I’ve never really liked my body. From being teased at about 11 years old for my gorilla legs (my mother wouldn’t let me shave), to being teased for not having breasts (I developed a little late, but the real issue is I was younger than everyone in my class, as I skipped a grade and had a June birthday), to hating my fat thighs and arms, which started around 11 as well, it has always been a battle. I look back at pictures of myself in high school, when I thought I was fat, and I want to shake that girl – she looked great! I graduated high school at 5’4’’, and weighed 120 pounds. I wanted to lose weight.
In college and grad school, I gained and lost some weight, but it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t happy with my weight, and wanted to lose, but never seemed to be able to do that. I remember telling my grad school roommate that at least I was stable, and I didn’t think I would ever gain any more. I was 130 pounds.
When I started working, I worked in a public accounting firm, and would work up to 80 hours a week. In public accounting, the joke was that in the same week, we would eat a 5-course meal at a fancy restaurant and a meal from a vending machine, and this was very true. We went out to eat all the time, and brought in meals when working late. I had no time for exercise, and didn’t take care of myself. And getting married and divorced, and having serious depression did not help. About six years after starting work, I was up to 170 pounds. I went on Weight Watchers, lost about 15 pounds, started dating the hubs, and quit public accounting. We were both at our skinniest in awhile when we started dating. But then we started going out to restaurants, and we’re awful influences on each other. We both gained a bunch of weight, and I got up to about 175. Then we got engaged, and both working on being healthier.
For our wedding in 2009, I got down to 160. I would have loved to be skinnier, but I think I looked good. With a good pair of Spanx, I had a flat belly. And even the hubs wore a tank top that held him in a bit at the wedding! We got ready together, and we laughed as both of us struggled to get into our undergarments – we were meant for each other! I had been tanning, so my skin glowed. I felt very pretty, and comfortable in my own skin. But on the honeymoon, I threw away the diet pills that I had been taking, and said I didn’t want to take those anymore. Hubs teased me that I was a stereotype: throwing away the diet pills while pulling out the prenatal vitamins.
Over the next two years, as we tried to have a baby, and did fertility treatments, and got pregnant, and had an ectopic, and then got pregnant, and then miscarried at 8.5 weeks, my weight increased and fluctuated quite a bit. My heaviest was 185 pounds, which was shortly after the D&C. I was disgusted with myself, so I started a “Couch to 5K” program, and promptly sprained my ankle. I hated my body. Not only for the weight, but even more because my body killed my baby. And was completely broken. I felt the worst about myself that I ever have last summer after the miscarriage. I couldn’t get pregnant, and when I did, my body killed the baby, I was fat, and I couldn’t even exercise because of the sprained ankle.
Throughout my life, I have always hated my body. I would feel fat, and unhappy with myself. I hated shopping for clothes, hating how everything looked on me, and waiting until I lost weight to buy clothes, which never seemed to happen. And all this was made worse by my infertility.
I always wanted to become pregnant at a low weight, as I wanted to be one of those cute skinny women with the bowling ball bellies. Skinny arms, skinny legs, big beautiful belly. I am definitely not that woman. But as my belly increases, I’m starting to like my body again. Yes, I have big thighs, big arms, chubby face, etc., but I also have this big beautiful belly that is housing my baby. And my body is nourishing and growing my baby girl, and everything is on track. I am one of the very lucky ones whose skin looks better while pregnant. After about 10 weeks, I have had very minimal blemishes, I don’t have any stretch marks (yet) or linea nigra (yet – I know these can come), and everything is looking good so far! Every morning I lather on some oil over my growing belly, and I love the way it looks, even while naked! (Except for the Lovenox bruises – those are never pretty.) Everything looks so bizarre and funny, and my eyes go to my belly and breasts, instead of the rest of my body. My breasts are big with protruding veins and my nipples look weird, but I know all this is in preparation to feed my baby girl, and I’m so excited that I get to continue to provide nourishment to her even after she’s born. (I hope this goes well!!!)
I’ve received some not-so-lovely comments from people, from my friend telling me I’m really big for 5 months, and it’s going to get a lot worse, to a couple people telling me I’m growing across and they can tell my hips have spread, even from behind! And the hubs doesn’t help – I put something on the other day and asked if it looked ok, and he shrugged his shoulders. I then said I feel like a huge pregnant woman, and he agreed, saying "well that's what you are!" I haven’t seen my mom yet during this pregnancy, but she just told me all about some woman at her gym who was farther along than me and was barely showing at all! So I probably shouldn’t be showing much, right?
But for some reason, for the first time in my life, I don’t care what people are saying. And yes, I still feel fat, but more than that I feel pregnant. And I like that. My body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, and I love it. When I look in the mirror, I see my belly, and I’m happy to look like a pregnant woman. I started this pregnancy at 178.4 pounds, and this morning on the scale I was 187.4, so I’ve gained 9 pounds at 23 weeks. Yes, it might be a little much for someone who started out with a BMI classification of “Obese” (but just barely!), but I’m fine with it. My weight gain is not out of control, and it’s been steady after an initial weight loss of a few pounds due to morning sickness, and my doc does not seem concerned. I’m reading a book called Big, Beautiful and Pregnant: Expert Advice and Comforting Wisdom for the Expecting Plus-Size Woman, and I like it. There’s nothing ground-breaking in there, but I like the emphasis on being healthy and enjoying your body, rather than being super restrictive and mean, like a lot of the normal books are regarding bigger pregnant women. And I really like the advice on embracing your body with maternity clothes, and the stories from women who finally like their body.
That’s how I feel – for the first time in my life, I’m feeling good about myself and my body. Sure, it would be nice to be skinnier, but right now, I’m happy with my size. I love my belly and my breasts, and all that it means. I guess I’m feeling very confident considering I’m sharing all the weight details on my blog! And I wanted to write this down so later in my pregnancy, when I’m feeling huge (because let’s face it, the time will come), I could re-read this and remind myself to love my body for what it’s doing – it’s making a baby!!! So in honor of my new good feelings about myself, today I took my first pregnancy photos, and I’m sharing them with you. Check out Jackson in the background…