How One LGBTQIA+ Member Built a Life She Never Thought Possible
I’ve been out since I was 18, and I feel like knowing that has helped me on my wellness journey—because if you are struggling with how you identify yourself, then, of course, you’re going to have struggles everywhere else, right? I still had struggles, but knowing your identity and being able to accept your truth assists with any other obstacle that you face.
When I joined WW for the first time in 2007, I wasn’t mentally ready. I remember going to my first meeting and getting my books and everything, and when I walked out after, I threw everything in the trash. A year later, my great grandmother died. She had health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure, and I was like, “You know what? I don’t want that to be my path. I don’t want that to be my life.”
Once I committed to getting healthy, everything changed. I had a feeling deep down that once I got to my goal weight, I was going to meet someone—that confidence would help me find love. And that’s exactly what happened. Now I’ve now been with my wife for over 10 years.
Reimagining what’s possible
After coming out, I had moments in my 20s when I kind of went back and forth and tried to date men—because my family thought that was what I was supposed to do or it was what society thought I was supposed to do. And the other thing was, I wanted to have kids. Back then, you didn’t see any lesbian couples married with kids, because it just wasn’t shown. It wasn’t until my early 30s, when a friend of mine got married to her wife, that I realized marriage and family was possible for me. After I met my now wife and told my mom about her, my mom’s thing was like, “Are you happy?” I said yes. Then she said, “As long as you’re happy—and as long as I can get some grandchildren.”
At that point, gay marriage wasn't legal in Maryland. It was acknowledged if you married in another state, but it wasn’t legal to get married here. So my wife and I got married in D.C. in 2012. But after we had our first child, our daughter, we couldn’t find any childcare. I wanted to open a day care so I could stay home and be with the kids while still working, but I couldn’t quit my job. Because of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), it wasn’t legal for my wife to put me on her health insurance. As soon as DOMA was repealed in 2013, though, I left my job and opened my business.
Trying to get pregnant was very emotional and very spiritual for me. I have never cried and prayed so much in my life, because when you're in school, they scare you in health class saying, “It takes only one time for you to get pregnant.” So we went through the genetic testing and saw the fertility doctor, and I started tracking my ovulation. And after the first round of insemination, I was like, “OK, they said it takes only one time. I'm beyond that. It should’ve happened and it didn’t.” It took seven tries and eight months before I got pregnant.
After I became a mother, I had so much appreciation for my body—and for my own mom! I was like, “You went through all of this?” My mom had me when she was 16, and there I was at 32 going through it. So I just had the utmost respect for her. Sometimes I struggle a bit when I see the stretch marks, but I just remind myself, “You carried the whole game! You made a whole person.”
“Sometimes I struggle a bit when I see the stretch marks, but I just remind myself, ‘You carried the whole game! You made a whole person.”
I eventually made my way back to WW after going to the doctor and realizing how much weight I had gained. It felt difficult, but I always go back to “do what you know works.” All you have to do is make up your mind to get back into those habits and stick with them and you'll be fine. That’s the security of WW for me—that I know it works.
Doing what works
A few years after having our daughter, I gave birth to a son and was able to lose the baby weight again following the habits I learned from WW.
But when the pandemic hit, I wasn't exercising as much because the gym shut down, and so I rejoined WW this past January. The reality is, yes, I am starting over, but WW has given me so many valuable tools over the years that I always come back to and also I always know what I need to do to feel better.
“I’m trying to teach my children that our family is normal. I’m trying to teach them love and acceptance.”
Embracing community—today and tomorrow
One thing that I love about WW, especially once the app became available, is Connect. It’s just an overwhelming source of positivity. I have never encountered any negative comments from anyone on the platform. So when I found the LGBTQIA+ group, I thought it was so cool because it’s community within community. If you don't feel comfortable talking about certain things on the larger Connect board, you have this space where you know you can talk freely. I’ve always felt accepted. And acceptance is a big thing. I try my best not to let outside anti-LGBTQIA+ noise get to me because I have children that I’m trying to protect. I’m trying to teach my children that our family is normal. I’m trying to teach them love and acceptance. Ultimately, if we teach that to the next generation, then the notion that they’d have to simply tolerate what someone is or how they identify would be null and void. It would just be acceptance, right?