Something to Fight For: How My Son Fuels My Health

Jenn had every reason to get healthy. But only one was strong enough to make her lose the weight.

Like so many others who have struggled with their weight loss, I didn’t really hit my stride until I had something to fight for. That something is my son, Oliver.

But first, let’s back this story up a bit.

My husband and I were married in 2009 and we wanted to start a family right away. Unfortunately, getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as we’d hoped. Because I was over 350 pounds, I immediately assumed the fertility issues were mine; but after a battery of tests, two separate doctors determined that the issue wasn’t with me, leaving only the possibility of something wrong with my husband. After his battery of tests, we found out what no one ever wants to hear: my husband had testicular cancer.

Thankfully, he was able to have surgery to remove the tumor and has been cancer-free ever since. However, the procedure put a serious damper on our ability to have kids au natural. While IVF was discussed, we ultimately decided that the best option to grow our family was through domestic infant adoption, or DIA.

I couldn’t imagine a birth mother choosing a severely obese woman to raise her child—and this is what lit the fire under me.

I knew I needed to get my act together, so I started counting my calories, working out regularly, and playing DietBet game after DietBet game until I lost over 150 pounds. Every time I wanted to skip a workout or have a bowl of ice cream for dessert, I thought about not being able to run around with a little one. I thought about being that mom sitting on bench at the park instead of climbing through the jungle gym with the kiddo, and that kept me going.

And then, on Easter Day last year, we got “the call” that changed it all. We had been chosen to be the parents of a sweet little baby boy, Oliver, weighing in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces with a full head of blond hair. Finally, the moment we had been waiting over a year for had come. And, I was in the best shape of my entire life—and I knew that had helped our son to be placed with us.

It was a whirlwind 72 hours from receiving the call to driving to go meet our baby boy and taking him home with us. During those first few weeks of being an “insta-mom,” it was clear to me that I would never have been able to keep up with Oliver’s feedings and sleep schedule at my old weight. I know that the higher energy levels I’d had since beginning my healthy lifestyle are what got me through many sleepless nights, half-eaten meals, and other typical first-time mother concerns.

Now that Oliver has just turned a year old and is walking (and running!) all over the place, I am so happy that I lost the weight. Even though I did gain some back, I am still better off than where I started, and I have my son to thank for that. And now, because of him again, I am jump-starting my weight loss journey and am as determined as ever to lose the weight that I gained back, plus a little more.

I still want to be the active mom on the playground and be able to chase him all around the yard. I am getting there, slowly but surely, but I know that I wouldn’t have the drive to keep going if Oliver weren’t in our lives. Even when he was just a thought or possibility, he was inspiring me to be healthier and a better mom—and he continues to do so each day.

Individual results may vary from Success Stories.

Make it WayBetter

We all have someone in our life who motivates us to be healthy. For Jenn, it was Oliver. Who is that person in your life? Keep them in mind (or even carry around a picture!) to help you stay strong when you feel like quitting.