Possible womxn 6/12 Shannon – Traumatic pregnancy loss and elective weight loss surgery

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Shannon-my 6th lady for the Impossible Boudoir Project. So many beautiful and powerful realizations were made for me with this session. Shannon is just like many of us, she has quite the story. We all do and we all experience our pain differently. But at the end of the day, it’s not about who has the bigger burden to bear, who hurts the most or who has walked more miles through hell. Everyone has their own story, their own pain, their own journey. And we as friends, bystanders, family, colleagues, co-workers and strangers, need to realize that every person is fighting their own battles. I use to be the kind of person who would make fun of others when I was younger and maybe even not so long ago. We all do it, it’s natural, but it’s also unnatural. It is cruel, harsh, mean and unnecessary.  We were always taught, or maybe just even predisposed to judge a book by its cover. We do it constantly in our minds, sometimes to our friends and even online. First off rhyme, second off referring to hurtful trolls.

If I have one learned one very important and powerful thing from this session, it’s to check yourself. As Shannon so eloquently put it. Check yourself before you say or think anything negatively about others. It’s time for us all to recondition our brains, thoughts, patterns, and flip the script. We now will love, admire and judge only when we know what’s inside. All of this is just an illusion anyways, right? Life. It’s not real. We will all be gone one day and what will we want to remember when we’re gone? How much we judged people when we saw them in short shorts on a sunny day? No, we won’t, because that doesn’t matter. Your body is your body and I don’t care what it looks like. All I care about is if you love yourself and if I love myself. Life matters because it is short. So let’s live it IN love.

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“I felt empowered to feel good about my body and myself and you helped with making me feel that way.” -Shannon

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From an early age Shannon’s body was always criticized. She filled out very early; had her hips and her period when she was nine and was at a C cup when she was thirteen. 

“I had red hair and freckles too, so I had a lot of things going against me.” -Shannon  

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She loved having her red hair and freckles but hated how big her chest was at such a young age. Catching the attention of the young, juvenile, stupid little boys- she was not a fan. She would get made fun of all the time for being a young, fuller woman. It really makes me wonder how kids in middle and high school are these days. I mean, middle school is the worst, but I just would be blown away if making fun of kids’ physical appearance is still the norm…

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When she wasn’t tiptoeing around school dodging the harsh words from kids, she was tiptoeing at home, around her father. When she was seven, her father started monitoring what she ate in fear of having a fat child. He didn’t want her to get big and throughout the years Shannon struggled with her relationship with her father.

“He called me fat when I was at 130 pounds. He would body shame me for years and years and of course at the time, I didn’t know what it was.” -Shannon  

Her mother, on the other hand, was always a constant love and support to her and her body. In fact, Shannon said that her mother would always get in between her father and her and she would help “battle” him so to speak. Shannon said she felt like she was at a completely normal weight given the fact that she had her period at nine, C cups by thirteen and a breast reduction at the age of fifteen. In two years she went from a C to an F cup. Her Dad always made it known how she looked to him in his eyes- which was fat. #SMH 

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Shannon tells me that her father was adopted and abused physically and emotionally growing up. “He didn’t stop the cycle because he didn’t know how. I used to blame him for a long time, but as I got older, I have had a better understanding. We’ve had it out several times but we’re now at a place of forgiveness.” -Shannon She tells me how much she does love her Dad and how much their relationship has changed today for the better and how she is so thankful for it.

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So back to that, yes. Shannon got a breast reduction at the age of fifteen. Ladies- I want you to pause for a minute and imagine what it would be like to have an F cup at the age of fifteen… in middle school… where teenagers and boys suck. Bless you, Shannon.

“Your shoulders and your back, it hurts. Having large breasts is extremely painful and it’s uncomfortable to have that attention at a young age when you didn’t want it and were not asking for it- it’s difficult….” -Shannon

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Moving forward with her breast reduction wasn’t really a choice for Shannon. She had to do it. They were getting too large; already causing her insane back and shoulder pain at such a young age.  It also prevented her from doing sports and other activities. At the time she didn’t really understand what was happening or why she had to get the surgery done. I asked Shannon what was going through her head at that time. She said, “I felt grateful because I knew I wouldn’t be made fun of anymore for having too large of breasts but I was scared at the same time. I was fifteen and this was a huge surgery.” -Shannon

  She goes on to say that her parents actually had her go into the hospital a few times before the surgery to donate her own blood in case she needed it during her procedure.

 “I’m very thankful I had it done.” -Shannon

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“When I started getting older, I got rebellious in a way and started putting on weight. It was the thing of- you can’t control what I eat and what I do. I’m an adult. I’m going to do what I want to do so screw you. I wasn’t trying to hurt myself but I felt free of everything my Dad would do and say while being under his roof and I started to eat more and more.” -Shannon

 She would hear all the time how she had a pretty face, but still was too big. Navigating her body in her early adulthood was proving to be more difficult than when she was a kid.

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At her highest weight Shannon was 328 at 5’4. In her early adult years Shannon said her weight went up and down. I did Weight Watchers, I took pills, I went to the gym- I tried, but nothing helped the food addiction. I even took up smoking hoping it would help.” -Shannon  

Around this same time Shannon was in her second marriage, to a man, and Shannon went through a very traumatic pregnancy loss, so she ate more. I have no idea what it’s like to have a living, little being inside you, then all of the sudden not, that you’re never going to meet. I stress eat when I get a parking ticket. I would eat an entire Trader Joe’s if I suffered from losing a child.