I am super humbled to be part of an incredible team of inspiring individuals who moderate the largest Weight Loss Surgery Facebook page in Australia. I am constantly inspired, motivated and totally moved by the stories of the fabulous people that I have met on the page. One thing that becomes overwhelmingly obvious as you read thousands of posts and tens of thousands of comments, is that when we loose weight it isn’t just a physical thing.

As our page is in a phase of rapid growth and change, I was asked by our fearless leader to write a new regular piece around the topic of self love. The following is the first instalment in that series. Much Love Tash xx

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to love and care for others. I think it is hard wired into my DNA. I became a mother for the first time when I was just 19 years old and she was and still is the best and most life changing thing that has ever happened to me and it would happen 4 more times. My God – I never knew that kind of love existed until I saw her little face for the very first time. I loved my husband – adored him actually but her, oh my heart – she was a dream. He was my High School Sweetheart, of sorts. Meaning I wanted him to notice me and he was busy being adored by many LOL! Eventually, at length, he noticed me! Lets face it, how could he not haha! We married young and when I fell pregnant I was delighted. I had always wanted to be a mother and I immersed myself in my role, I loved everything about nurturing her, caring for her, being there for her and did everything within my power to give her all of the things that she wanted.

Nearly 6 years later the first of our 4 sons was born – and I’ll be damned – all those nights that I cried myself to sleep because I was filled with legitimate fear that I wouldn’t be able to love anyone as much as I loved our little girl were proven to be a baseless fear. I adored everything about him and loved being his Mumma too. I gave my everything, every single thing, into being there for them and doing all that I felt that they needed and deserved. I know that I did not do things as well as I would have wished, and I have not been a perfect Mother but I tried so very hard.

Fast forward through the years and our girl married and the day that she left home my heart broke in ways that no one ever told me it would. I was so incredibly happy for her and remain that way to this day. However that day changed me, I looked down at myself and saw myself for exactly what I was. A middle aged woman who had let herself go completely, giving everything to everyone else 100% of the time. There was no spark left, nothing that resembled the me that I hoped was still in there somewhere. In that moment I imagined what my life would look like if I continued to travel the same path for another 10 or 15 years and I realised that I was in trouble. I didn’t want to continue to get larger and larger, I didn’t want to lose even more myself under increasing layers of fat and I wanted out of the prison I had build for me to live in.

This is how terribly bad things had become for me – I didn’t own a single pair of underwear that didn’t have frayed elastic or holes, I didn’t own a single bra that wasn’t tattered and worn. I had given up on myself – forgotten my value and it still breaks my heart to think of it. My clothes reflected my feelings about myself, they were just whatever was cheapest so that my kids could have every brand name. I looked into my make up bag and realised that all of it was years old. I had nothing new, nothing that I even liked, nothing that reflected anything but self loathing and when I looked in the mirror I was gutted by what I saw. Skin that was stuffed to bursting with every single dream that I had willingly pushed aside, skin that stuffed full of every hurtful judgement that had been passed at me over the years, skin that was marred with my own unwillingness to acknowledge my deep trauma that I had survived, skin that wore the marks of carrying and giving birth to amazing humans, skin that was marked by surgical interventions for all kinds of health problems……… and I cried. I cried and cried because the last time that I looked at myself, really truly looked, I was in my teens. I had been full of so many dreams, plans and ambitions and even though a good many of them had come to pass, I was looking at a morbidly obese, middle aged woman. And I knew that I had totally forgotten the things that I loved about myself. Not how I loved my children or my husband or their wonderful traits – myself, the things that I loved about me.

That was the day that it all changed. That was the day that I decided that I couldn’t keep living like I had and that I had to give myself a chance. I had to remember what it was like to love me and if I couldn’t remember that, then I had to find out how to love myself and value myself again. That was the day that I saw a tiny spark of the hope filled teenager looking back at me in the mirror. From that day forward I had to make a plan because I REFUSED to accept that my future was going to be filled with the results of my morbid obesity. I refused to allow myself to become a memory to any of my kids, especially my 8 year old son. On that day I decided that I was worth it, I deserved to be able to do the things that I had dreamed of and that my future was not over – it hadn’t even begun yet. I had no idea how to love myself, I didn’t feel like there was a path back from where I was at, but I knew that I had to try. That was the day that I spoke to my husband and we upped our health insurance. That was the day that I decided that I was going to have RNY Gastric Bypass surgery – I was 40 years old.

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