They say that mothers typically end up like their mothers; I guess it’s an endless cycle if you want to look at it that way. Then you hear the funny nonsense that people throw at each other among whispers in the park as their children play: I hope I never end up anything like my mother, bless my soul.
Nobody wants to remember the horrible things that were said to them as a teenager when they walked in the door past their curfew, the look in their eyes as they called you a slut and sent you to your room, promising you’d live out the rest of your month there one lonely little girl. Nobody wants to remember the way they treated you around your friends, taunting you and telling them that they wished that they would have been their daughter, so that your friends could later say, “I think your mom likes me best!”
My mother was the worst. But, well, I suppose every child says that, now don’t they? Our history carries a heavy… well, weight, if you want to call it that. You see, my mother was obsessive about her own weight as far back as I can remember. Before my father divorced her, (though she would say it was the other way around no matter what others knew to be true) she was obsessive about her weight to the point where it was what she spent most of her time on.
I’d like to say that she put her time toward useful things like mending the broken relationship she had with her only daughter, or working toward making a useful income to support her habits instead of constantly asking my father for help, but that was never the case.
I guess I don’t need to get into the dirty details, but you get the point – there were weight pills, extreme methods, constant research in magazines for the latest trends, and more. This wasn’t the best upbringing and proper environment with a girl struggling with image. In fact, that was like a kick to the face and stepping all over my pride as I attempted to slide through grade school with a mother who thought she was more beautiful than myself, and who wasn’t afraid to voice that I could “afford to trim a few pounds off my waist.”
It makes sense, then, that I ended up the very same way with my own flesh and blood. When Mary Mae came into our lives, she became the very most important thing I had ever acquired – and I wanted her to become beautiful. My husband buzzed around me like a watchful bee, disapproving of every move as I attempted to keep a slim figure during pregnancy, constantly telling me, “You will not allow anything to happen to this baby because of your own selfish desires.” The heated fights were enough to encourage me to stay off track, but just enough that I could obsess over my weight after she was born and get back on the weight loss bandwagon that had started deep within my youth.
I watched Mary Mae blossom as she batted her beautiful eyes, and somewhere within that seemingly short amount of time, a hatred grew. Mary Mae was more beautiful than I had ever been. She would have been the object of my mother’s affection had she lived past the Chemo and gotten to meet her. One day as I ran on the treadmill and washed down a protein drink, I took notice to Mary watching me out of the corner of her eye and I realized that she was everything I ever wanted to be but could never achieve. And so I took to it – I took on the challenge; I became everything through my daughter.
Essentially, it started with the medicine. Mary was sitting in the living room watching the TV while I sat and browsed on Amazon only moments before my husband was due to arrive home. There was a brightly colored ad for a weight loss supplement that came in a liquid form, which said two things to me, “Easier to give” and “Easier to give secretly.”
The fun began when it arrived, and we played a game of when-can-we-sneak-the-medicine-to-Mary? My overweight daughter would ask me for a drink and I would put two drops here, two drops there… increase the supplement to four drops every two hours, here and there, here and there. I felt as if everything was going smoothly and was sure that, within weeks, we would be able to see a noticeable difference.
However, aside from the fact that it didn’t seem any weight was being lost, there was the throwing up and the diarrhea. Nobody said that there would be side effects but, again, nothing can be perfect and things needed to be dealt with accordingly. Mary was constantly gagging and throwing up wherever she went; in the bathtub, in the car, at the grocery store. I’d make a remark about how she needed to lay off the snacks but I would just be met with a mere stare of anger and remorse. It was after two months that I finally decided this weight loss treatment was getting us nowhere and we would have to seek other methods.
The next course of action was seeing a nutritionist, which I did behind her back, I hate to say. Her name was Eva and she had a beautiful form and was extremely knowledgeable on the subject from the very beginning. She asked for a family history, which I released to her, making sure to mention how I could very much identify with people wanting to seek healthier life choices and simultaneously lose weight.
I mentioned weight loss supplements, and she assured me that most of these supplements carried side effects with unsatisfactory results and cost more money to obtain than you would get out of them. She laid her hands out on the desk with perfectly manicured fingers and asked me, “So why are you here and what do you hope to get out of the experience?” to which I replied, “I’m actually here about my daughter.” She raised a questionable eyebrow and asked how old my daughter was and more background information, which I released to her in an orderly fashion and waited for her response. She just shook her head and I knew it was bad news.
I went to purchase the tapeworm off of some Russian website after a load of research and a few agonizing weeks watching my daughter transform back into the Mary I knew – bubbly and full of life, and not using the facilities every ten minutes. Did part of me feel guilty? Sure. But my bank statement felt even worse when I came to the realization that I had to purchase multiple tapeworm eggs and that this was a laborious process. I had them shipped overnight, which added to the cost, but rushed things along much more quickly. This meant faster weight loss results for my daughter. At this point, such drastic measures had been taken that I knew my mother was smiling down at me with pride.
Feeding the tapeworm eggs was easy: I just waited for a time at night when my husband was fast asleep and my daughter was sleeping with her mouth open. I snuck into her room and dropped the eggs into her mouth and watched as she coughed a little in her sleep, but ultimately swallowed them whole.
I returned to bed with my husband, who hadn’t even awoken enough to notice that I was gone. Things were getting rough between us – he arrived home most nights with bags under his eyes and mentioned about how miserable he thought Mary was becoming. I knew the stress was getting to him, but did I feel guilty? Not really. It was a small price to pay to have results get things back on track and have our family working just fine once again. As far as I was concerned, things thus far hadn’t been too disappointing.
The massive hunger started happening a week after ingestion occurred. Mary was at the point where she was eating much more than she had ever eaten before, which led to me questioning if the tapeworm had actually worked or if it had passed right on through and her weight gain was just coming back full force. Things went on this way for some time, until one day when my husband had off work and sent me for groceries. Upon my return, I saw the solemn look on my husband’s face and I dropped some of the groceries on the floor, where they scattered all over the place. “There’s a problem with Mary.”
“What?” I asked, becoming worried and instantly evolving into a pool of sweat.
“There were… worms in her shit,” he replied, his face going pale as he pointed at our daughter.
“We need to see a nutritionist,” was all I had to say.
“What? A nutritionist? No, she’s going to the hospital.” I attempted to stop my husband but he was already pulling her out the door, set in his ways, with me behind. No amount of arguing was going to stop him from taking us there – the weight loss plan was foiled.
At the hospital, numerous thoughts were soaring through my mind as I waited outside the room where my husband and daughter now resided. I thought about my mother and how she would have done everything in her nature to make sure that things never came to this. She would have never had a husband to get in the way of her life and the things she did with her daughter, that’s why Daddy wasn’t around. I was lucky to have a mother like her. She was intelligent. She was strong. She was right. Every little girl should grow into a beautiful, blossoming lady with the right body and the confidence to back it up. But how was my daughter going to have confidence if she didn’t learn how to lose the weight and keep it off?
After what felt like an eternity, the doctor came out of the hospital room and accompanied me down the hall, telling me he had to speak to me about some things. His face was serious, which caused my heart to beat right out of my chest before the discussion even started. “Doctor, is Mary going to be alright?”
“What do you mean?” my voice quivered.
“It appears that your daughter has been forced onto a weight loss diet for months, one of which included the usage of a tapeworm. Your husband, according to your PayPal statement, has reason to believe that there may have been one purchased in your household for that very use.”
I started to back away, but just as I did, I noticed the officers coming through the doors. “You’re going to have to go with the officers now. You can’t just force a diet onto your daughter against her will.”
“She needed to lose the weight!” I screamed as they put their hands around my wrists and began to pull me away from the doctor, away from my family, my prize of a daughter. The one who just needed a little bit of Mommy’s help to get back on track.
“No four-month-old has to lose weight like that,” he said before the doors closed.