by Kelly Moen
It was a family affair. We were asked to talk about what life is like parenting while living with obesity. My wife and I flew out to Copenhagen to speak at Novo Nordisk’s DEEPtalk program about parenting when living with obesity.
I didn’t think the experience would be as life-changing as it was. I mean, I speak all over Canada regarding weight bias, implicit discrimination and how obesity is a complex chronic disease. I thought this experience would be just as straight forward. I was wrong; this time, my wife would be standing up front with me sharing her side of the story, her experience, and how obesity has affected her life.
You see, I have no problem putting myself out there. I can’t be shamed, trolled or discriminated against more than I already have been in my life for being larger bodied. However, now, it was my partner, the girl I care for and love deeply that was going to share the shame spotlight of having obesity.
The day came to meet at Novo Nordisk, and we were greeted with smiles and treated very well. We did a practice run of our talk, and we met everyone who was sharing their experience from living with diabetes to having a child who has diabetes to what to do when hypoglycemia happens. Every story was truly a family affair.
Our talk included our stories of what it is to be a parent who suffers from obesity and how it affected our family. You see, when people look at our family they look at us through the lens of implicit bias (1). However, what we try to convey to our children and others is how active we are, how much work goes into supporting our children in sports activities, health and how we fight daily against the war on obesity, and, how it attacks our family every day.
The hours spent planning seems countless. Organizing swim lessons, baseball activities and other organized community sports, the constant menu planning and grocery shopping, and at times trying to do our best to shop for health on a very limited budget at times were very difficult. Our effort displays health, our bodies display a broken body who some deem worthy of persecution.
Although we fight every day to be seen as equals, the body privileged will always see us as the second class. It’s unfortunate, because we fight what contributes to the reoccurring monster of obesity. However, this fight is not for us. You can no longer shame us more than we have ever been shamed but, we will always stand and fight daily so our children will not suffer our plight nor your bias. #EveryBodyMatters
Kelly Moen is vice chair of Obesity Canada’s Public Engagement Committee and a registered clinical counselor in BC who works in the domain of bariatrics, eating disorders, disordered eating, self-regulation, motivation and identity.
1. Fruh, S. M., Nadglowski, J., Hall, H. R., Davis, S. L., Crook, E. D., & Zlomke, K. (2016). Obesity stigma and bias. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 12(7), 425-432.