I’m declaring war.
I’m declaring war on fat-shaming pregnant women.
As if we don’t have enough to deal with: ever-changing bodies, loss of modesty, hormonal swings that rival those with bipolar disorder, we also have to deal with weight issues and pressure from doctors, society, ourselves, family, and friends about gaining just the ‘right amount of weight’.
Trust us. We have watched our bodies change from the day we peed on the stick to the day we spread our legs and let a small crowd watch our vagina turn from a beautiful flower to something resembling a tunnel.
Trust us. We get it.
We know all the things we NEED to do, but we also know all the things we WANT to do. We KNOW we should exercise more, eat less, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, not only for us, but for our precious bundle we are carrying. But, we WANT a candy bar at 4:00 p.m., or ice cream at noon, or macaroni and cheese from a box for dinner. I suppose the most difficult part isn’t finding a way to not stuff the Snickers bar into our mouths, but finding that perfect balance between indulgence and moderation.
It’s a fine line, and when you begin to waddle, it’s not an easy line to walk.
Society tells us that pregnancy is a wonderful time, a beautiful time, and that we should embrace the changes we are undergoing. I dare say that statement applies not only to the woman carrying the baby, but every single person in a 50-mile radius of said parturient. Pregnancy IS a wonderful time, a beautiful time, yet we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about things that for some of us are just simply not within our control. I am a nurse, goddamn it. I know that the ‘ideal’ weight gain for a pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. Do I honestly think I’ll stay within that guideline?
At 31 pounds gained at 28 weeks pregnant, I’m quite certain I’ll exceed that guideline with the next bowl of mac and cheese. And you know what? I don’t give a flying fuck anymore. I’m not Jabba The Hutt, sitting around shoveling food into my mouth 24/7. I’m a pregnant woman doing the best she can with the body she’s been given. The first half of this pregnancy was spent walking 2 miles almost daily until climbing the hill to our apartment simply became a feat beyond even the fittest Olympian. I’ve gotten creative with walking. I park further away at the store. I take the stairs when I’m feeling particularly adventurous. And yes, some mornings, instead of my usual toast, I’ll have a banana. And with hormones in overdrive, I’m counting on sex to burn at least 1,000 cals. A girl can dream, right? Even a pregnant one.
But, you know what?
With the nagging thoughts of weight gain, feeling less than desirable, longing for my lean body, I find myself losing joy in this moment.
This moment right here……my hand on my belly, feeling my daughter kick, roll, and punch.
I’ve lost sight of what’s truly important.
She’s right down there, waiting patiently to make her debut, and with every day that passes, I do the best I can to make good choices for myself and for my unborn daughter. I can honestly say that I’m in a better place health-wise than I was with my son 15 years ago. I gained 70 pounds with him, and was probably the fattest albeit happiest, I’ve ever been in my entire life. I didn’t care if my thighs rubbed together. I didn’t care if my legs looked like sausage stuffed into casings. I didn’t care that my face resembled the moon.
I was ecstatic. I was carrying a new life. I was pregnant. Fat. Happy.
I need to find the joy again. And I am asking everyone out there to cut a pregnant woman some slack. Is she fat? Sure. Some of us are, but we don’t need you, our doctor, or society telling us that very fact. We get it. We know. It’s on us to shed the pounds when this period of time is over. We have to deal with that singlehandedly, and we are quite aware of it.
Stroke our egos. Tell us we look beautiful (even if you DO think we look fat). Tell us how exciting this time is for us, if you’ve been through it before. Tell us how wonderful our belly looks. Ask us to join you for ice cream.
But don’t offer us a banana. We just might tell you to shove it up your ass.