August 17, 2020

Motherhood at a Glance: Loving Yourself Through Thick and Thin

I'm so happy to introduce you to my friend, Sara! She is still on her journey to becoming a mother and I'm so grateful she was willing to share her insights from her experiences!

Sara Speedy is a newly wed to Adam, her sweetheart! She is a junior-high art teacher which means you can typically find her in paint-covered clothes, inside and out of the classroom! Sara is a rice crispy connoisseur and plant-lady. She loves bringing home a new plant-baby almost every week! Today, she is sharing with us how she has learned to love herself through thick and thin and how you can too! 

Growing up in a house with four other girls had its ups and downs. Quite literally, a lot of emotional ups and downs. We all were a little crazy sometimes, my poor dad. I grew up in a loving home, it was a safe place for my sisters and me. We were cared for and our dreams were nurtured. Being little is such a breeze, and some days I really miss it. You don’t have a care in the world and you are just always happy. Can you imagine? That sounds pretty amazing. And some days I do feel that childlike love for myself, but nowhere near as often as I probably should. I want you to take a second and reflect and remember what it was like when you were little. How did you feel about yourself? How did you see yourself? What were your dreams? 

Looking back in my own life I remember how badly I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was obsessed with animals and was convinced that one day I would be just like the Crocodile Hunter. That was my focus, I wanted to rescue and help all of the animals that I could. As the years passed, hurtful things were said by others or by myself, and my dream shifted. While watching a movie or scrolling through instagram, I have noticed myself daydreaming about how I will make my body work for that swimsuit, or how to make myself a lot smaller than I am. Why is this now my dream? What happened? Well, a lot has happened. But I am here to tell you (and am still learning myself) that life can still be great even if those jeans you wore in high school don’t fit. 

When I was about 22 years old I was battling some demons. And not just your everyday I’m-in-college-and-am-so-stressed-out-and-haven’t-been-on-a-date-since-I-moved-here-demons. It was something that I couldn’t understand and it was ruining my life. I had constant mood swings, I had mental breakdowns almost every other day, and these dark thoughts were always hovering over me. I was eating like crazy and was constantly hungry and still losing weight (sounds great, right?) And for a while it was. Despite the fact that I was miserable, I loved that I was “getting skinny.” Little did I know, my body was actually destroying itself. 

After suffering for two years I was finally diagnosed with Graves Disease. Graves is an autoimmune disease that stems from your thyroid. My thyroid was producing too much hormone which was causing my severe depression and anxiety, making my body starve for nutrients, drop a lot of weight, and did I mention it was making my hair fall out? It was one of the darkest and hardest times of my life. I wanted it to end, but I also didn’t because I could finally go to Target and buy a size small. 

Soon after receiving treatment and adjusting to the prescribed daily medication, I noticed that my body started to change. It felt like I was a teenager again and couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. And worse of all, I couldn't fit in that cute shirt I bought at Target anymore. I was devastated. 

But why? I was feeling sane again, and those awful thoughts were finally subsiding. Why was I so upset? I was finally getting better, but I didn’t see it like that. 

As women, our bodies change, whether it’s a reflection of our choices or a condition out of our control. We think our bodies are never perfect. But what if they actually are? Our bodies do so many  amazing things. Our bodies allow us to get up every morning and go out into the world and make someone smile. Our bodies allow us to be together with family around the holidays. And our bodies allow us to find our own happily ever after. Our bodies do a lot, we just have to take a moment to recognize all that our bodies do for us. Having a positive appearance of yourself doesn’t take pain away. Oh how I wish that it did. 

And even if we have reached being an expert on loving ourselves, tragic things still do happen. 

What I am getting at is that I think we all (including myself) need to still love our bodies even if they don’t look how we think they need to look or if they don’t work like they normally should. 

There is also another dream that I had as a little girl. I didn’t only want to save the animals, but I wanted to be a mother. And even though that might not happen for me because of my disease, it doesn’t mean that I still can’t be. 

After I was diagnosed and on my road to recovery I noticed that a lot of really great things started happening to me. I was doing my student teaching at the time and was offered a position as a Junior High Art teacher. I was so excited! To some that may sound like being forced to do jury duty for the rest of your life, but for me it was the happiest day ever! 

My students mean the world to me, they call me their “Art Mom” which is one my favorite things in the whole world. But see? My body isn’t perfect, but I can still perfectly try to reach my dreams. And we all can do that if we love ourselves like we did when we were little. Let’s all be grateful for what we have and cheer others on even when we are hurting. Let's make it a goal to smile and help those around us. Let's all help each other reach our dreams, because even though we are all little girls, we can all still dream big. 

Thank you so much to Sara for being so open and vulnerable as she shared a little bit of her journey so far. She is such an inspiration to me and I know she is touching so many by sharing what she did today! As a recap, Sara suggests: 

See yourself through your inner-child's eyes and give yourself grace

Love your body and forget about what you think you should look like

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