Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pregnancy and Body Image


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'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.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Goddess Behavior....

This week at work myself and 4 co-workers got into a discussion about

To preface my mother did not BF us, we were formula fed. I'm not entirely sure my grandmother's breast fed or not, its just not a topic that comes up amongst the women in our family. Early commercial formulas were being introduced during that time period when they were bearing babies, so I dont really know.

I do recall that one of my aunt's attempted to BF her daughter and it didnt go well for numerous reasons. She gave up after just two weeks. One reason was that she was having supply issues. I'm not sure if it was because she didnt know much about BFing, or if she was supplementing with formula in those early days thus creating problems with it or if she couldn't produce enough. The other thing is that she got ZERO support from my uncle and other older family members. Her mother was helpful but nobody else. I was about 20 years old when my cousin was born and my first exposure to BF. I distinctly recall that my grandfather use to make comments about along the lines of "Your tit.ties are too small for that baby, no wonder she is hungry" and "How the hell do you know when the baby is full, its not like you have a gauge on those things." He was just AWFUL...simply awful.

So needless to say, I didn't seriously consider BFing my own babies until the last year. I just KNEW I would get the same BS from the family and comments and just figured it would be "easier" to just formula feed like everybody else did. I started to research it more and decided that I really wanted to BF my babies and that I would do whatever it takes to make it work.

My MIL did BF her boys for about the first 4 months and then stopped. Observing my DH's family members with a cousin that is currently BFing her baby, they are making tons of comments about when she will stop BFing. The baby was born in August so still a very young baby. Needless to say I'm getting some mixed messages on one side and negative messages on the other.

My friends are pro-BFing. Two of my friends are currently BFing and one other has also BF her baby. So there is tons of support and information there.

Anyway, back to the conversation at work. One of my friends really didnt know much about milk, BFing, bo.obs and so all the things that the experienced moms at work were saying about it blew her away.

My experienced mom friend at work is this incredibly graceful woman and she is a person that I really admire a great deal. She was positively giddy about BFing...she said it was hard but she loved it. She said it was worth it all. She was even funny saying it took about 6 months after BFing to stop feeling herself up befor leaving the house to make sure she was covered up properly.

She talked about her "milk-drunk" babies. She described it as the moment when her babies would just start to look drunk on her milk, snoozing after feeding, a little milk slipping down their cheeks and total bliss on their faces. She said "I may have to watch you feed just to see it because its so amazing!" She was so cute explaning it and said "It made me feel so powerful and incredible to know I did that for them."

Finally after telling us all the amazing things about BFing, she summed it up by saying "BFing moms are goddesses. Its truly goddess behavior."

The reason I write this all out is because it was some of the best advice I've received so far this pregnancy which was intertwined with real stories and humour and genuine excitement. It was definitely a message I was hoping to receive about just one aspect of being a mother. Now I recognize that I may be unsuccessful at BFing for whatever reasons may arise but I now know that I will be able to find support and positive attitudes to give my baby the best start which will not only help me but also my baby.

This conversation reminded me of why women are just so amazing and why I'm so happy to be part of the exclusive club of female friendship.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Name Choices

So after that question on nicknames, I think DH and I have our name choices selected. What a circus indeed trying to get nice, classic, not-so-common, easy to say in French/English bilingual names!! We decided to choose two names for each sex so we have can meet our baby first and then decide what their name will be at the birth.

So without further ado...


Maxim Rheal Todd
Beau Rheal Todd

Rheal and Todd are family names


Emma Lucille Jean
Bianca Lucille Jean

We both happen to have paternal grandmothers with the name Lucille and Jean is my middle name. Emma is my beloved great-grandmother's name. I know its popular but this is no trend for me. I'm honoring a very important person whom I was very close to until she passed in 2008. I was her oldest great-grandchild so we had a very special bond. I dont think Emma is that popular in our area of Ontario either but it doesnt matter to me.

I'll be going to monthly posts and updates on my pregnancy now. I feel great and the baby is moving a ton which is so exciting. I hope in the next few weeks, DH will be able to feel from the outside too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Do you think that children automatically get a nickname associated with their name (if a nickname is possible) or do you think that parents can influence how their children are addressed by friends, family, teachers and others?

Remove this question from a 15 year old teenager with friends that will probably call him or her whatever they want including Boner...that is entirely different and not something that concerns me at all.

My family does not use nicknames and I hate nicknames for the most I believe that you can control how your child is addressed since nobody in my family uses nicknames. DH however thinks that nicknames will happen no matter what we do or say (for example...a Maxim would be come Max)

What do you think?

Monday, January 4, 2010

20 Weeks

DH and I are so thrilled to be at 20 weeks! We only have 20 weeks left before our little one arrives! Its gone by so fast and I know the next few months will fly by quickly.

Dear Sweet One,

Your mommy and daddy are simply tickled that you will become part of our lives in May. Your mommy loves being pregnant and I think it is such a privilege to carry you, nourish you and take care of you during these 40 weeks. Your daddy is already so proud of you, and he is so excited to be your father. We often wonder if you'll be a little girl or a little boy, what you will look like and how you will completely change our lives. You were created with love and you are already so cherished. Love Mom.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

A very happy new year in 2010 to all! Last night was my dad's 50th birthday and we had a party at my parents house. I'm so glad my DH and I made it to celebrate with him; it was well-worth the trip. Unfortunately we have to leave tomorrow to make our trek across the country home. Will have to go a different route too as our normal route is supposed to get 2 feet of lake effect snow! Darn Great Lakes!!

As everybody else is doing, here is my decade recap....

2000-Graduate high school and start attending university as a music major. Join my university marching band which was the best college decision I ever made. Tons of friends and wonderful memories to be started and shared. Started working at a bank which was also one of the best job decisions I ever made.

2001-2nd year of university and I have switched to psychology. Music is my passion, and it was becoming a burden. Probably my best year in university as far as friends, band and fun. Keep working at the bank, have moved into the real estate department.

2002-Worst year of university....end 3 year relationship with first boyfriend which was difficult but also best decision I ever made relationship wise. School was a blur and kept trucking at the bank. Real estate boom starts and I have job security, even as a university student.

2003-Meet my future DH online on a random messageboard. We start an anonymous friendship. Start dating another local guy and he is my "band romance." We have tons of fun but arent a match and he breaks my heart 9 months later in 2004. 2nd most fun year in university. Still at the bank and loving it.

2004-Graduate university. Boyfriend ends the relationship. R is more there for me than my real life friends. Feelings start to change even though we try to stay grounded. R books a flight to my town for February 2005. I quit the bank and start work in my field at a residential group home for at-risk and unwanted youth. Also start working at a youth detention centre at the end fo the year.

2005-DH flies to my hometown and we spend 8 wonderful days together. After he goes home, we decide we're gonna make something of this and our long distance relationship begins. I apply for graduate school and get accepted at all 3 of my chosen programs. I decide to go to Chicago; it was the less expensive city and closest to home. Pack up and leave my home for the last time to go to the big city to start my program. My beloved grandfather is diagnosed with lung cancer that summer before I leave. Dad gets a new job two months later and they sell our house. Future DH and I manage to see each other 3 more times that year and spend his birthday and NYE in Chicago.

2006-2nd year of graduate school. Had tons of fun in the city with my friends and had a great summer in Chicago. The fall I started my internship with delinquent youth; lots of train traveling ensues. That fall semester was the worst of my life. My grandfather was dying. I spend the semester working double time so I dont fall behind as the inevitable will happen before Christmas. I made a quick trip home to say goodbye in October, he passes 3 weeks later. First Christmas without him was the worst of my life. Future DH spends Christmas with my family and is a trooper through our emotional mess. Somehow, I manage to pull out the best grades of my school career. Just before NYE, future DH proposes and we plan for a 2007 wedding.

2007-Our family dog, a wonderful shih tzu, is put to sleep in March after 17 years of a long and happy life. Very hard to say goodbye but seemed fitting since my grandfather had passed just a few months before and they were best buds. I know they are playing together in heaven. Graduate from my program and get married to the love of my life. Prepare all summer to move to Canada. Start my indefinite unemployment in September. Visit Florida with my new in-laws. Not the way I envisioned my first holidays with my new DH but we had fun anyway.

2008-I send my papers to the Canadian government so I can become a permanent resident in February. In June I land at the border as a permanent resident. My beloved great-grandmother passes away. Start looking for a job and get my first job in Canada as a psychology professor exactly one year after my unemployment started. A month later I start my contract as an addictions counsellor.

2009-Continue working as a professor and addictions counsellor. Try desperately to get a permanent job. We buy our first home in August and start to try for our first child. Luckily we get our BFP on the first cycle and we start the journey to parenthood. We end the year on a high note and celebrate my Dad's 50th birthday and with many dreams for 2010!