Worth the Weight

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.

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8 thoughts on “Worth the Weight

  1. You know I don’t have the healthiest relationship with food/body image myself, but… I really think it’s important to keep in mind that your body needs you to keep up the calories while breast feeding too. Your milk will not be as rich as Skittle needs with that low calorie intake. I know overcoming your own fears is hard, but it may be worth a visit to a nutritionist who specializes in post partum weight loss to help you in a way that keeps your milk up and let’s you enjoy Skittle’s early months.

    • You’re so right about the breastfeeding thing. I honestly don’t know how I had any milk to feed my daughter in her first year of life while simultaneously starving myself. I’ll definitely consider your suggestion to see a nutritionist — thank you!

  2. Funny that you should post this today because I only weigh myself on the mornings of my prenatal appointments (I know the number will be higher than anything I’ve ever seen before and I can get a little number obsessed when trying to lose weight). Anyway, I weighed myself today (14 weeks for the first time since my last appointment). Since the day I learned I was pregnant, I am up 8 lbs. I am concerned that that’s too much, and not even for vanity reasons. I just don’t want to be packing on too many lbs and putting myself and the baby at risk for gestational diabetes. Sure, part of me also wants to make it as easy on myself to lose the weight afterward as possible (and the extra 15+ lbs I would have loved to magically drop off before I even got pregnant). I guess I just want to be doing what’s right for my baby rather than “letting myself go”. I also want to develop a healthier body image in general, as I don’t want to send the message to my child(ren) that you should agonize over body weight and shape.

    • I feel completely the same way. I don’t want my children to obsess over their body like I have for so long. And 8lbs might be a little more than recommended for weight gain in the first trimester, but I wouldn’t worry yet. I gained 8lbs this time and 12lbs with Cupcake, and was so scared that I’d continue to gain 1-2 pounds/week for the rest of my pregnancy. For me, weight gain slowed a bit as my pregnancy progressed and I didn’t gain too much more than I was supposed to. And no GD or other issues related to it. So I say just do the very best you can and that has to be enough. I’m a bit of a hypocrite, though, because I’m still learning to take my own advice. 🙂

  3. You’re doing the best you can. For yourself and for Skittle. I know you know that, but it’s so easy to be more critical of yourself than you would be of anyone else. So I’m just reminding you. You’re doing the best you can.

  4. I am a big believer in listening to one’s body to know what and how much one needs to eat. If you’re eating when you’re hungry, and eating healthful foods, then it seems like you’re doing just what your body needs you to do as you grow this little one and prepare to nourish him or her (WHEN is that virtual gender reveal party again?). I can empathize with how difficult it must be to see the number going up, but feeling satisfied and obtaining adequate nutrition are the most important things you can do for yourself and for baby. Perhaps it might help you to worry less if you stepped away from the scale?

    • You’re probably so right about stepping away from the scale. And thanks for the pep talk…I needed to hear it.

      P.S. Two weeks until that party! 🙂

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