, where they would make statements about wishing they were “Thicker”. This was at a time were sexual activity was heightened and many of my female peers were becoming pregnant. I would not dare because my mother was crazy. She would always say, “You better not bring no babies up in here”. That resonated with me, but like other young ladies I had slip ups however never got pregnant. I started to think that I could not have child(ren).
Later in September of 2009 I found out that I was pregnant and I was in total disbelief. At that time I was in graduate school and I was not prepared to have a child, in my mind. I was having issues in my relationship. I was informed that a few family members were ill, and a close friend of mine had passed away on top of being laid off after I had just left my job of 3 years. It was just really a tough year for me. I did not think that I would make it out of what I wanted to believe was a nightmare. Due to the stated circumstances above I suffered a miscarriage. The miscarriage trumped everything else I had been going through because now I wanted the baby that I thought I was not prepared to have. I blamed myself which caused me to go into an emotional decline. Although I had support from family and friends I began isolating myself and I went into an extreme depression for about 6 months.
Following the miscarriage my partner and I had broken up and then got back together. In July of 2010, I became a bit health conscious and decided to work out. I rapidly began losing weight but 2 months later I became really ill and could not understand why after every work out or after indulging in a glass of wine I would become fatigue and nearly black out. I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor following the last incident, where I had a panic attack and passed out on a friend’s kitchen floor. The next day I went to my doctor’s appointment and found out that I was 2 months pregnant and my growing fetus did not like the intense labor I was conducting while working out or the wine.
During my pregnancy I did not feel beautiful due to the weight gain and the enraged hormones that caused my face to break out. It took me several months to come to grips with the weight gain and the physical changes that affected my body drastically. I could not fit most of my clothes and hated looking in the mirror. After the 1st trimester I became a bit more comfortable with my pregnancy. I was eating healthy, drinking more water, and taking care of myself in ways that I had never done. The only major issue was that I could not get rid of the heart burn. It was the scariest yet most beautiful experience of my life.
Even-though I had become comfortable in my pregnancy I still struggled with depression, as her father and I had a major break up and I felt alone. I did not want to be another statistic, a baby mama, or fall into the welfare system. I could not fathom how I ended up here. A young woman like me with multiple degrees, vast accolades, a wealth of experience in various fields ended up here. It also made me think about the absence of my father and how hard I grappled with it growing up.
The extraordinary beauty in giving birth to my beautiful baby girl on March 2, 2011 did not allow me to focus on anything but the pure beauty of motherhood. My whole life and everything I believed had shifted. I did not care that I had lost weight then gained it back, my hair started falling out, and I even lost a tooth to low calcium levels following her birth. I had to be the best mother I could like my mother was to me. Depression and postpartum were very real for me and I only got through it from my family and friends supporting me. More importantly, after carrying my child and birthing her I felt like I was a super hero and no one could change or take that experience away from me.
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