Before I begin…this is quite a personal post, and quite a hard one for me to write. I’m doing it anyway because, a) it might exorcise some demons, and b) it might help someone else who’s feeling the same way as I am now and could do with knowing that they’re not alone. I feel quite alone in feeling this way at the moment.
I have always always struggled with my weight and I’ve had issues with food since I was 15. To cut a long story short, I’ve been big (over a size 20) and I’ve been little (size 6) – I’ve been bullied and mocked for being fat, and complimented and praised for being skinny. Consequently, I associate being overweight with feeling worthless and unlikeable.
(note: This issue is about my OWN self image…I do not think that overweight people are worthless and unlikeable. On the contrary, I see beauty and worth in everyone…just not in myself)
So…onto the point…
When I fell pregnant I was 10 stone 2 lbs and about a size 10, a weight and size that I maintained up until about week eight when I suddenly had to eat ALL THE CARBS to stave off feelings of nausea and misery. Five weeks later (and one stone heavier) my nausea subsided and my SPD began…I carried on eating terribly (cake, cake and more cake) and suddenly I was in too much pain to keep up with the amount of physical activity that I was used to. I knew what I was doing to myself (what I am still doing to myself on occasion), but I just couldn’t stop over-eating. I think it’s a bit of a shame spiral – I feel bad so I eat, and then I feel worse so I eat some more…and on and on and on…
…other people helped to make it ok by saying “You’re eating for two!” (even when I know that’s a ridiculous untruth), or “If ever there’s a time to eat what you want, it’s now!” (no, no it isn’t…this is the time when I should be looking after myself, not giving in to myself and my gluttony)…
Aside from that though, even when I’ve been “good” and eaten healthily (and not excessively) I have STILL gained at the same rate. It’s disheartening and has made me think that I should just eat whatever the hell I want as it won’t make any difference anyway.
Now I’m 29 weeks pregnant (tomorrow) and I’m tipping the scales at 13 stone 8 lbs.
My thighs rub together now, and when I look in the mirror I see joints of ham where my arms used to be. My bump is beautiful and I love it for the most part (even though it is BIG for 29 weeks), but I do not love the fatty “double bump” that hangs from the bottom of it. I have chins, plural.
Luke is very supportive. He tells me that I’m beautiful and that I’m not fat, I’m pregnant…but I am quick to point out that I am not pregnant in my legs or my arse. I can handle the bumpiness of pregnancy, it’s just the excess weight that I can’t deal with, and looking in the mirror often sets me off on a self-depreciating rant…but his words and his affection always make me feel better.
Other people, however, are a completely different story…People who know when I’m due vary their reaction to my size between “Are you sure you’ve got your dates right?” and the ever hilarious “…have they checked to see if it’s twins?”, and until I left work I was constantly having this conversation with well-meaning people:
WMP “How long have you got left?”
Me: “Two and a half months.”
WMP “REALLY?!” *visibly staggering back, presumably so they can see all of me at once…or perhaps avoid being crushed by my belly*
When you’re pregnant you are suddenly public property, and it’s amazing how free and easy people are with their comments on your size.
If I’m honest, other people’s opinions (well-meaning or not) have been the main catalyst for me feeling this way. It’s not their fault at all…I’m sure most pregnant women can handle these comments in a much more well-balanced way. If I was just large with child I’d probably still get annoyed sometimes…but because I have issues, and because I feel like I’m so grossly over-weight, I take everything to heart in the most extreme way possible. Now I’m at home (and not in the public eye so much) I don’t get a daily update on what other people think about my pregnant body, but I’ve replaced their voices with my own.
I just can’t help bullying myself over it.
According to all the books and a pregnancy weight calculator I should have put on about 35lbs by the END of my pregnancy. I know that every woman and every pregnancy is different, but I have surpassed that by a good 13lbs (lets just call it a stone shall we?) and I feel just awful about that. This is NOT the way I envisioned my pregnancy…
…I thought I’d stay active, be healthy and have a neat little bump that grew (slowly) with the growth of my unborn child. I did not expect to feel like a great hulking troll who can’t walk up the stairs without getting out of breath and who grows steadily larger with each mouthful of cake. I’m trying to make light of it here, but I’ve sobbed for hours over the way I look and feel – I’m beating myself up over this on a daily basis and my self-confidence has taken a massive nose-dive. I’m embarrassed to even meet up with friends that I haven’t seen in a while for fear that they’ll think I’m disgusting for letting myself get this big this quickly. When I do see them I often feel the need to draw attention to my weight-gain straight away, just to get in there before they do.
Thankfully, I seem to have stopped gaining weight now, and over the last week I have actually seemed to be losing a pound or so every few days. It makes me feel a little better about myself, but I think it’s mostly because I physically can’t fit as much food in me anymore. See, even when I get a handle on myself and start seeing a positive change I still put it down to an external (or internal, in this case) force rather than my own efforts.
…and I am making an effort. I’m doing more (gentle) exercise, and I’m watching what I eat more. I don’t think I can (or should) lose a stone in the next 11 weeks, but if nothing else I can try to keep myself from piling on even more weight. I am hoping that after our boy is born and my SPD (hopefully) relents, breast feeding and exercise will bring me back to a size and shape that I am happy with.
At the moment I am, more often than not, very sad about how I have let myself go…but then our baby hiccups or moves a foot or a hand, and I suddenly don’t really care very much about how I look or feel…at least for a while. All I can hope is that once he is here in the world I will be so in awe of him that I can completely put aside how much my own self-image affects me.