How it Feels to Have a Morbidly Obese Parent: A Letter From My Daughter

Jodi Davis and Kirstin

Lately, I keep wracking my brain to figure out how I can help morbidly obese people realize their condition doesn’t only affect them, but their entire family. I’ve become very frustrated as I try to come up with a solution to reach them, but for some reason the answer just isn’t clear to me.

I was morbidly obese for several years, so I know how it feels. I did everything possible to avoid people who wanted to talk to me about my obesity. I didn’t want to hear about it or read about it; in fact, I wanted everyone to just leave me alone. I wanted to stay hidden away – that’s where the morbidly obese belong, according to society, right? That’s how I felt, and I’m very aware that countless others feel that exact same way.

So that is where the problem lies. How can I help people when they refuse to connect with anyone about their obesity and don’t want to be seen in public? How can I help them learn that they can make a change and lose the weight if I can’t even contact them?

My oldest daughter, Kirstin thought it might help reach the unreachable if she shared how it felt for her as a young child with a morbidly-obese parent.

A Letter from Kirstin:

I was in fifth grade when I finally realized my mom wasn’t like all the other mommies. Even though in so many ways she was the best mother in the world due to her strong involvement in our lives through school, sports, talent shows, and the like, it was in fifth grade when I noticed my mother wasn’t normal; she was obese.

Once I noticed my mother was this overweight, it wasn’t long before I understood the disadvantages that came with that fact. I soon appreciated every day with her more and more because I had no idea how many days she might have left. It wasn’t like it was just her problem anymore, it was mine too. I would worry that her obesity would catch up with her. I couldn’t just put it in the back of my mind either because as a child, your mother is everything.

As a child of an obese mother, I just want you to know that if you’re overweight and you have children … they worry about it, and they worry about you.

They may not say they worry about it or even act like they notice, but I can promise you that they do. When you decided to have children, you made a commitment to do everything in your power to be there for them.

Also, know that if you’re overweight, you can’t compensate for it by helping at their school or buying them things. Nothing can compensate for the fact that your choices can leave them without a mother. What you may not understand is the reality that you can die from being overweight.

Is any food really worth not seeing your child walk on their graduation day or seeing them get married or holding their first child? If you had cancer, wouldn’t you fight for your life? You would seek help and do whatever’s necessary to stay alive. Obesity is no different. It’s hurting you and you really do have the choice … obesity is 100% curable. My mom did it and you can too.

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  1. My mother is obese.

    This letter, while hitting the nail on the head, does not even go into detail about how absolutely horrible it is to have an obese parent.

    I grew up with a single, obese mother. I am now 30 years old and married, and my mother’s obesity, and more importantly the health effects that come along with decades of being overweight, is currently the most stressful, worrying, and depressing part of my life and has even effected my relationship with my wife.

    And that isn’t to mention a childhood of missing out on things because my mother wasn’t physically capable of doing them.

    Even when I was planning my wedding, my mother’s obesity and ability to get around was my primary concern. What if the chair broke at dinner? As silly as it sounds, this would have been my biggest nightmare. Forget rain or anything else, this was my concern.

    Now, we are getting ready to have kids, and I have to deal with the fact that my mother cannot fly out and see us, cannot drive out to see us, and even if she could, she wouldn’t be able to get in our house because of the stairs. And even if she could get in our house, we wouldn’t let her watch her grandkids because she cannot even physically take car e of them, let alone lay down on the floor and play with them.

    My mother was a wonderful mother and a wonderful person. My father was never around, and my mother did the best she could for my brother and me. But she ignored her health, gave into her food addiction, and ballooned, and now, despite all she did for us in our younger years, she is absolutely destroying us.

    Because of her obesity, she developed lymphedema, and now even if she were to be serious about losing weight, her lymph nodes are destroyed, her legs are swollen up with water and horribly deformed, and there is no possibility of her ever being normal. Ever.

    And now, here I am… the worst Christmas of my life, trying to convince a once strong and independent woman that her extreme issues are hurting everyone around her. I have to deal with a depressed and suicidal obese mother who isn’t capable of doing anything for herself or anyone else besides eating. It has changed her personality into a mean, difficult, and always complaining person. She is toxic to be around, and thus most of the family avoids visiting.

    My biggest wish since I was a child was for my mother to be thin. I would think “someday, she will lose weight.” I knew she didn’t like when people talked to her about it, so I decided at a very young age to just be supportive and not talk about it, because I trusted that she would be healthy some day.

    Not talking to my mother is my absolute biggest regret of my life, and by the time I finally told her how much it had affected me, it was too late. The game is over now, we are just waiting for the clock to run out and hope she doesn’t call the game early. She did just admit she is planning on buying a pistol, and we all know it isn’t for self defense.


    If you are overweight, please, I beg you, from a son who loves his mom, make a change. Don’t do to yourself and to your children what my mother did. Take hold of your life because if you don’t, it will be too late, and your kids will be the ones to pay the price.

    It doesn’t matter how amazing of a parent you are, being obese will negate it all.

    But also remember, a lot of people out there are like me, and everytime we see you, we aren’t judging for you, we are cheering for you and hoping you can do it. And you can.

    So do it for all of us!

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