Pregnancy weight gain and old insecurities

The combination of body insecurities, plus necessary and rapid weight gain, plus pregnancy hormones can be devastating.

So far, I’ve been doing pretty well, all things considered. I’d gained eight pounds at my last check-up (16w 2d) and fully expect for the scale to show another three pounds or so gained by Wednesday (19w 2d). Everyone keeps telling me that I’m supposed to gain weight – I’m pregnant (as if I don’t know). It very much feels like a pat on the head and a shoo down the hall when I’m trying to explain that yes, I know I’m supposed to gain weight, but the actuality of it is quite a different matter than the theoretical idea. It’s one thing to say: I need to gain weight and the average weight gain is 25 – 35 pounds at full term. It’s quite another thing to step on the scale at the doctor’s office just three short weeks since your last visit and to show appreciable weight gain.

Think about it. Have you ever in your life, barring some medical reason, shown up to a follow up visit three weeks – just 21 days – later and seen the scale creep up three whole pounds? I’ve weighed the same amount, give or take a pound here and there, for the past three years or so. I’m used to going to the doctor’s three months later and not seeing any difference that I couldn’t brush off to water weight or timing or a heavier pair of shoes.

Plus there’s the idea that pregnancy should be this glowing time of serenity. We’re supposed to only put on the bare minimum amount of weight (not to mention lose it mere days after the baby arrives). We’re applauded for not gaining weigh (even though it could imply health problems) and threatened with nutritionist appointments if our doctors think we’re putting on weight too quickly. Online communities are flooded with women who have managed to put on a single pound by 20 weeks, quickly drowned out by women who have gained 20 pounds in the same amount of time. There’s no such thing as typical, just like our pre-pregnancy weight tendencies. We’re supposed to adore our expanding bodies when we’ve been taught all of our lives to fight any expansion.

I say all of this as a preamble. I lost it a bit today. I broke down in Luffy’s arms. It all started innocently enough. We’re going to a wedding next weekend and the day after’s schedule includes swimming. I was trying on a bathing suit to make sure that it still fit and wasn’t too indecent (hello family! meet my new boobs). After admiring the belly (and the baby!), my gaze moved over the rest of my body. The newly acquired roll under my chest. The non-existent waist line. The extra padding around my hips and thighs. None of it truly baby related, even though it’s all essential for pregnancy.

I always feared that my old insecurities would pop up during pregnancy. I work hard to keep myself in shape and to remain a healthy weight. It’s challenging to say goodbye to something that you’ve worked so hard to achieve, even if it is for a good reason. I’m happy to say that I can at least separate out the pregnancy a bit. I actually really like the belly and the curves it brings. Just don’t ask me about that new roll under my bra band.

I’ll cut myself some slack today. My hormones seem especially primed and wired to my tear ducts (I teared up while watching a movie – about baseball – during the scene where they sang the national anthem….). So I’ll breathe, lean on Luffy for a bit and pull myself together. It will be worth it in the end.

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