Monday, June 1

The Sling Diaries Volume VI Better Together ::health::

My mama used to always say "Madina, you should marry a man who is at least 5 years older than you, and who is also a psychiatrist because our entire family needs help." haha (true story) When I met my darling love, not only did I know that he was the one immediately, I also found out that he was 5 years older than me, and a psychiatrist. 

I'm not really sure what I want you to get out of this post just yet but I'm writing with an open and honest heart because if anything, things that are tabu and swept under the rug are the things that need to be talked about the most.  Mental health falls into that category.  I was in the 7th grade when I went on my first diet and lost 25 pounds.  A boy was walking behind me and told me that my neck looked skinnier.  Of all things, he noticed my neck.

From the age of 14 until 18, I suffered from a severe eating disorder that literally made my life a living hell.  I would stay up late every night and sometimes emotionally eat 4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while watching trash tv then to purge them all.  I would spend days and days exercising and starving myself to punish myself for what I ate weeks before.  I constantly counted calories and then only to go on an out of control binge because I felt like if I just ruined my diet by eating those fries, then I might as well eat the entire bag of oreos too.  One time, I even stopped on the side of the road to purge.  I was only 16 years old when I started taking anti-depressants, but medications never really helped me.  At some point my parents intervened because they found hundreds of empty pill pouches hidden in one of my drawers and I just tried to convince them that I was fine, really.

What is perceived as healthy on the outside for so many people, can be so drastically different than as to what is actually so broken on the inside.  I was young, dangerously depressed, and so broken because my self worth was completely based on what others thought of me and how society defined beauty.  Then one day, I simply had enough.  I told myself that if I couldn't find a person that appreciated me and loved me for exactly who I am, then I was going to be that person for myself.  I spent the most healing year alone and became my own best friend.  At the end of this life-changing year, I met the love of my life who taught me the meaning of unconditional love.  When I became a mother, I started to see myself so clearly in these beautiful little beings that grew inside of me and are so fearfully and wonderfully made.  My husband, our babies, we are all so much alike.   And because I love them with every single thing that I am, it became so much easier to love the parts of myself that I used to think I hated.  

I keep reading the phrase I am and realize that all of this has really nothing to do with me, and everything to do with love because Love saved me.  I feel as though motherhood itself has been God's way of working in my heart to see myself, and to love myself as He sees and loves me.  A few months ago, the most vulnerable post-partum photo of me wearing our one week old newborn made its way all over the internet.  It wasn't a photo of me laying out on the beach wearing a beautiful bikini on my tight body with professional makeup on my face.  No, instead, here I was on Today, Buzzfeed, and Yahoo Parents with marks, a belly button that will never be the same, and a 5 months-ish pregnant looking post partum belly, holding one of the most precious gifts that I have ever been given.  When my husband saw it he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, honey, I am so proud of you, I know how hard it was for you to get here.  Well, it is with tears that I tell you that it was hard, and for many years I questioned if breathing was worth it.  But I am so thankful for the opportunity to testify to you to say that it is absolutely worth it.  Every single breath that I get to take to live this life as the wife to the man I only dreamed of being married to, who made me a mother of two little girls is one that I will never take for granted.  When they grow up, I hope they will see that photo and when they do, I will tell them thank you for giving my soul the divine purpose of being your mother long before my body proved it to be true. 

*the sling in the photographs is the discontinued color Jewel from Sakura Bloom*

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