One of the most difficult things about my pregnancy has been the weight gain. I’ve heard it over and over again, “gaining weight during your pregnancy is normal and healthy” but sometimes it feels like I’ll never fit into any of my clothes again. This morning I was up scrambling through my closet to find something I could pull over my belly. Shortly after I lost a little over 40 pounds, there was a time where I would look in that same closet , at all of those same clothes and have most everything be too big. Today I could feel tears burning behind my eyes and found myself berating myself, questioning how exactly I let myself get this fat. With a little over two weeks to go before my due date, I’ve gained about 30 pounds, give or take depending on just how much water I am retaining in my cankles. The reality of it, I know, is that I’m not really getting fat, I’m growing a person, one that I love very much already and cannot wait to meet. Sometimes, even the thought of that little soul does little to console me as I look in the mirror, day after day.
I’ve struggled with my weight for a very long time, as in from 2nd grade on. I remember a specific doctor’s visit where the doctor flat out told my father I was fat and to be fair, they were right. I was almost 135 in sixth grade and it pretty much only went up from there, even though I consistently played sports and was generally very physically active, I just didn’t know how to curb my enthusiasm for food. Finally, as a college sophomore I stepped on the scale saw 180 pounds flash before my eyes and decided enough was enough. I cut soda, ice cream, butter, sweets, pizza, cheese and chips out of my diet completely. I never ate out or drank anything other than water or diluted juice. I went to the gym for at least an hour a day, often three times that much. After a few months of this self imposed boot camp I had lost 40 pounds and looked pretty good. Everyone complemented me. It felt good and now looking back on it, I realize that it felt too good to have been healthy. I cared more about the numbers on the scale than I did about being happy. I would turn down invitations to go to the gym, sometimes for a second or third time. I would avoid people I knew would want to go out to eat somewhere. If I didn’t go the gym, I felt anxious. I would compare myself to every girl I walked past. Even at a healthy weight I found myself scrutinizing every inch of my body and pinching my thighs in disgust. Eventually, many thanks to Guy who loved me at 180, 170, 160, 150 and 140, I found a happy medium where I could eat what I wanted in moderation, find ways to work out that I actually enjoyed, maintain my weight and not have a meltdown if I missed a day at the gym. So often, women (and men) struggle with body image issues. If you haven’t checked out The Tummy Project (thanks Vanessa!) , I suggest you do. It is a testament to the fact that everyone is unique both internally and externally and there is nothing wrong with it. Beauty is more universal than we sometimes think.
I want so badly to enjoy what’s left of this pregnancy. I will never be pregnant for the first time again. Its strange to think that within the next 4 weeks (I know for a fact they won’t let me go over 2 weeks past due without an induction) that I will be holding an itty bitty person in my hands. Never again will I feel her hiccuping or turning or kicking or stretching from the inside. I wonder how much I have missed obsessing over the numbers on the scale and the ever multiplying colony of stretch marks on my belly. I didn’t take “belly pictures” and have very few pictures of myself pregnant. Guy has truly done everything to make me feel beautiful. He loves my belly and talks to it and tells me how amazing he thinks it is that there is a baby in there. I wish I had been able to embrace such a truly cool thing more than 2 weeks before it was over.