As a single mom, I'm most worried about leaving my daughter too soon.

Shannon Ashley
Mar 27 · 5 min read

Every time I’ve thought about writing this story, I have imagined somebody immediately commenting that I should be scared to die. Or that it’s my own damn fault for being so fat and lazy.

I can picture several somebodys telling me that I am killing myself.

And perhaps, that I even deserve it.

This is what it’s like to be fat. To know that strangers hate you and are disgusted by your presence without even knowing who you really are.

And even among the people who do know you, you can’t help but notice they don’t always see you either. Sometimes they just see your fat.

Social media has given me a startling education in the way so many people look at fat folks. That’s how I know that revealing my fears about dying may just blow up in my face.

But somebody has to talk about these things.


In August, I’ll be 37. In a couple of weeks, my daughter will be 5. I don’t want to be this single mom who hates her body but I certainly don’t want to die and leave my little girl behind.

I’ve written before about how I hit 400-pounds some months ago and that’s been really hard to process. But I haven't written about this growing fear that's been filling up my mind.

I am afraid to die.

More to the point, I am afraid that my fatness is going to kill me.


I sit too damn much.

As a full-time writer and single mom without a driver's license, I easily sit at home for more than12 hours a day. Sleep for 8. Fuck it--I probably sit for the bulk of those remaining 4 hours too.

My motion is minimal. Cook for myself and my daughter. Give her a bath and help her in the bathroom. Set her up with activities. Give her hugs and snuggles. Walk across a parking lot to check the mail.

We only go to town about 2 to 4 times a month--though that will change once I get a car. But I'm honestly scared to finally learn how to drive... as a super fat woman who feels like she can't do anything right.

In fact, I know I ought to be happy these days since I'm making really good money for the first time in my life. Except that I'm not happy because I'm scared.

I'm scared I'm going to die because I've been so fucking sedentary.


Last year, I added about 65 pounds to my already (seemingly) obese body. I was depressed about my life with lipedema, and I just gave up. Ate whatever the hell I wanted. Eventually, my scale quit working for me because it stops at 400 pounds.

I thought I would simply starve myself to lose that 65 pounds, because that's what I've always done. But what I've always done quit working. More depression.

My lipedema got worse. A lot worse. It got to this point where I can feel the lipedema fat of my calves touch my feet when I stand. And it's horrible. I shudder every time I stand up or take the stairs.

Over the past several months, I have begun to have more pain in my legs which I easily attributed to lipedema since it's also known as painful fat syndrome.

This week, however, my leg pain has intensified. Sometimes burning and stabbing, increasingly tender to the touch... I started to feel concern about DVT. Deep vein thrombosis. Well, shit. Am I going to die from a blood clot?

I started looking up the symptoms of DVT pain compared to lipedema pain. Nothing has been particularly reassuring. Except that DVT is less likely to affect both legs?


This is the part I'm especially nervous to talk about. I'm scared that I need to go to the doctor to find out if I should be on blood thinners in case this is DVT. But "going to the doctor" feels like an impossible task.

I'm a single mom, right? So I'm supposed to take care of myself. Going to the doctor is pretty damn important, yet I don't know if I can bring myself to do it. I know from experience that the chances I will see a compassionate physician is slim. They will look at my weight and medical history and say I've been lucky this far.

And they will try to scare me into "submission" without caring about my actual diet or lifestyle.

Most any doctor will balk at my weight and BMI. They will point out the fact that I have PCOS, and how that puts me at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Since I had preeclampsia and gestational diabetes during pregnancy, they might bring up those health risks as well.

Most doctors tell me to "quit eating white foods" and don't believe me if I'm not. I'll tell them I'm on the keto diet, and they'll make remarks that starving myself might be worth quicker results.

But they most likely will know nothing about lipedema, and how so much of my "fat" isn't really fat at all.

I haven't succumbed to binge eating or disordered eating for about 2 weeks. Going to the doctor won't just be humiliating, it could trigger me back into a binge I can't control.


I don't want to die because I'm fat. I don't want to leave my daughter behind. But I don't even know how to live in this world anymore. People may accuse me of being a terrible mother. They may feel I'm selfish to struggle with my weight in this way. Selfish to even question going to the doctor.

Maybe they're right. I just don't know anymore.

I'm doing my best--adhering to my eating plan, listening to my keto coach, trying to work as hard as I can, but I don't think any of that is enough.

I don't think I'm enough.

And as much as I dread going to the doctor, I dread revealing all of these jumbled thoughts to you.

I don't want to die while my daughter is still young--she needs me too much.

I don't wasn't to leave her to a disengaged dad.

I don't want to live with the stress and pain of my fatness.

I don't want my daughter to be ashamed or embarrassed by me.

I don't want the world to look at me like a monster.

But most of all... I don't want to die and leave my daughter because of my fatness.

And all of this scares the shit out of me.


60 Months to Ironman

Oh, shit. Making my biggest, most secret, most insane goal public. I used to weigh 368 pounds. I'm going to enter an Ironman race when I'm as old as my mother was when she died.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. http://www.patreon.com/shannonashley

60 Months to Ironman

Oh, shit. Making my biggest, most secret, most insane goal public. I used to weigh 368 pounds. I'm going to enter an Ironman race when I'm as old as my mother was when she died.

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