The first time that I ever thought about my weight was in grade 6. I was 12 years old, and we had to do a “weigh in” for our health class (I think). The nurses who came to do it were not overly kind or sensitive about it, so one would read the scale out loud so the other could record it down. For most of the kids, who weighed in around 80 to 90 pounds, this wasn’t a big deal. I was the second heaviest girl in my class, weighing in around 102 pounds. I will say that I was pretty tall, and had already entered puberty by this time, but I still remember thinking about how heavy I was, and what I would have to do to weight the same as some of the other girls in my class. At this point, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t shrink back to my pre-pubescent self, that I was bound to only gain weight from there.
From that point on, I was aware that I was not the skinniest girl in my class or my school and that kind of stayed with me for just about forever. Throughout Junior High it didn’t really bother me, as most of the other girls were developing and catching up to me, so I because the norm again. In Senior High, I definitely started to put on a bit more weight, and I found it really hard to deal with, as I was sharing a room with my step-sister who had a VERY different metabolism then I did. She could (and did) eat anything she wanted and she didn’t gain any weight. She was more active than me, as she played school sports (I never made the team, even when I did try out), so that probably had something to do with it. Still, I tended to compare and was fairly aware of the fact that I wasn’t a “small” or even a “medium”.
When I got sick with mono and stress when I was in Tech School, I lost a lot of weight, and got down to a size that I would probably consider unhealthy for myself today. But I loved it. I hardly slept, I rarely ate more than one meal a day, and I was either doing school work or going out with my friends (or working). It was such an awesome feeling to see my body shrink down and down and down, and the comments were very uplifting. I often got asked if I was losing weight, and complimented on how nice I looked.
I was able to maintain this weight for a year or two, but after I started to live on my own and make my own food choices (convenience mostly), I started to put the weight back on. For the most part, I was ok with this, only rising by 5 or 10 pounds. It wasn’t until 2006 when I peaked out at 170 pounds that I started to feel really negative about myself. I was able to get it under control, and down to 160 lbs when I got pregnant a few months ago. I worked really hard at getting that weight off, and truly, it hasn’t been too hard to keep it low.
Now I have to battle with seeing the scale rise. I have gained 5 pounds in my first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and according to my resources, that is an acceptable amount. I feel ok with it for the most part, but I feel like it’s all fat that is sitting on my belly, that it’s just made my waist thicken and that’s it. I definitely have sad times about this, and not because I’m getting “fat”, it’s just that it is sometimes hard to see the big picture when I still feel like I have a “condition” rather than a baby.
I also know that every pound that I put on will have to come off in the end. I’m aware that it’s not just my belly that will get pregnant, but my legs, my back, my arms and my face as well. All those area’s will have to slim down after the baby is born. I know how much work it’s going to take, and it scares the crap out of me. I wonder if I will have that much energy, drive and commitment. I wonder if I will end up overweight like some of my extended family. I worry that I’ll work so hard, but that I’ll never burn it off.
I watched a Dr. Phil episode yesterday about a man who wanted his very healthy looking wife to start to lose weight. The kicker? He thought that 6 weeks after having a baby was long enough to not do anything about her weight, that she was being “lazy” and that he had the right to tell her that she was fat and looked horrible, and that she shouldn’t be eating until she gets that weight off. I know that Rob would never do any of those things. The most involved he gets in my weight is that he’ll ask if I want to play Dance Dance Revolution or if I want to go for a walk (although not lately). He does try to encourage me to make healthy food choices, but he knows well enough that if I say that I want a cheeseburger, I’m not going to change my mind. Still, it makes me wonder. How much internal and societal pressure will I feel after giving birth to get back to the gym?
My neighbour (who finally had her baby! Yay! It’s a boy!) lent me a book called “A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy“. It was written in the mid 90’s, so there are somethings in it that I didn’t take to heart (like wearing leggings and babydoll dresses ::shudders::). But she also had some good advice about how your body changes, and how you have to not focus on what other women (pregnant or not) are doing. She was the one that pointed out that my whole body will get pregnant, while I probably only thought that maybe my belly and my back will get fat. Her mantra was and is “9 months in 9 months out”. Meaning, that it will take me 9 months to gain the 25-35 pounds I am supposed to, and I should expect (or demand, really!) that it takes me at least 9 months to start to lose more than half of it.
My second motto is “If it is in the put away bin, it’s there for a reason”. As I was putting away laundry last night, and placing a few more items in the “can’t wear this until after” bin/shelf, there were a few things that I wanted to pull out of there – a few favourite items. But as I was putting it away, I had to constantly repeat “it’s there for a reason it’s there for a reason it’s there for a reason”. I mean, I tried stuff on, put away anything that pulled funny or didn’t do up (like my bathing suit, crap!). Some of this has made me pretty sad, especially when I compare myself to my preggo friend who still wears some of her pre-maternity clothes. I just try to remember that my family gave me gift of the Instant Uterus, and the Instant Spread Hips, and it’s not that I’ve gotten “fat” or that I’m heavy.
So that’s what I’ve been dealing with. The fact that this pregnancy is my own, that it is like no other pregnancy of anyone else that I know, and if I want to compare, I must only compare with my sister. She’ll be the closest pregnancy to what mine will resemble. I also have to remember that when I look at my preggo friend I have to remember that she lost 10 lbs during her first trimester because she was sick all the time. If I lost 10 lbs over the past 10 weeks I, too, would still be in my pre-maternity clothes.
I think I’m getting a better handle on my self image. I find that wearing baggy clothes (like I am today), doesn’t make me feel any better, but when I do wear my fitted shirts, and you can see that I have a belly (not that I have a bump per se, but that I’m not just gaining weight for fun), I don’t feel so bad. And I have to remember that before I was preggo, I had a hard time finding clothes that fit properly. Why should it be any different now?
Regardless, my outlook has improved since the last time I posted about it, and wanted to let you know what I was really thinking.