Emily Gold (38), Charlie (9), Lizzie (7), Hannah (5), and Grace (3)
Michigan | Minneapolis
Emily shares -
“Lizzie was born with a rare syndrome and is profoundly disabled and has a limited life expectancy. She is an absolutely amazing and sacred human and we are doing our best to make every day count for all of us. It’s incredibly difficult to know that any day with her could be my last.
I have dealt with disordered eating and body dysmorphia since college. I was dangerously thin and exercising excessively. I got counseling and stopped the outward signs of disordered eating, but the thoughts are still there. There is still the tape that plays in my head, “If you were thinner, things would be better. You’re worthless unless you are thin.”
So, having four children in six years was rough on my body. I cannot continue to think like this about myself and expect that my girls will think differently about themselves. I can’t look at Lizzie, with a body that is broken, and be upset with my own body. My body is a god damn miracle.
Postpartum was a very difficult time for me. My hormones were terribly out of whack and I’d have panic attacks. My son was a healthy baby, but he cried constantly and I was exhausted and didn’t even recognize my own body. After Lizzie was born and they told us that she had only two months to live, I lost it. I was devastated to see all the dreams that I had had for her disintegrate. To hear the doctors tell me that if I found her dead in her crib, not to call the police, but to notify her hospice nurse. I don’t remember much of that time, but I do know I had a concrete plan to kill myself. I knew that there had been a mistake and I couldn’t possibly handle all of this. My family saved me. My husband and son. Falling in love with lizzie saved me.
Then we had two more babies and I was terrified. I didn’t want to see her younger sisters hit milestones while Lizzie continued to need full support for everything. But I watched those girls develop and I was struck with the miracle of typical development. Everything Hannah did was thrilling. I remember holding her up and seeing her put weight on her legs and thinking “Holy crap!! This kid is amazing!” All of the kids are absolutely amazing. I just didn’t know it would be so hard.
Everyone has inherent worth. You don’t have to achieve anything or complete any tasks to deserve love. You are worthy of love because you are breathing. That’s it.
I want my girls to see that my body is amazing. I want my son to see that beauty isn’t one single thing. I want a picture with all of my children before I don’t have that opportunity any longer. I want to show myself that my body is strong and miraculous. I want to remind myself that this is the body that made the four most amazing humans I’ve ever met. This is the body that cares for a child that I will lose, day in and day out. This is the body that kept living when my brain was so clouded with grief that I thought I couldn’t go on. This is my body. This is me.”