We all read about it before we go under the knife. We all wonder what exactly WLS can do to a marriage or a relationship. Why would anything change simply because my weight has changed. The answer is, first of all, so much more than your weight changes. Second of all, your new found sense of self impacts every single relationship you have, especially the one with your significant other. The following is all about my life BEFORE WLS. The After will be in another blog.
Kevin and I started dating in ’97. After a sad break up and a whole lot of partying a year earlier, I had packed on some pounds. I was probably wearing a size 14/16 when I started to date Kevin. Kevin was a big guy. 6’3 or so and probably about 280lbs. I would say that we were both slightly overweight, but I wouldn’t call us obese (yet).
We dated for 2 years before we got married. In those two years we did a lot of eating out, theme parks, movies, socializing. We were a typical young couple having fun and enjoying life. As our relationship evolved into a place of comfort, some pounds were packed on. It didn’t matter to either of us. When we got married in 2000, we were a cute, slightly chubby couple. We honeymooned in Disney and had no problem sitting on a plane or going on rides. We were not too big to do an amusement park. I say that, because I know so many of us in the obese community look at ads for amusement parks and wish we could fit on a ride, and spend a day or two being a big kid. Its a way of measuring ourselves. We all do it. We eyeball something and think “I’d get stuck”. At the point of our honeymoon, getting stuck was not a worry.
When we had our first child in 2002, we were both still comfortably chubby. Blissfully happy, madly in love and blessed with the sweetest little boy that ever existed (till he was bout 10 months, then the evil mastermind came out).
Not long after our 1st son was born, we were completely shocked and surprised to learn that we were expecting baby #2 and she would be due before baby #1 even turned a year old! HOLY HELL! Yeah, momma sort of freaked out. Daddy on the other hand, was challenged by a friend to lose over 100lbs by a certain date, and he immersed himself in a life style of health and fitness. I on the other hand immersed myself in life as a gestating stay at home mom. Cutting out carbs was never going to happen in MY world. NO WAY!
4 months into my pregnancy with baby #2 we learned that our precious little girl had a number of health issues and birth defects. The hardest time of our lives was about to begin, and together we would learn how to weather the storm. Our baby girl was not expected to live. Not more than a few hours at most. “Incompatible with life” is the term we heard over and over again. Our hearts broke. We learned what true despair felt like. We had one baby who needed his happy mommy and daddy, because that was all he knew, and we grieved for the baby who grew with in, kicking and spinning just like every other baby does.
Kailey was born Feb 2003. Just 4 days short of her big brother’s 1st birthday. Nothing could have prepared us for the roller coaster that lie ahead. Kailey lived more than a day. Kailey had medical experts all around and has made medical journals. Kailey is now 8 years old, and while she is considered medically fragile, no body ever told her that. You can check out Kailey’s story at www.kaileyrose.com. While her story is a pivotal part of “OUR” story, this blog is not about our wheelchair warrior. It is about us.
While Kevin lost a boat load of weight by the time Kailey was born, I started to steadily pack on the pounds. Food became a source of comfort and coping for me.
new baby, new chins
At this point, the story turns a little. As our baby fought for her life, time and again, we fought to learn how to cope, communicate and grow. Kevin threw himself into working multiple jobs, so that I could stay home with the two little ones. Our days consisted of therapy after therapy and doctor appointment after doctor appointment. We learned to accept the hospital as a home away from home, and together we stopped caring so much about our own health and focused on the health of our children.
We had growing pains. When your heart is heavy, and what tomorrow holds in scary, you tend to lash out at the one you love the most. While nobody else in the world could understand what we were going through more than the other, we struggled to connect, afraid that sharing our sorry or fears would hurt the other more. But life fell into a rhythm and we lived day by day, thankful for our beautiful little family.
In 2005 baby #3 was born. By this time, we had relied on food to fill the dark spots within our hearts. While we rejoiced in every single day that our baby girl was alive and well, we feared that tomorrow would be the day that the floor dropped from beneath us. We put on brave faces, but behind closed doors, we were filled with fear.
Our precious #3 brought new light into our lives. He was the happiest baby alive. HUGE, but happy. Life started to even out a bit, but the two of us were offically now obese.
Over the years, we learned to communicate again. Our relationship was strengthened by the trials we endured. Our love was multiplied by the joy of our children. Despite the fear of what tomorrow held, we had bliss. Our lives were forever changed, but we had each other and we coped in similar ways.
We no longer went out, instead we shut in. We dove into parenthood and happily played with our children in the comfort of our home. We rarely went out, for fear of leaving the children. We were tried and true attachment parents. Baby wearing, cosleeping, breast feeding attachment parenting at its finest.
In 2006 we moved from NY to Ga. Another roller coaster of emotion. Leaving behind everything we ever knew, and moving to a place where life was completely different. Kailey’s health took a turn, Children’s Health Care of Atlanta became our second home. She has spent more time there than she did in all of her years in NY. Unhealthy eating increased, as did anxiety and sadly so did our shut in behavior.
At the end of 2007 we welcomed baby #4 into the world. The one and only girl who was born with colic! I tell ya, that child came out screaming and did not stop until she was 4 months old! She is now a very vibrant, very social, extremely happy 3 year old. But ugh, colic… just one more thing I was never prepared to deal with.
My husband has been my best friend, every step of the way. We have been to hell and back living life with a sick child. We have had greater joys than most will ever experience, because we take such joy in everything our children do and are. We are surrounded by family and friends that love us, and don’t fear that our tomorrow may effect them.
This is all important to write about, because up next, I am going to share how Weight Loss Surgery has effected our marriage, our relationship, our harmony. We are trying to find out footing. I never would have expected that dealing with a sick child could be easier on a marriage than the changes that weight loss surgery has brought on.
Stay tuned. It will take a bit of soul searching to get this next blog out, but it will come from the heart and it may hurt to own my end of things.