I respect and understand that women from all walks of life will view this very differently from me and that's just fine. Each of us goes through this differently and feels different about the topic. These are only my thoughts and opinions on the subject and believe me when I say I've spent a LOT of time pondering this before getting pregnant and throughout my pregnancy. In fact, my header and one of the reasons I started this blog points out that body image is a topic I will talk about multiple times.
I am not a small girl.
I'm also not a big girl.
I would say I'm an average to slightly above average woman. Considering the average woman is a size 12-14, my size 16 is not much bigger and I carry my weight pretty well. People are surprised when I have revealed my previous pre-pregnancy weight at 230 lbs.
I'm pear shaped. I have a bigger bottom, thicker legs, and wide hips. I'm built very much like my Bohemian great-grandmother. I have had a pot belly since I was 10. I have always hated it, and I especially hate the phrase "pot belly" ever since my uncle pointed mine out to me at the age of 10. My brea.sts before getting PG were not exactly proportionate to my lower body though they were a C cup. Since the age of 20, I've steadily gained weight and I'm definitely not satisfied with it at all. So while I recognize these many things about my body, its shape and weight, I'm not ok with it. I have gotten more self-conscious about it over the years and less confident over all.
Before getting pregnant, I thought a great deal about gaining even more weight during pregnancy. I couldn't imagine adding more weight to this frame and it really frightened me to think what it would be like after to try to get it off since I haven't been good at getting it off before. Losing weight before pregnancy also seemed rather pointless since I would just be putting it back on but I recognized that for the health of me and my baby it would be worth it to at least try to get some of it off. I did not, though I felt healthier than in the past, and I really got anxious about it when we were trying to conceive.
Since getting pregnant, I have felt a great deal of peace about my body. Not only its appearance but also how it works and what it is doing to nourish this little being that has taken up residence for the next few months. Since getting pregnant, I've gained 2 lbs. My mother advised me that she only gained 15 lbs with me and she was at a normal weight when pregnant with me. Therefore, I dont think I'll gain much weight over the course of this but I do hope to stay within a 20lb gain. Considering I only have 4 months to go, I might be able to do it. Not for my looks but for my health. I'm not concerned about the number but more about high blood pressure, GD and a healthy labor and delivery.
This all said....
It bothers me a great deal when I hear pregnant women talk about "getting fat" when pregnant. In my head, if you were a normal or even slightly overweight before getting PG, then you dont really know what it is like to be a fat girl. Not even a slight clue at all. Until you've been considered a fat girl by all 'normal' standards not just in clothing size and media messages but BMI, weight, and the like....you're not a fat girl. You may not be happy with your extra 10 or 20 lbs and thats ok, but until you reach a certain point, you're likely not a fat girl.
Gaining weight for pregnancy is normal. Its supposed to happen, even if we do our best to fight it or try to manage it. Pregnancy is not a free pass to eat whatever you want because that isnt good for you or the baby. But you're not getting fat. I can't get behind agreeing or sympathizing with a woman who says she's getting fat during pregnancy. I can get behind feeling undesirable, feeling cumbersome and clumsy, or feeling a little crazy about what is changing and a bit worried about the unknown long-term effects on shape after pregnancy. I can get behind wanting to get the baby weight off so you can be comfortable in your body again. I can even get behind feeling upset about the weight post-baby and worrying about how to get it off because no woman really wants to be a fat woman.
But calling oneself fat during pregnancy? Nope sorry...cant do it. The reason is I am a fat girl and gaining weight during pregnancy is NOT the same as being fat. In my mind, it can never be equal. I don't understand it at all. I just want to shake these women and tell them, you're a doing a beautiful thing here and you're a beautiful freaking goddess. You are blessed to even be able to get pregnant and carry this child...some women struggle with fertility or never get the opportunity to become a mother through biological means. What your body is doing for you and your child is unbelievable and should be respected.
I think because I am so amazed at what my body is doing I cant view it as fat. I was fat before but not now. When I am no longer pregnant and at my pre-pregnancy weight, I will be fat again. And then I'll have to work on losing the weight for my health and my future. Bottom line is that I recognize I will never be a skinny girl but I can certainly be a healthier woman too. We have such a distorted viewpoint of healthy bodies anyway and the messages we get are so ridiculous.
I hope that this peace and amazement with my body now will carry over when I'm no longer pregnant. This period of time has done wonders for my body image and self-esteem that I hope to reap the benefits of these positive feelings to stay motivated to care for this vessel and get healthier for me and my children. I hope that this has helped me to leave behind those distortions and unhealthy messages and move into a great acceptance of who I am and that I'm not going to keep defining myself as a fat girl.
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