March 19, 2012


This blog has been a great outlet for me.  It’s helped me understand my feelings and ultimately I’ve come to better know myself. Some people have been shocked by the more personal things I’ve shared.  I’d like you to know that I don’t write just whatever pops in my head. I realize it sometimes seems that way.  A lot of thought goes into what I write, especially the more personal posts.   I’ve written this post a thousand times.  I’ve edited and rewritten it over and over again.  I’ve been ready to post it and then felt the need to revise something else.  I think I’m finally ready to start sharing.  I first need to make one thing very clear.  I in no way regret my decision to get married or start our family early in my life.  The thoughts and feelings I’m about to express do not interfere with my inexpressible love for Madeline.  She is worth everything to me.  And I’d give up everything for her. But I don’t feel like I need to give up being me to be her mom.

I gained sixty-five pounds when I was pregnant with Madeline. The average weight gain of women during pregnancy is twenty-five to thirty-five pounds.

For a long time I've been trying to tell myself that I'm ok.  That I'm happy and that I love who I am. But the truth is I hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I hate getting dressed because none of my clothes fit right. I'm still wearing maternity clothes and even they don't fit quite the way they should because now it's my chest that's huge and my gut is back to being 5 months pregnant. Only there's no baby in there.

It's hard to see those women, the 1%, that loose weight with pregnancy.  Or don't even look pregnant, pop out a baby and look better than I did before I was pregnant. It's hard not to compare myself to those women.  Because deep down inside I know they have their challenges too. Challenges that aren't visible, but I know are still there.

Over Christmas break my four-year old sister came up to me and said, "Sarah.  You look really big. You're just big big big big big." And she proceeded use her hands to show me all the parts of my body that were "big". I laughed at the time, probably so I didn’t release a fountain of tears.  And I realize I look a lot better now than I did at Christmas. She still kind of hit the nail on the head of describing how I feel about myself.  And if my four-year-old sister noticed the major changes in my body, my sister who I’d barely seen in the past year, I knew other people did, too.

I’ve hear that older people often times look in the mirror and are shocked to see the reflection of an older man or woman instead of the strong, handsome, beautiful person they think of themselves as {see this post}. I often feel that way too.  In my head I’m still skinny and beautiful and when I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself it somehow always manages to take me off guard.  Because I don’t like what I see.

Call it depression, call it the “baby blues”, call it whatever you want.  It doesn’t change the way I’ve felt the past few months. 

It'd definitely a blessing that motherhood has come so easily for me, because the body image side of becoming a mom has not. Tears are shed almost daily.  Unkind thoughts to myself occur on a regular basis.  It's hard for me to be intimate with my husband when I hate the thought of him seeing me naked.

I need to make it clear that my husband is amazing. I know Jeremy loves me no matter what I look like. And I'm ashamed that I tell myself he hates looking at me when he doesn't.  He loves me. He thinks I'm beautiful.  He knows  I’m beautiful because he looks at me through God’s eyes. But I've convinced myself that I'm not beautiful. And because I think that, I think nobody else can see me as beautiful either. That's discrediting a lot of people. Namely a Savior who bled and died for me because He sees great worth in me.

I think the hardest part of this experience has been accepting the fact that I'm not ok. That I'm not ''fine'' or ''good''. Because I'm not.  It's hard to come to terms with something you don't want to believe.  As women we get so caught up with keeping to trends and making sure we look the way the world wants us to. Even if that isn't who we really are. I recently heard a quote that really made me cringe. "We're in a society where looks count." - Joan Rivers {who by the way has had 700+ plastic surgeries}

Well, I finally realized that I wasn't happy.  I had happy moments, but I spent way too much time laying around being a grump.  I felt like the only times I was happy was when I was playing with Madeline or making her smile.  But I wanted to be happy all the time. Not giddy happy-go-lucky day in and day out.  I just wanted to be able to call myself a happy person. In our church we are taught that everyone can be blessed to feel the Spirit whether they have been baptized or not.  After being baptized they are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The chance to have the Spirit with them ALWAYS as long as they are living worthily. I felt like I had happiness - but it couldn't be with me all the time.

I told myself I’d be happy when we could afford to buy me new clothes.  That I’d be happy when I magically lost fifty pounds.  I said I’d be happy when we could afford to buy healthy food and not just potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.  I said I’d be happy when we had a bigger house.  I said I’d be happy when we had a dishwasher.  I said I’d be happy when I was released from my calling.  I said I’d be happy when the crazy hormones where gone.  I said I’d be happy when…

The other day Jeremy told me, "If your goal is happiness, you're never going to get there. You have to learn to be happy along the way.”

I’ve found that ultimately what I’m looking for is self-worth.  I recently stumbled upon this inspiring blog {this post in particular} that has really helped me make the leap towards making the change(s) I need to make so I can be the happy person I want to be.  The happy, talented, brave, confident, caring, nurturing, beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend I want to be.  And not only become those things – but know with every fiber of my being that I am those things. 

There's a lot more on my mind and a lot more I want to share but this seems like enough for today.  I do want you to know I have a plan and it has begun to take effect.  Every day requires conscious effort.  But it is working.  The seed has been planted and I'm beginning to grow.  


"And now, my daughter, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  [ Helaman 5:12 ]


  1. Ooooh sweet girl... this post is going to hit home with every single woman that reads your blog. I went through an experience of not being nice to myself, hating what I saw in the mirror, and being genuinely unhappy. Not because of my weight (but I did let myself go during this experience and had to kick myself into gear and start working out again) but because of acne. Not just an annoying zit here or there... full blown cystic like acne. I stopped taking birth control and the hormone imbalance resulted in my face exploding into an ugly mess. It took me like 3 months of being miserable before I finally went to the dermatologist. But the point is... I'd never ever hated myself until those 3 months. I was a miserable person to be around. I don't know how my husband put up with it or why he stopped loving me. But he did. And through lots of prayer I started to love myself again. Things really started to help when I put forth the effort to do something about it. Swallowing my pride and going to a doctor to help my skin, working out, styling my hair, any kind of effort to make myself look better. Eventually I started to feel better.
    You are gorgeous, and I bet you are the best wifey and mama ever! Just pray hard and make a list of things you want to accomplish to start feeling better about yourself! It will come, I promise!

  2. Sarah, you are wise beyond your years. It took me a long time to get to this realization. And even now, I still struggle. I appreciate your post. I, too, am blessed with a husband that tells me each day how beautiful I am, even when I don't feel it. I am so grateful he does - it buoys me up! And when I am especially down, I ask for a priesthood blessing, and our Heavenly Father assures me that he loves me and is pleased with me. Our Savior Jesus Christ loves you and me and each one of us. He doesn't want us to beat ourselves up. Remember, that without the bitter, you wouldn't enjoy the sweet so much. Remember when you are down - you don't have to do it alone. Our Savior will take the burden and make it lighter. Forgive yourself when you start beating yourself up. Thank you for being an inspiration to me, just as your mother is. I am so grateful to have her as a visiting teacher! :) I am a better person because I know you!

  3. Oh Sarah. I'm sure that took a lot of courage to post, but I'm sure there are a lot of us who can relate and are thinking to ourselves "thank goodness someone out there found out how to express it!". Pregnancy does crap to our body. I've had to tell myself that multiple times. Nothing is the same! I was a dancer growing up. Size 3 pants, small boobs. I hate to admit it, but I wish I had that again!
    But Alex has told me multiple times. He is OK with my bigger boobs, my stretch marks, my softer tummy. Even though I may not be, it's nice to hear it is OK from someone whose opinion I care deeply about.
    That. AND. Heavenly Father doesn't care. You brought another one of His beautiful daughters into the world and THAT is what He cares about. He designed each of our bodies and knew who would be in the 1%, who would gain 60 pounds, and who would gain 30. And He doesn't give us anything we can't handle. He gives us the resources to handle them. Whether that be medical help, friends, a blog, or just a greater understanding of how He sees us.
    I'm rambling now. But just so you know, you are such a cute momma. You are gorgeous (I love your red hair btw) and I'm guarantee no one is judging you as hard as you are. And I'm only speaking from experience because I feel the same way (looking in the mirror like who the heck is that!) haha =).
    Hang in there. Besides, they do say, it took 9 months for your body to get there, give it at least that long to recover. =)

  4. Thanks for being so COURAGEOUS, Sarah! You say the things that everyone wants to say and you touch peoples hearts. You are so great a being a great friend, mom, wife and touching peoples lives. I have always admired how you always do what's right without hesitation and you know what Heavenly Father's plan is for you. I'm not an expert and I don't have any experience with pregnancy, but lactose interolance has taught me a lot about my body and kept me reading about health, weight loss, exercise and different body types. It can be really frustrating at times to try and understand why your body has a mind of its own. I would love to help you learn about different foods that can help you lose weight,feel great and that aren't costly.
    You're beautiful Sarah! I love you! Good luck with your new plan. Everyone is behind you, supporting you AND following your courageous example.

  5. wow, this melted my heart just a little. You were brave in posting this- but I am so happy you did. It's important to remember you are doing your best and that everyone is different. I am in a profession (ballerina) where weight is a common topic and trial. It is so hard to look and criticize your own body every single day, simple because you dance in a studio covered with mirrors at least six hours a day. The key thing to remember is to keep your chin up- there is always hope in things. And we all know with much work, dedication and happy energy nothing is impossible! We are all cheering you on! P.S. I'm so happy to have found your cute blog! xoxo

  6. I can absolutely relate. For me it wasn't necessarily weight, (Nathan was OBSESSED with eating, almost every hour, until he was about six months old...THAT'll burn off baby fat!! All I did was nurse and refill!) but I definitely hated myself. I had a big incision that would bring back the awful flashbacks and nightmares of the PTSD I hadn't addressed yet. I got stretch marks EVERYWHERE...bad ones!! Sure, they're quite faded now, but they are still there and used to be a lot worse. Plus, because the emergency surgery was done in such a rush, I had abdominal muscles that were sliced through and pushed all over, shredded to nothingness! It was awful and I could feel how damaged everything was. I have nerve damage that will never go away, so even now any touch or bump (or scrub with a loufa) is very shockingly sensitive.

    I could not stand for Mitch to see my naked. My poor, loving husband was so, so patient. We talked to my doctor, my mother-in-law, and a couple other people we could talk to about something so private. We found a great solution (for us) to be: (1) Scheduling intimacy and not letting anything interfere, just like you schedule going to the temple so nothing will interfere. (2) light our room with very dim lights...a nightlight, candles, whatever. If I couldn't see my body, I felt much better. I focused on my spouse, and how much I loved him and everything about him: emotional, physical, spiritual, etc. It was hard to not think about myself at all, but in the end it helped us out.

    I think what I really wanted to say in this novel is that thinness doesn't equal happiness. I was pretty thin because of how much Nathan ate (I gained 40 lbs in my pregnancy), but I was nowhere close to happy.

    Here at BYU-I, our student counseling center is free to students as part of the health center services (but unlike the health center, there is no copay). I would definitely recommend setting an appointment with a counselor--female if that helps--and get some help for yourself. I love counseling!

  7. I love your post! Oh yes i have a friend who had a baby four months ago and is already a size four and has ten more pounds to go! I was NEVER a size four not even in middle school!! And most of us have been where you are, before. I remember before having my second child-before I was even pregnant with my second-a nine year old girl I watch asked if I was pregnant. I wasn't, I was simply putting on weight-and then I got pregnant shortly after this and therefore blew up even more. It wasn't fun. You will get there, I believe in you. You sound like a wonderful mother and wife who can do hard things. 18 months after my baby and I am getting there too. You will get there! Never give up on your health even if it's hard. And please know that you are awesome!!!

  8. I cried the entire way through your post, I've gained almost as much as you did. So many people tell me I barely look pregnant but all I can think is "you didn't see me before" I too hate being naked around my husband, I just feel like a whale. And I came to the hard conclusion that I wasn't "ok" early on in my pregnancy... (October) I struggled with suicidal thoughts and unworthy feelings. I saw a therapist for much of this pregnancy trying to cope with my health issues in combination with feeling like I would be a horrible mother. Your post put to words I could have only hoped to put to the emotions I struggle with. Thank you SO much, I feel so much less alone. Know that you aren't either :) your baby girl is SO beautiful! You are a beautiful, intelligent daughter of God, and an inspiration to me in these hard times. Thank you :)



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