This is a hard entry for me to write, but I think I need to address it and talk about it for myself. But also I think it’s important to share for anyone else who may be experiencing similar issues.
Eleven years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I was overweight and kept gaining throughout college. Finally, during nursing school, in the winter of 2007, I decided to lose the weight and joined Weight Watchers. About seven months later, I had lost about 40 pounds. It was such a great feeling and accomplishment.
I’m currently at/approaching that starting weight.
To be clear, I haven’t gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy. I have fluctuated over the years and started out at about 20 pounds more than that lowest weight. Only for small amounts of time (twice, to be exact, when I first made goal weight for about a year and again later for our wedding) was I actually maintaining that lowest weight.
I had always told myself I’d try not to be bigger than my highest weight if/when I got pregnant. Even at the beginning of the pregnancy, I thought maybe I could do it (which would mean about a 20 pound gain total). I was happy - I didn’t gain much weight until about 22 weeks. Then I started gaining a pound a week, no matter what I did. And that goal to not gain to the highest weight was looking less and less likely.
Midwife note: Depending on BMI, weight gain during pregnancy varies. For women of normal BMI, 25-35 pounds is recommended. For BMI under 18 (underweight) it’s 28-40 pounds. For BMI 25-29, it’s 15-25 pounds. For BMI over 30, 11 to 20 pounds.
These are, of course, guidelines, not strict rules. Everyone gains at a different rate, everyone is different and anything above the guidelines is not necessarily unhealthy. Your healthcare provider can give guidance on weight gain that’s right for you.
I have definitely been struggling with the scale for at least a month. I’m watching the gain, but actually feeling not so different. I know (in my head) that this gain is for a good reason! I’m growing a baby! The baby is about 3-3.5 pounds now, plus all the extra weight for other important things!
Midwife note: Weight gain in pregnancy is because of a variety of things, not just the fetus. There is extra blood volume, amniotic fluid, increased body fluid, placenta, breast tissue, uterus and extra pounds in other areas too.
Being a midwife, I KNOW this is normal. Being a person who has always struggled with weight, it’s hard. It’s really hard. I find myself obsessing about the weight. Do I look big or small? Am I going to have a giant baby? Do I look giant? Fred is definitely being driven nuts with my weight and body image issues (which I talk about a lot). My midwives have reassured me that things are fine.
I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to tell myself what I would tell the clients in my practice. I’m trying to reassure myself.
On the other end of things, I am definitely NOT starving myself, nor am I eating perfectly (ice cream, anyone?). I AM still exercising regularly, 5-6 days a week. I am even still running (in the third trimester) which makes me very happy and proud of myself and I will continue as long as I can. I could eat better, but I’m not obsessing about that and trying not to deprive myself and enjoy some of the cravings!
Just for comparison, I made a side by side picture grid of myself. The picture on the left is me 11 years ago, before I started the weight loss journey. The second is me a week ago. Besides having aged, I notice a difference in the way my face is shaped and looks. Looking at this picture reminds me that weight isn’t the only indicator of health.
I will continue to keep doing the best that I can and trying to be positive and healthy. A woman’s body changes SO much when she’s pregnant, in more than just the belly. It’s hard for me, as it is for many women. I think it’s important for me to recognize this, acknowledge my feelings and keep doing the best I can. Afterall, I am doing something amazing - I’m growing a person inside of me. That’s pretty damn awesome.
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City