Tara, first of all, congratulations on your new baby. I am mostly here to leave some words of support regarding your feelings, though. I understand that a lot of people have been upset by your very vulnerable confession of your feelings about your body and your attendant health anxieties, as though you should never have dared to voice them. But I didn't see you fat-shaming anyone — or any weight — in this article. I saw you speaking honestly and vulnerably about family trauma (i.e., the loss of a beloved relative), the postpartum experience, and the many anxieties that can come along with both.
I'm also 5'4"/5'5", and I was about 125lbs. until some mysterious trigger for weight gain hit me in my early-20s. For the next few years, my weight kept climbing, with no clear diagnostic reason and no lifestyle habits that would've explained such a thing. Eventually, my weight reached about 155lbs. Morbidly obese? No. But, clinically speaking, overweight? Yes. I'll spare you the details of my story, but suffice it to say, I can relate to some of what you describe about the emotional impact of the transition from not-overweight to overweight.
People who have been overweight for most of their adult lives might not be able to relate to what you're feeling about the changes you've undergone. But I want to fully validate the fact that, yes, it's emotionally painful to look in the mirror and not recognize yourself anymore. Yes, it's emotionally painful to not fit in your clothes anymore. Yes, it's emotionally painful to feel physically uncomfortable at not being able to move or position your body as easily as before. It's also emotionally painful to feel utterly out of control of the endocrine balance that has re-shaped your very self — and therefore to not know whether you will ever actually feel or look like "you" again. AND it's emotionally painful to worry about the possible health risks as the numbers on the scale keep climbing.
I want to validate you on all of that. Because that's what I see in your essay: I see emotional pain. I did not remotely see you attacking, shaming, or in any way criticizing people or trying to compete with them for sympathy.
All of this said, I genuinely believe that you are dealing with some very temporary postpartum changes, both in your body and in your emotional set-points. I say this not to minimize but to try to reassure. With time, self-care, family support, compassionate medical attention, and maybe also some counseling, I believe you can make sure you're on the road to good health and that you will feel fantastic again.
But wow... to read such a brave and vulnerable piece and then see people trying to attack you for it broke my heart.
So I wanted to tell you that your emotions are nothing to be ashamed of, your insecurities are worthy of compassion, and your sense of discomfort with the physical changes you've recently undergone are something that you are 100% entitled to feel. And I hope that you feel better very soon. 💙