baby lock Subscriber Exclusive

'At 4 months postpartum, my mum gifted me scales and a weight loss tracker.'

Growing up with an 'almond mum' is something a lot of people (unfortunately) know all too well. 

The not-so-subtle comments about the portions you put on a plate at dinner. 

The 100-calorie snacks in the pantry. 

The front-row seat to your mother constantly checking the way her stomach looks in every kind of clothing and refusing to wear anything that shows the tiniest amount of skin. 

The infamous response to the question "did you have lunch?" when they reply “oh, I had a handful of almonds.” (Which is absolutely not lunch.)

If you read this thinking "I’ve never heard of an almond mum", consider yourself lucky!

Watch: Sarah Wilson gets real about her 'crazy diet'. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

My mother has never not exercised. NEVER. She was obsessed, waking up at insane hours of the morning to get a morning walk on the treadmill, followed by a meal replacement bar that would carry her over until dinner.

This made me hate traditional exercise as an adult and I still struggle with going to the gym because it was programmed into me as a form of punishment. 

Growing up, I don't remember my mother eating more than one meal a day even though she preached how “breakfast is the most important.” And with every home-cooked meal my dad made, he included a salad for my mum because that was basically the only thing she would eat. 

Shopping trips were filled with picking out the perfect tankini or one-piece she would wear on holiday, darker colours were better because they made her look slimmer and the ideal swimsuit would have the ruching across your tummy to disguise any normal appearance of a stomach.

When I was younger, there was always high praise at every meal for being a part of the “clean plate club” if I finished everything off, but it taught me to ignore hunger cues I would later spend years unlearning. 

As a teenager doing dancing, I started to understand the draw of being thin. The thinner you were, the more appealing all the costumes looked on you and the more likely you would be near the front. 

When I played volleyball, you were required to wear the smallest possible shorts and crop tops were in — so were flat stomachs and thigh gaps to go with them. 

I became obsessed with my body and making it smaller. And the more time I spent away from home, the easier it was to not eat. I woke up late for school and rushed out of the house with “no time for breakfast” and the workload for academics and athletics was exhausting which led to my affinity for coffee (an appetite suppressant).

My mother so graciously provided me with her meal replacement bars that would suppress my hunger through an after school practice and I would eat dinner at home and attempt to pick portions that would not raise eyebrows but still allowed me to be part of the coveted 'clean plate club'. The more I filled my schedule, the later I got home and the easier it was to skip dinner all together. 

My diet became meal replacement bars, coffee, and of course mint flavoured gum (another appetite suppressant).

But when I went to university, the pendulum swung way the other way. 

There were no parents, there were no sports practices, I was away from home where I knew nobody and I was in a committed relationship so no more dressing for the male gaze. 

I could do whatever I wanted, eat whenever I wanted, and I did just that. Eating an entire pizza from Dominos plus popcorn chicken and two chocolate lava cakes was part of my regular diet.

This didn't affect the way I looked for a long time (which I later found out was because I had an overactive thyroid) but when it started to slow down due to another medical issue, I gained over 14 kilos in six months and had a raging appetite that required two full-size dinners a night. 

Cue the depression and rage when going through my closet trying to find something to wear for literally any occasion. 

But instead of show support, my mum met my rapid weight gain in the only way she knew how — with workout plans, books on healthy eating, and regular check-ins regarding my size. 

After I got my thyroid removed, I lost a little bit of weight. It was met with pure excitement from my mum, asking enthusiastically "what did you do?" as if she wanted a new trick for getting skinnier herself. 

But despite all this, I wasn't prepared for what Mum did earlier this year. 

I'd just welcomed my beautiful baby and was four months postpartum when my parents came to visit one weekend. While most  would bring a prepared meal, or perhaps a bunch of flowers, Mum handed me a, let's say, less traditional gift. 

It was scales and a folder of worksheets to track my weight and body measurements. 

I knew she'd been worried about my weight during pregnancy. She's constantly told me how much weight she'd gained having me as if it was a warning of what was to come. 

"Of course you gain weight, you're growing a human from scratch," I told her. 

But this blatant gift to change my size left me flawed. 

Luckily, I have manners so I took the scales and papers, said thank you and continued on our visit. 

I waited until I was in the car by myself, having made an excuse to head out to grab my dad a bag of granola, that I broke down crying. 

I did something so wonderful and so hard — growing and birthing a baby — and was now feeding that baby from my body. And yet all my mum could focus on was me dropping the weight. 

If you ever wanted to see what having an almond mum is like, this is it. 

And I'm determined not to be the same for my child. 

This author is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. 

Image: Getty. 

Unlock unlimited access to the best content for women