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.
6/11/2018 03:42:23 pm
Im at 33 weeks and I put on a ton of weight the first 4 months 20 pounds!!! before my drs found my thyroid was acting up. It's really intimidating and at the time i was really unhappy/sad/disappointed a million negative feelings. Since then Ive had very slow weight gain, I guess my body already had so much to work with from the first few months. I had a not so pleasant in-law make comments on my weight last week and now i feel even more self-conscious about the bump, I know better than to let someone affect my feelings in that way but boy does it suck. Im trying to focus on the: babys coming very soon and youll be running around with a little peanut youll be lifting more so the weight will come off (positive mantra) and hoping ill be so busy smiling at him that it wont really matter. But I think were so hard on ourselves and this is probably one of the few times we should be healthy and try and embrace growing a baby!!! Apparently peanut is pretty big taking up some important real estate, I hope to embrace it more. It's oddly lonely going through this process and yet so many women have.
6/12/2018 07:40:30 am
Thank you for sharing your journey. The weight gain stuff is just so hard. I feel like we’re fed this idea that bodies are static and have to fit into a certain mold. Obviously most of us fall short. I hate whenever anyone comments on my weight gain or loss. I only notice when someone says something. I wish our bodies weren’t subject to public discussion. That said, it’s so helpful to see we’re not alone in our struggles. Your body is making a beautiful baby, but that doesn’t make anyone immune to insecurity. I’m constantly amazed by women’s ability to do something extraordinary in spite of the many diminishing messages we receive. Good luck!
6/12/2018 09:17:41 am
Pregnancy and birth are the ultimate lessons in letting go and letting your body do its thing— so hard for us control freaks! But it’s a good practice and one that will be especially helpful in your next chapter of motherhood. Baby will be in charge at least for a little while and sometimes squeezing in a workout will be hard! Being patient with the postpartum body will also be a challenge and there might be days that go by where you’ll long for your old body. That’s certainly where I’m at and as someone with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder in my past, it’s SO hard. Somewhere in our brains though, we sense that all this obsessing isn’t worth it because we know where doing everything within our control— and you, Elaine, so are. So all we can do is put ultimate, almost radical trust in the inner wisdom of our body and hand over the reins for a bit (maybe a year... maybe a little more 😳). We look to our bodies and how we keep them for a sense of identity so when they don’t look like how we want we think that is some reflection of who we are— but it isn’t. I try to remind myself of that when I have negative thoughts about my soft postpartum body. When the time is right for you, you’ll get back to size you want to be. It just can’t be now or for a little while. You accept that and let go because thats the only thing you can do to keep yourself from suffering all that mental anguish. And once you do that, you leave more space in your brain to enjoy both your pregnancy and your baby once Embers is earth side. ❤️
Leave a Reply.
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City