söndag 28 mars 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Part two: Teen years and young adulthood.

This is my second post about fat acceptance.
If you want to you can read about my childhood in part one here

Me at 15

When I changed school at age 15, to go to Gymnasium(1.) and choose to study Art I became part of a small group consisting of mainly other female students of the more bohemic variant. There was absolutley no bullying, and body based comments were kept at a minimum. We did nude studies and our main teacher, an older man, described all kinds of bodies as being both natural and beautiful. We studied the treatment of the female form in art through the decades and learnt about how fashion went from celebrating the fat, to shunning it. That the way we view fat is dictated by the time we live in.

I even posed nude myself in my final year, after I had turned 18.
I remember having lunch with my classmates and when I had to squeeze between two chairs, I made a comment about my weight. The thin (to me) classmate replied in a most natural manner that I wasn't fat, I merely had curves. 
I started taking pride in my rounded buttocks, my wide hips and my "curves". I called myself hourglass-shaped, a most sought after body type in many kinds of art.

Me at 17

I do, off course, have body hating memories too! I was a teen, after all. Two things, the trouble with finding pant that fit my wide hips and round ass, catching a glimpse of stretch marks in a changing rooms mirror. Seeing the flab of my stomach and hating, hating, hating it. Lying in bed, voving to never ever eat again or to doing the hula hoop a 100 times a day. The other time, having troubles with boys and musing to my older brother that maybe I should put on 20 kilos and take my refuge in that. His retort?
Many men like larger women.

There was that, and the fact I hated exercise. I hated the idea of it, because of how I had been bullied, and ridiculed in primary school and being extra vulnerable at physical ed when I was forced by the teacher to do thing I failed horribly at, often with a leering crowd staring at me from the sidelines. I _knew_ I sucked at it. Never that I could run with my asthma and my weak ankles, hit a ball with my bad eyesight or do anything scary. (I did like rugby though, got all my aggressions out, but we rarely had that.)

A year after I finished Gymnasiet I moved away to Stockholm to be with friends I met of the Internet and get a job. In contrast to the small village I grew up in Stockholm had working public transportations. Instead of biking and walking everywhere, there was always a bus stop not more than five minutes away no matter where I was. I also stopped eating any kind of dairy, now that I had absolute control over my own diet, and so no longer battling the effects of lactose intolerance I quickly outgrew my clothes. All of them.
Eating a lot of fast food, living with a very thin friend who made me tasty dinners while I stressed and worked nights every other week and got up super early every other week also changed my body.

I remember buying those new clothes, and once complaining to my mother who was visiting that my "new" jeans didn't fit either. But I don't remember feeling fat. I was loving my life and whether I was fat was never an issue. It was irritating that my clothes size was beyond the "normal" sizes in H&M, but I was to thin to wear the so called "plus" sizes. 
I have scrap of paper with the year and my weight jotted down. It's the same as my current weight, one year post partum.

Me at 21. I used to call this my fat picture.

I do however remember having weak arms. Being slow and feeling sluggish. Having others carry my stuff. Wheezing when running after buses or to catch the subway. Sweating or overheating when forced to climb hills. I'm at this weight now, but pants from this era do not fit, they are too loose. Part of why the pants are loose is because I lived six flight of stairs up, and my large buttocks were made up from a whole lot of muscle. But lower body strength was all I had, body wise. My asthma was bad (in part because I smoked).

I got fed up with Stockholm and moved across the country. 
Having very little money I survived on pasta and canned fish. I walked all over town. It wasn't my plan to loose any weight but because of the life style change I did. I hit an all time low weight as an adult. But I'll leave this for the next part: Adulthood and motherhood.

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnasium_(school)#Nordic_and_Baltic_gymnasiums

lördag 27 mars 2010

How I learnt to stop worrying and love my size. Part one: Childhood

This is a Fat Acceptance(1) post.

I was thin as a child. At times even gaunt.
I sit here with the photo album my mother made for me, looking at pictures where skinny legs carry my tanned frame at summer. How ribs are visible when I stretch, play, pose for the camera to show of some new trick I've mastered.
I did not struggle with childhood obesity.

Me, 7 years old.

First Fat Shaming
I remember one of the first times I was fat shamed. It was in 5th or 6th grade and I was 11 or 12. I had been severely bullied since I started elementary school, mainly by some boys and one of them came up with a rhyme playing on how fat I was and that meant I would never be loved (romantically). I locked myself in the bathroom and looked down on my body. Maybe my stomach was a bit round?
In adulthood I have realized that I later found out I was lactose intolerant, so my stomach might very well have been a bit round, and remained so for most of my school years. But that is irrelevant. No matter how I looked, commenting on my body was fat shaming, bullying and a part of a larger campaign to inflict as much hurt possible on me and break me.
Fat shaming was just a part of it.

Unfortunately I seemed to have internalized this "fat kid" role. I soon got help from the school counselor who helped in many ways, the most important thing giving me a feeling that I mattered. That my body, mind and soul was important. That I was a human being worthy of respect, no matter what bullies told me every fucking day. No matter what they did. I was still severely bullied and I blame the school for it's pathetic attempts to rectify this, their fear of admitting a problem and their victim blaming.
But the counselor was wonderful.
That counselor might have saved my life in more ways than one.

But still, no matter how my body looked in reality, I was now, to my self, the fat kid.
Puberty hit and as happens to a lot of teens I gained, confirming my body image. We gain fat to be prepared for the changes that occur in the body, we gain due to hormonal changes. If we look at teen gymnasts, these often hit puberty way later in part because they lack the body fat needed. (Citation needed, contribute if you have one!)

Me at 10 or 11 and me turning 12. In second picture I called myself  "round"

This post was inspired by I'm giving up on diets and Fuck you, Fat shamers from Look Left of the Pleiades and was made possible at this time in my life by meeting Arwyn from Raising my Boychick on twitter, you can read her post On fat acceptance and fitness

Next part: Teen years and young adulthood.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_acceptance_movement

tisdag 16 mars 2010

Swedish Vaccination Programme

BB had her 12 month vaccinations yesterday at the Children's Health Central. There were two shots, one in each leg.

I'm in favor of the Swedish Vaccination Programme. I just don't like needles piercing my beloved daughters skin. The pediatrics nurse who administered the shots was however very skilled and was quick, compassionate and effective.

This time around she got the DTaP, the IPV and the Hib in one injection and the Pneumococcal vaccination (PCV7) in another.

The DTaP is a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, in which the pertussis component is acellular. The acellular vaccine uses selected antigens of the pertussis pathogen to induce immunity. Because it uses fewer antigens than the whole cell vaccines, it is considered safer, but it is also more expensive.(1) Another drawback is that it only contains three to five antigens.
The Hib is against Haemophilus influenzae type b. The IPV against Polio.

Diphtheria is very rare these days in Sweden, according to the Swedish Institute of Infectious Disease Control there was only on repported case in 2009(2). It is a serious disease once contracted, with fatality rates between 5% and 10%. In children younger than 5 years and adults over 40 years, the fatality rate may be as much as 20%(3)

Tetanus infection generally occurs through wound contamination and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound.(4 - trigger warning for infant picture) There were 3 cases in Sweden in 2009.(5) Particularly the neonatal form remains a devastating public health problem in non-industrialized countries. The infection causes an estimated of 300,000 to 500,000 deaths each year in the world.(4)

Pertussis infection induces immunity, but not lasting protective immunity, and a second attack is possible. It is a disease of the respiratory tract caused by bacteria that live in the mouth, nose, and throat. Many children who contract pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks. The disease is most dangerous in infants. 254.000 is estimated to have died of Pertussis in 2004.(6)
Between 1979-1996 the pertussis vaccination was not a part of the Swedish vaccination programme. There were 281 cases of pertussis in Sweden in 2009. That makes it 3.01 cases per 100.000. Sadly it still causes about one infant death per year in Sweden in non vaccinated children.(7)

Haemophilus influenzae type b can cause meningitis, septicaemia or epiglottitis. Around 5% of cases are fatal, and as with meningococcal disease, serious sequelae, including deafness, convulsions and intellectual impairment may result.(8) Sweden had 34 cases in 2009/0.36 cases per 100.000 inhabitants. the risk of dying was 9%. But at least none of these deaths were in infants.(9)

Polio is cause by a virus and is most often transmitted by dirty water. Sweden has vaccinated against it since 1957 and there hasn't been a case since 1977. Up to 95% of all polio infections are inapparent or asymptomatic but could still infect others. 1% could become paralyzed. The Global Polio Eradication Program has dramatically reduced poliovirus transmission throughout the world. In 2008, only 1,655 confirmed cases of polio were reported globally and polio was endemic in four countries (10).

  • The DTaP used in Sweden is Infanrix and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline(11)
  • The IPV we use in Sweden is the brand name Imovax that is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur MSD(12)
  • The HiB is named Act-HIB and manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur MSD
  • The PCV7, brand name Prevenar is manufactured by Wyeth (13, 14)
The vaccinations are free of charge to us as a family.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DPT_vaccine#Tdap
  2. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/in-english/statistics/diphtheria/
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diphteria
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus
  5. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/in-english/statistics/tetanus/
  6. http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/diseases/pertussis/en/
  7. http://www.smittskyddsinstitutet.se/vanliga-fragor/allmanna-vaccinationsprogrammet/kikhosta/#12
  8. http://www.euibis.org/haemophilus.htm
  9. http://www.euibis.org/documents/2006_hib.pdf
  10. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/polio.pdf

See also:

Diseases included in the Vaccination Programme (cases in Sweden etc)