I saw this title as a title of a scrapbook page a while back and I liked it. I liked it because of its double meaning and because, of so many of the things that I need to remember as I prance through this pregnancy (though, really, I hardly feel like I’m prancing!), this is a big one.
Because here is the cold, hard truth: gaining weight is hard for me. Not hard as in “oh boy, I have to eat 99 dozen doughnuts before I even gain a pound.” No…I wish that was my problem. But it’s hard because watching those numbers rise on the scale is frightening. It’s overwhelming. Every Thursday, when I weigh myself, my heart races in those few seconds before I have the courage to step on the scale. I love, love, LOVE my growing belly, but I am scared of being fat forever and scared of the effort and misery it will take after Skittle arrives to get back to my pre-Skittle weight.
For those of you whom haven’t been reading from the beginning, a little background: I was a kid and preteen of average weight. But when puberty hit, so did the pounds. In a year, I went from being average to overweight. At age 13 or 14, I weighed about 117. By the age of 16, I was almost 190. (I’m 5’7.5″ if anyone cares.) I knew I was chubby (and thank God, I was never given a hard time about it at school), but it wasn’t until after my freshman year of college that I had the desire and willpower to do anything about it. I worked hard to lose that weight, to get to an acceptable weight of the high 130s, low 140s. I spent hours at the gym and restricted calories and cut sugar from my diet. And while my weight has fluctuated by 5-10 pounds since then, I have maintained my new, healthier weight ever since. Except, of course, when I gained 38 pounds while pregnant with Cupcake. I lost it all by her first birthday, though — but not without an incredible amount of exercise and a very limited amount of calories. I loved being a new mom, but I was not a lot of fun to be around because I was so hungry and cranky all. the. time.
I don’t want to relive that if I can help it, guys. I want to return to my goal weight, but not at the risk of my mental health or my happiness. And yet, I don’t really know any other way. I am trying, in this pregnancy, to gain less weight, but I don’t feel confident that there will be a big difference. My appetite in the first trimester just ruins me. In the first thirteen weeks while pregnant with Cupcake, I gained 12 pounds. This time, 8 pounds. That’s an improvement but still too much. (At 18 weeks, I am now up 13 pounds.) And I mostly eat well. I try to stick with a 2nd trimester caloric intake of 2200 calories or less and I work out almost daily. I allow myself to indulge in the good stuff, but there are lots and lots of healthy foods in my diet, too. And still the pounds pile on. I don’t know if it’s my PCOS or just a slow metabolism, but nothing short of starvation seems to keep this from happening. And all I can see in my after-baby future is two hours of daily exercise and menu plans of 800-1000 calories and nights spent awake because I’m so hungry. It’s depressing.
But please, please, please don’t see this as complaining or ungratefulness for the gift I have been given. I am neither of this things. This baby is worth the wait, and the weight. In fact, I would gain 200 pounds, if I had to, just for the privilege of carrying this child. But we all have our baggage. Mine is that I don’t have a healthy body image or a healthy relationship with food. And it’s hard to not panic at the prospect of losing this one thing that I have worked so hard for, and obsessed over for so long.
I know, in the end, it will all be okay. I am still a work in progress and I will find my way through the tricky business of losing baby weight once again. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad, splurges and restrictions, but there will also be a change in the way I see my body. I will love it again. Love it for growing another child. Love it for giving me what I desired most of all. Love it for the child it created, the pregnancy it supported, and the boobie milk it is making. And I do believe that will be enough to overcome all the ugly things I will tell myself when I see my flabby belly and the God-awful number on the scale.
It will just have to be enough, because this time, I am not letting anything get in the way of savoring those early months of a baby’s life. In God’s great plan, weight is such a very small thing to worry about. And I’m going to try to worry less.