As women, we grow up learning all about pregnancy. We watch the bellies of our moms, aunts, sisters, and friends grow and grow and grow. We see them sick. We see them tired. We see their ankles swell.
Pregnancy is a time of massive one-uppers. It shouldn’t be a contest, but it is. Everyone wants to tell of what they gained and lost. They compare everything.
If your ankles swelled, then I bet you didn’t hear of the girl whose ankles AND feet swelled. If you couldn’t stand the smell of wings, another girl couldn’t stand the smell of the whole chicken. If you puked for the last 6 hours, another girl swears she puked for 12 hours. If you only gained 10 pounds, another girls swears she lost 10. And it all might be true! But it’s still a competition.
Why is it a competition?
For the most part, we all go through the same things. There’s the morning sickness, the swollen ankles, the back aches, the breakouts, the food aversions, the shrinking clothes, the cravings, and the weight gain.
The weight gain.
Why is that even mentioned? Why do women feel the need to compare weight with other women while pregnant?
Having battled an eating disorder about 10 some-odd years ago, pregnancy weight gain was always on my mind. I was nervous about it. I worried about “blowing up” and never getting my figure back. While I was pregnant I was very conscious of what I ate, but I never denied myself. I would reign in some control when I felt it was necessary, but for the most part, I did what I wanted.
I can’t tell you how many times I was asked, “How much weight have you gained?” while I was pregnant. Have we ever thought of how inappropriate that is? To be fair, I’m guilty of doing it before I got pregnant. It never really bothered me during pregnancy, because I was able to proudly explain, “I lost in the beginning, so I’m still gaining that back,” or towards the end of my pregnancy, “I’ve only gained 30 pounds!”
I was proud of that. I was proud that you couldn’t always tell I was pregnant from behind or that I was mostly belly. That’s the type of pregnant body I always wanted to have. Because to me, that meant I would be “normal” afterward. But in a way, I hate that I felt the need to justify my body by “Oh, I’ve lost this amount, so being such and such is okay.” I shouldn’t have had to tell anyone my weight. I shouldn’t have been asked. And it shouldn’t have been on my mind. I should’ve been okay knowing that whatever my body became during and after pregnancy was normal. I hate that I ever thought any different.
In the beginning, I lost 26 of those 30 pounds in about 2 weeks after giving birth. I didn’t tell anyone that I lost it because I had the baby blues and couldn’t eat. Or that I noticed some of the weight creeping back onto my body over the next few weeks and months. I was proud and then embarrassed. I started feeling like I’d let myself down.
It’s now been almost 5 months to the day and I don’t know how much I weigh. I just know that I’m a bit pudgier than I was pre-O.
And you know what? I’m tired of worrying about it. I am happy. I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy with my family. I’m happy with my body. And I’m okay with whatever changes it has left to make.
Our kids have to grow up with enough on their shoulders without feeling like they made mommy gain weight on top of it. Our daughters have enough to focus on without worrying over their pregnancy weight gain when their older.
Having a baby didn’t make me gain weight.
It made me gain selflessness. It made me gain love. I gained the ability to be spontaneous. To making unintelligible sounds for hours. And enjoy it! To laugh at things nobody else finds funny. It made me gain patience. It made me gain strength. Stretch marks. Confidence. Unconditional love.
I’m not worried about the weight I haven’t lost.
Because I lost my selfishness. My need to constantly plan out every minute of an outing. My patience… sometimes. 😉 My need to impulse buy. My boring days.
Those are the gains and losses I care about. I’m not weighing myself again. Not for the purpose of focusing on baby weight. My body changed a great deal. My hips are a little wider. My stomach is quite a bit more loose. I have tiger stripes running all across the bottom of my stomach. There’s also a few new ones on my hips to join the ones from my teenage years.
My body is a beautiful thing. It did something amazing by creating another human being. It’s exactly where it needs to be right now. Healthy. Happy. And focusing on nourishing Baby O’s body. Not worried about the numbers on a scale.