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Fat Angry Woman

Pacer. I was called Pacer throughout Junior High because I had a “wide rear end” like the GMC car of the 70’s.

I‘ve had eggs thrown at me while walking around the block trying to lose weight.

Another year, I had a kid throw oranges at me while doing the same thing.

I’ve been moo’d at hundreds of times.

I’ve been laughed at, stared at, and ignored.

I’ve had to sit at a table and chair because I couldn’t fit in a desk at school (for years).

I’ve had to shop from a catalogue (pre-Internet) because no store had clothes large enough for me.

I went without bra and underwear for 15 years because I couldn’t find a decent-sized fit that didn’t cut the hell out of me.

I lived with yeast under my pannus and breasts for decades because I thought it was “chafing” – trying to cure it with powder, corn starch, Gold Bond, zinc oxide, keeping hankies or bandanas tucked under my pannus, struggling to keep it dry. I blew dry it half a dozen times a day and still it remained seeping moist. Once I learned it was yeast, in my thirties, and used Monistat on it, my life transformed!

My thighs’ friction burned each other to the point of losing skin, especially when wearing panty hose (de rigeur in the 70’s) and I used bandanas to keep my thighs protected from each other. I remember learning about bloomers and thought they were the miracle of the world. I never owned a pair, but quickly thereafter, bike shorts came into my reality and I have never been without them again.

I hobbled so badly a woman took me aside at a dance and told me about Birkenstocks. She said she hobbled from her fat, too, until Birkenstocks and they saved her feet. Poor, I asked her how much they cost and when she told me they were almost $100 I almost choked! She told me they were worth the ability to walk and somehow I manifested the money and have only worn Birkenstocks since. I now own 20+ pairs.

I’ve sat on airplanes and spilled onto two seats, using two seatbelts, almost needing three. I either flew on near-empty flights or flew with my partner so I could seat-share with her.

I lived with the food voices speaking, whispering, and screaming inside my head my entire life except for three distinct times: when I was on Phen-Fen, during the first year after the gastric bypass and now, on Topamax. When the food voices are “on,” they are incessant and never-ending. They don’t take a breath, rest, relax, and stop even for a second to consider my feelings or sanity – they merely run and Run and RUN through my mind until I want to scream – or eat to make it shut up. And even if I eat and the voices recede to the background for a moment, it isn’t but a moment before they are loud and screaming yet again. Is it any wonder I wanted to make them shut up?

I was dying of being 350 pounds. I am not dying of being 220 pounds. I can live easily and delightfully at 220 pounds. Would I like to eliminate the pannus I have from having three kids? Sure! Will I? Maybe, maybe not. Do I wear sleeveless dresses and shirts even though I have swinging arm skin? You betcha.

I remember what it was like being fat(ter). I remember the sadness, the anger, the feeling of being a victim I felt. I remember how I didn’t fit in – literally. I remember how I didn’t fit in chairs, through turnstiles, on rides, in booths. I remember how it felt every single time I would go out of the house, heave myself into my car, heave myself out of the car, walk into and out of a store, feel myself looked at by children and teenagers… and many adults. I remember ripping clothes because they were too tight, too old, I squeezed in the car and they got caught between me and the steering wheel. I remember being watched while shopping for food. I remember hating eating out because people watched me. I remember eating in secret. I remember hiding food because I didn’t want people to see how much food I ate. I remember hating how little control I had over myself. I tried, every day, to do better. To stop the voices. To stop eating. To stop eating so much. I hated being so observed.

I remember using my writing skills to move Fat Acceptance forward by outlining each ride at Disney World (I went by "gardenia" back then) and how fat people would do on them… writing about health care and fat acceptance… writing just using the word “fat” (which made some people [usually not fat] very uncomfortable) itself!

I’ve been to rallies and stood next to Fat Acceptance chicks and spoken on behalf of Fat Moms and Fat Dykes – asking (demanding) that we get decent chairs at the Gay Pride Festival, that we be remembered when tee-shirts are ordered at all events, and that everyone remember fat is just another way of Be-ing.

When I got really angry, though, was when I started seeing my lab work going downhill. For years I’d bragged about how great my lab work was even though I was fat. Until I was 34, everything was great. Then, my Hemoglobin A1C, my glucoses, my cholesterol… everything went to shit. I didn’t pay that much attention until I was hospitalized for a kidney infection that was complicated by extremely high glucoses. With a family history of diabetes (I am Cuban); I couldn’t just sit and watch the glucose/kidney correlation with abandon.

I’d always despised when people said they’d had Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). I disgustedly spat out the words, “Mutilating Surgery” as I watched a fat person choose WLS. I didn’t even want to hear their story. I didn’t care. There wasn’t reason enough to me for someone to cut apart their body that way. It was repulsive to me.

Drugs were no different. I’d been given Black Beauties at 10 years old and a variety of other weight-loss drugs over the years and none of them worked and all of them made me even fatter.

Diets were stupid and I’d long ago given up on any diets. (At least publicly.) Privately, I tried a couple for a week or so, but couldn’t ever do anything for longer than that.

But, when I was getting sick, I had to do something and chose the method of the moment and that was Phen-Fen. It seemed ideal and, at that time, it was.

Phen-Fen was a dream! Within 3 days, my mind shut up and the voices were gone. I couldn’t believe something could actually make the voices stop! I loved it. I was on Phen-Fen for 19 months and lost 111 pounds. I was still 230 pounds, so wasn’t any thin thing, but I loved where I was – in a silent world of normalcy.

When they took Phen-Fen off the market, the voices returned and came back in a furor I’d never heard before. It was as if they were so angry at being silenced for so long, they were going to tell me 19 months’ worth of what they wanted me to hear. I was forced to listen. And I ate. And ate. And ate. I gained 130 pounds in 9 months.

Immediately, my diabetes, cholesterol, triglycerides, sleep apnea, stress incontinence, PCOS, IBS became issues I would contend with for another 10 years. Sure, I’d end up with a heart defect from the medications, but even all these years later, I waver about whether I would take Phen-Fen or not if it were legal again. The drug’s quieting effect was that restful to my mind.

When the illnesses overtook my body and I was so limited in mobility and I was really looking at the last days of a very unhappy and sickly life, I had to make a choice about what I was going to do and I chose the Roux en Y Gastric Bypass. It was almost cruelly ironic. I couldn’t help but laugh. My fat friends, long gone from my now world, would have been disgusted and would have been… long gone… just at the news of my choice.

My choosing to have Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) reminded me of lesbian friends who went back to men or Christian folks who chose abortion or other such dichotic, head-twisting ideas that make one’s circle of friends wonder what got into us. If I hadn’t been in my own body and head, I’d have thought I’d lost my mind.

What was I about to do? What did I expect out of surgery? Did I think I was going to be a svelte size 6 at the end of the gig? What was I going to do with all my loppy skin? Could I love me smaller than the fat chick I had known and loved for 40 years? Would I even know me smaller? What would I fight about/for now? If I didn’t fight for Fat Chick Rights anymore, who would I be? If I fit in the chairs, who would I be mad at? I was so worried about being lost. So lost.

I had surgery April 5, 2001 and was meticulous with my post-op care and therapy. I lost 100 pounds in 10 weeks simply by being compliant. I wasn’t racing to lose weight, but was racing to save my health and within days, I was off most of my medications and within weeks, all of them. I ended up losing 190 pounds in a year, but wigged out when I put on a pair of size 8 jeans. I absolutely loved being able to shop anywhere, adored walking, crossing my legs for the first time in my life, sitting on my partner’s lap, fitting anywhere I tried (and it took years to figure out my own size in relation to things) and doing cartwheels (I have pictures). My kids didn’t know what to make of me!

By year three, I’d regained almost 100 pounds. I was still fairly healthy, but mobility was becoming an issue once again. The sleep apnea was returning as well. The voices had returned with a vengeance. It was the worst of all the returning difficulties.

(I wasn’t like some of my co-WLS friends who were suicidal because of weight gain. I took it in stride, knowing that most WLS post-ops regain 50% of their weight back. It didn’t make me do more than shrug and sigh about my recurring health concerns. I had thought I’d had enough incentive to keep enough weight off to keep those at bay, but, alas, I was as human as the rest of the gang.)

I never had any illusions of being small forever, but I didn’t really think I’d have to diet again. And yet, I found myself considering diets – the most disgusting shit fat people are told they have to live on in order to be treated humanely in this society.

Blessedly, I still couldn’t eat the massive amounts of food I’d eaten pre-op. While many say they are fat without eating thousands of calories a day, I ate 8000-10,000 calories a day and was unable to see that – or admit that – until I’d had the gastric bypass. I was still able to eat plenty to weigh 250, though! Even with a stomach the size of a shot glass. How’s that for a food addiction?

Anyway, this isn’t really meant to be a play by play of my diet history, but know that through the last few years, I tried a few diets, drank that crap Slim Fast (recently), considered Opti-Fast, Nutri-System, and anything else I could think of that I couldn’t do before WLS and have failed just as miserably now as I did then. How could I think it would be different?

What I really was searching for, however, wasn’t the loss of weight; it was the silencing of the voices inside. The screaming inside my head was becoming so loud; I could hardly hear myself think. Some days, I thought I would go crazy from the cacophony. I begged my psychiatrist for help, over and over again. Please, please, don’t you have something for these voices? You have something for the auditory hallucinations of my Bipolar Disorder, where are the medications for this? For a year, she worked with me to get my BPD and my extremely precarious depression into a place of balance before she would even begin talking about food voices. Once I was stable enough on the meds, she whispered a possible solution.

Her name was Topamax.

Topamax has become my/the new Phen-Fen and I am blessed to have it in my life/head/mind.

Since starting Topamax, the voices have left completely. I am able to eat when hungry, stop when full (to my pouch’s full, not my old stomach’s full), and not be hungry again until a real mealtime is supposed to be. Before Topamax, I grazed nearly continuously and ate meals inbetween the grazing. Since starting the medication, I have lost 30 pounds, sleep apnea, the feet pain, the knee aches, the glucose spikes and my periods are regular again. Just those 30 pounds made a difference.

I am not on medication to lose weight. I am on medication so I don’t try and crush my hands through my skull and make my head shut up its crazy never-ending screaming for food, Food, FOOD. I don’t know what it is in my bio-chemical make-up that creates those voices, but if I hadn’t ever had Phen-Fen before the Topamax, I’d never have known the voices could be quieted; I’d never have even known the voices had a name.

But, I know them now and they are what made me the fat, angry woman. The voices.

So, this still fat woman isn’t so angry right now because the voices are quieted… drugged, if you want to say that. I don’t really care what you want to call it; they have shut their damn mouths! I can think, function, meditate, talk and even make love without hearing the continuous imploring to find food. I only hope the medication doesn’t have the same sad ending Phen-Fen had, of course, but I’m living in this moment… staying in the joy today.

Circumstances surrounding my life have made me sad and even mad at times… the way people have treated me, not treated me, the way I have had to settle for less (so to speak) most of my life because of being so fat, being called names, kids thinking I was pregnant years after having had my babies, looking in the mirror and seeing someone I could barely tolerate looking at. I wonder now, not so fat, if I am still mad at those things. I am certainly unhappy that my fat sisters and brothers have to suffer those indignities I used to suffer – but I also see that people are far fatter today than they were when I had surgery 6 years ago.

(I have made the interesting observation that I spent my childhood as the fat freak and got WLS as an adult and soon enough, more kids will be fat than not and those who have WLS will be the thinner freaks!)

As a fat chick, I also had such a great life as a very sexually active dyke… danced and played and support grouped myself silly! I might not have been able to walk all over the world, but I sure could ECV all over The World (Disney World, that is!)! My sedentary lifestyle left me plenty of time to write and develop Internet relationships, many of which are now a decade old. I am in a glorious relationship with my Sarah who loves fat chicks of all sizes and I am mom to 4 great and wonderful now-grown kids who loved their mom fat and who are extremely de-sensitized to fat people look-wise, yet highly sensitive to their needs when out and about. I am very proud of them and their love for people; I know that my fatness had a giant (har) place in their gentleness and amount of kindness for different people.

Fat acceptance certainly still has a place in my life. I still work hard to keep fat information in the forefront in my life. My holistic healthcare office accommodates fat folks as easily as non-fat men and women. We have gowns that fit people up to 600 pounds. We have chairs that hold 550 pounds. I made sure the massage tables held 500 pounds. We have a chiropractic table called a Hi-Lo Chiropractic Table that allows those with mobility issues to stand and be lowered gently instead of having to climb on the table. Our pregnant women use the Hi-Lo, too, of course – they can lay on it, belly down, because the middle drops out… sometimes the only time they ever get to be on their stomachs during their pregnancies.

I have a speculum that is appropriate for the women who might need that. I made sure the exam tables were situated in a way that the legs would be comfortable during an exam (I typically don’t use stirrups, but can if a woman wants to). I own a blood pressure cuff that not only has a large cuff, but also has a thigh cuff for a super-size person’s arm. I also learned how to take blood pressures in areas when the cuff is too small for the upper arm – and teach that to student midwives, nurses and doctors everywhere!

When interviewing practitioners, I make sure they are comfortable with fat clients. I use the word “fat,” so they quit startling when they hear the word.

I am the rare homebirth midwife who takes “obese” clients and doesn’t automatically see them as high risk, sick, Gestationally Diabetic, or an automatic transfer to have a cesarean. I see women as they are and will work with them where they are. We have to address food and food issues – just like I do with every single pregnant woman – it just feels deeper with a fat woman because of how harsh it is in our society. But, being a fat woman myself, I have to believe I can make it somewhat softer, somewhat gentler than it could be with someone who has permi-glazed skinny eyes.

Today, I am a fat, joy-filled, life-filled, spiritually speed-growing woman. I am not perfect. My writing doesn’t adequately say what I want to say all the time. If you want to get to know all of me, come spend time with me… a lifetime with me… and even then, I suspect you won’t know a fraction of who I am. I am still learning who I am. Every day, I see new facets of my Self, places where I think, “Ha! I didn’t know you were there!”

These conversations have allowed me to get thoughts out that have wanted to be written for years. I thank you women for the prodding to move forward. You still might disagree with me and my choices, but your disagreements can’t change them. They are made. I will still have had WLS. I will still have taken Phen-Fen. I will still take Topamax. However, I am listening to you all to be more careful to speak more personally and watch my language when I speak of “some women,” – and I ask that you also have a moment of patience with my prose.

I might still make you a fat angry woman, but I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading. I promise to keep listening.

Fat angry woman? Probably not so much anymore.

Fat, incredible, alive, powerful, amazing woman?

You betcha.

Reader Comments (17)

Barb, you are a legend and an inspiration! I love your honesty and your ability to take on board what others say without letting it destroy you. You have had such an amazing life and you have learned from your many and varied experiences; you hold so much knowledge and wisdom!

Love to you.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thank you. Not only was that an amazing entry, but I love how you tackle subjects that most people will try and shy away from (especially this one, one very dear to my own heart because of a parent with similar experiences). You do not, and you talk about them with such energy and compassion that someone could not help but take notice.

I am so happy to have found your blog recently.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

wow, great post.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thank you so much for writing this and your other "Fat" entry. I have really appreciated your comments, and also the comments of the other people. I have only had a short experience with being 20 pounds overweight, a situation that is no longer an issue. However, my dear mother has had to struggle with her weight all her life. She was about 150 lbs. or so in high school, but believed she was fat and so proceeded to diet her way fat. This has gone on for years. Now she is struggling with knee problems and numerous other health issues that have stemmed from her weight and the battle within her own body for the last 35 years.

I cannot express how grateful I am for your comments because they have helped me to have a greater understanding of my sweet mother. I have searched for ways to help her, without having the understanding that comes from having lived a similar life.

My own experiences, namely the health challenges of my oldest son, have led me to do extensive research into health and nutrition. It is my passion and my business. I have learned a lot, and have tried to pass it on to her. She stills struggles, though, and up until now I really didn't understand why. Thank you so much for bringing up and dealing openly and honestly with a subject that is so uncomfortable for so many people. I have learned a lot, and will take that back into my relationship with my mother.

I am veyr grateful.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Beautiful post, thank you.

I wonder how many obese people have those voices you had...but no one knows or tries to treat it, because we are so scared of fat and demonize fat people so much? We treat fat people now like we used to treat people with birth defects, as though they were marked by god, and might be contagious.

Which is also why we don't fight fat by securing and regulating our food supply better..."kid" foods are stuffed full of high fructose corn syrup and chemicals. We take away recess from kids, we force people to drive instead of building sidewalks and public transport and shops they can walk to, we have jobs that demand that we sit in a cube all day even though we could do them at home just as easily (and maybe work in the yard some too, and eat healthy home cooking). The amount of "will power" it now takes to be thin would be like having a superpower in this environment--it's amazing more of us aren't obese, frankly.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

Ditto -- GREAT post. So much sustenance for the soul in this blog. Keep it up!

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You tell the words that so many of us fat women are afraid to say. I appreciate the wisdom you impart to us, your readers.

BTW, I also have had roux-en-y surgery. I just had it on 4/19/07. Years ago, I felt the same way you did, pre-surgery, about gastric bypass. Me? Get my stomach stapled? No way!

What a long way we've come.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAtYourCervix

Wow, that's a post I could read again. Very honest. So refreshing.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous Boxer

I hear the voices. Almost constant.
"What can I eat"
"What can I bake"
"What can I buy"
"I have xx amount of money, that will buy me xxx"
"I am not hungry, but I want food"
"I can just keep eating that. I know I am probably full, but just keep eating"
"So fat. I hate being fat. Ooh.... cake?"
"I just neeeeeed to eat! I hate eating, but I want food. Where is the food? what, I only ate 20 mins ago?"

They rule my life. I hate it. I am consumed by food and the voices chanting at me about food. I rarely have enough money on me to just buy on a whim, but if I do have cash I am plotting what I can eat, and how I can get the maximum amount of food for the money I have. It eats every part of my being and I can't shut it out. Emotional eating took away my emotions - and just left me with the compulsion. I don't feel much any more. Instead, I just find a cracker, or a chocolate bar, or a big glass of milk. Anything. Everything.

Thankyou for your honesty. Maybe one day I can get the voices silenced too.

May 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKristie

Kristie: Exactly. Exactly. That is EXACTLY what it sounds like inside... every second of every day and night. If I wake to pee in the middle of the night, it begins before I even open my eyes and continues even after I close them again. There wasn't a moment where the voices stopped until I started the Topamax or I was dead asleep.

What is it in our brains that makes that hamster wheel run continuously? And if the psych people know it drives us bonkers, why haven't they discovered how to make it stop without side effects? (Blessedly, I have no side effects from the Topamax beyond some cold hands and feet.)

I used to be baffled by OCD in others until I realized that was what was happening in my own head, just with words/feelings/emotions in relation to food.

How do we explain it to others who don't have those voices inside? Do others reading this think we are nuts? Could they possibly understand the drive for me to take a medication to make the voices shut-up? Do you? (Probably.)

Thank you for hearing me. I also hear you. I hear you well.

May 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

May 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBeth:

I also have those voices. They are quelled on a daily basis, for me, by practicing the 12 steps of overeaters anonymous.

Thank you for sharing your story.

May 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well crap, now I can't live in my denial universe any more. For years I've been telling myself that I don't eat that much and being angry, "Why am I SO fat!" Reading this made me remember 3 days ago...when I ate half a quart of American Idol flavor ice cream...I wanted to stop...kept saying, "Oh but I'll just eat this part so that it's all even on the top" (I am also way OCD about things like things being even or symetrical.) But then the ice cream was off some so I had to keep evening it out...I kept doing this until I had eaten half the quart and the only reason I stopped at all was that I was afraid of my husband's reaction to that much of it being gone! I am not at my heaviest, ever. I bathe on my stomach so I don't have to see myself, I do not look in the mirror, and seeing a photo of myself makes me cry. I've got a long way to go. I can barely move due to some weird problem with pain and clicking in my hips and pelvis. I can't even stand or walk for very long... yet, I was and am still sometimes in denial about it all.

You've also given a name to that big hangy stomach thing I have after my kids. I hate that sweaty lump of stuff, a c section scar lurks underneath it and the itching, some days it's all I can do not to claw it open until it bleeds. I am literally a mad woman when it gets really itchy and moist. My husband laughed at me the day he walked in to find me with a terry bathrobe tie tucked under it and it tied around my neck to lift it up and air it out. Okay, I admit it was pretty funny, but it was either that or trying to find a surgeon to redo the cut and put it back together again...because for some reason I had also convinced myself that doing so would stop the itching and wetness there.

Okay, now I've just made my own blog. Sorry for going on...these are just the things I have going on inside when it looks like I'm super mom and running around taking care of everything else.

May 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCreepyUCMama

I came here last week, wrote something to comment on your post, signed in and lost it all. Shit.

But, I'm back reading again. Thank you for pannus. I googled it and also found panniculus. I have a flap from child birth, it's called a pannus which is a pouch of skin. When it's on the stomach and from child birth, it can also be called a panniculus. I've been trying hard to love it.

See, I've had a belly all my life. When you wrote about school and the children who made fun of you...tears...more tears...okay I'm typing through the tears...
I remembered how their comments, the way they poked fun at me, how defenseless I felt, how ugly I felt...bigger tears...I still have a cold spot in hell reserved for them...I know I'm grown, I'm supposed to be mature. But my little girl, she's eight, sometimes you read her...she's one of my voices, she's very smart and well-behaved...she just didn't understand why they'd do that. She's still upset about it.

It's been part of my work all these years to try and make space for what she says so she can finally be heard and have her feelings. I'm sitting on a mountain of upset.

Sometimes my teenager, which is another voice I've identified sets things on fire. You read her a lot. She's witty, opinionated, powerful, unrepentant, gleeful. She doesn't give a fuck about people's fat phobia, nope, not one little bit.

She, too, wants to have her voice heard. She, too wants to speak. She can type really fast and likes to put up pictures of our body doing wonderful courageous birthing and just being a fat queer girl who is Black and so unlike the rest of her family.

I have other voices too...my writing is layered with their glorious cacaphony. Sometimes I get annoyed when people in real time drown them out. I think: Hush! I'm listening to a bunch of really cool, smart, insightful, powerful, crazy, pissed off, emotional wimmin. They're all in me and they want to speak. They own my fingers.

When I don't listen they get uncomfortable. They feel erased. They get up to mischief. They seek other outlets. They like peanut butter...a LOT. Hee, hee, hee! I call it my comfort food. When I'm eating it, I don't have to type. I can't just sigh. They like carbs. More toast...with peanut butter.

I have insecure fat hating voices that measure me and my size. I don't own a scale. The teenager absolutely refuses to buy one and the little girl who is logical agrees with her that it will cause more pain and harm than good.

But I do stand in front of the mirror and measure with my eyes. The voices, the positive ones who at this point in my work are much louder than the insecure ones explain again that my feeling this way sucks. They shush the simple, insecure little voices who don't realize that fatty girls very gazes are colonized by those weirdo thin people and the clothes they make to upset us and harm us.

I'm also a tall girl. So finding clothes is doubly difficult. I'm only a size 18 and my fatty self mostly resides around my middle, belly, butt, thighs, waist...

My arms are long, I have some flesh around my upper arms, but it's minor. My hands are thin like my father's. My calves and ankes and feet are thin.

People get confused and distracted when they see me. I often dress to play that up, distracting away from my flesh. I want to stop relying on tromp l'oeuil to dress and feel comfortable leaving the house.

I feel less goaded by the voices now. I said some of what's in me, some of what they think and they're at peace...for probably the next few seconds until they start again.

Did I tell you they're in communication with the goddess and with my ancestors. I was going to say: You should see some of the things all the gang pour into my head for me to type when they get ready. They ride me, occupy me, possess me on a regular basis.

This is the first time, I've actually written about the "mechanics" of how and why I write. I'm literally driven. If I didn't the voices would eat me from the inside out. They are ravenous about being heard and I am their vessel.

Thanks for writing about your voices. They seem ravenously craving of attention and a venue, too. From the looks of what you're writing, it seems as if they have your ear and space at your keyboard, too.

May 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDark Daughta

You wrote: "I am the rare homebirth midwife who takes “obese” clients and doesn’t automatically see them as high risk, sick, Gestationally Diabetic, or an automatic transfer to have a cesarean."

See, now why do you have to do that? I'm not sure why you do it, but from this perspective, it looks like you feel the need to "pump yourself up" by putting down others (even subtly) in comparison. You so frequently say how you do things differently than "most midwives" or "other midwives" and those things you mention are pretty much standard of practice among most homebirth midwives--but yet you let your readers think you are so far and above all the others. It's not the truth that you are the "rare midwife" who (doesn't discriminate against obese women), because it actually would be a rare homebirth midwife who would risk a woman out for size.

I have been around midwives for 20 years, a lot of them, and I have not known any to discriminate against obese women the way you describe. Have you been party to everyone else's practices and choices over the years? You couldn't possibly, because as dwindling an art as midwifery is, there are sure a whole lot out there for one person to cover. How many midwives in your own community do you think would treat an obese women's case that way?

Why can't you simply say "I don't discriminate against women in the following ways....etc etc" which is really not only an honest statement (stick with the "I," not comparisons) but doesn't give an inaccurate impression to readers about how other midwives practice? This is something I've seen here many times, and I hope you will really think about it rather than dismiss it because you don't like to hear it. It's a mean-spirited habit that gives midwives in general a bad name, all in the interest of making yourself sound better. I know you are very given to exaggeration, but can you consider toning that down more to truth-size when referring to other people? In terms of how you manage the various practice patterns you have blogged about here and how you do them "better," "less," or "more," most really are not any different than how the average homebirth midwife practices.

May 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


First off, I've used the "fat guidelines" from Allears, THANK YOU!!! Saved me time and embarrassment.

I think however you find your health is valid. I've chosen not to do surgery, though I certainly qualify.

I'm glad the meds are helping (topamax was horrid to me but not all drugs work for everyone).

I was grateful that my midwife saw *me* for me, even though she was bound by law to have my cleared by an OB because of my weight (which I was). Such a huge difference from the OB I had with my daughter (esp since I was not as large as I was 7 yrs later).

You toot your horn. Fat bias is rampant in the medical community and my favorite health care professionals make me feel more comfortable by acknowledging my size (and encouraging healthy changes), but not shaming me for it.

June 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

Hey, this is me, the Skinny Angry Woman. That is, my name is Linda and I am an anorectic - or if I am not yet, I'm on the best way to become one.

I feel so thankful for your blog. I feel so thankful for this entry. I feel challenged (and abled): to reach out of my food-consumed narrowed reality, to face my issues, to take the responsibility for my body AND for the impact I am making on the society, to stop being a self-crucifying wreck, to stop being the victim (and to stop being the tool) of the thin-possesed normative fat-phobic society.

Thank you very, very much.

December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

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