In a recent episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", Oprah featured Jill Strasburg, a woman who appeared on her talk show in 2005. On the original program, Jill's dad, Kirk, told Oprah that he was bothered by his daughter's weight and that she would never be good enough for him until she got thin. We watched the pain of a daughter who deeply yearned for her father's love (on national TV, don't forget). Crying, she told him, "I want to feel like I'm loved by you and that I'm good enough the way I am." Jill was 20 at the time and admitted that she had always felt like an outsider in her own family.
Oprah finished off the interview by asking Kirk, "Is Jill good enough the way she is, if she never lost a pound? Would that be okay with you?"
To which he responded, "No, it wouldn't."
One year later, Jill and her dad returned to the show after she had lost 170 pounds after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Looking dramatically different, she admitted she lost the weight mainly to have a relationship with him.
On Oprah's new show which brings back interview subjects to see how they are today, we watch Jill admit that looking back her appearances on Oprah is hard, that the things her dad said on the show hurt for a really long time. Only through extensive therapy has she learned to believe that her dad said the things he said because he loved her and showed it the only way he knew how. Since the operation, she has suffered a severe pain in her stomach daily and feels incredibly weak. She said, "I'm nauseated 24/7 and that is something I'll live with until I die."
In addition, as a result of her surgery, she lost the ability to have children*, which has been a devastating loss for her. "That was really difficult," she tells Oprah. "I remember telling Dave, 'I did this to myself. Because I had gastric bypass and because I went through all of these things, I took away the opportunity to be a mom."
On the flip side, Jill admits that she's a happier person and has gained a new confidence that allows her new opportunities and experiences. In spite of it all, she says, "I would do it again tomorrow."
Watch the video and tell us: What do you think of the way Jill's father treated her until she lost weight via a complicated surgery? As a parent, would you ever treat a child this way?
Please read this important note from the SheSpeaks Team:
A report in the November 2005 issue of The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing found that bariatric surgery actually boosts fertility - and that women linked to obesity with fertility problems who have had bariatric surgery can start ovulating regularly for the first time in years.
Any woman who has been diagnosed as morbidly obese should seek information about bariatric procedures - not from blogs or internet-based discussions and boards - but instead from board-certified, qualified and experienced medical professionals. Snippets about not being able to take drinks of water (such as at 4.07 minutes of this video) should not be taken out of context.