I’m not just pregnant, I’m fat.

March 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm 3 comments

A friend was trying to be supportive the other day when she said “but you’re not fat, you’re pregnant”. In her mind, I guess, pregnancy is a free-pass (even for fatties) to eat more, exercise less, and take up space. Whatever.

The thing is, I’m not sorry that I’m eating what I want, and that sometimes a nap is a higher priority than a trip to the gym. I’m not sorry that I take up space. I’m not looking to be excused.

And sure, some things about the way pregnancy is changing my body suck a little bit.

Yeah. I’m just on the upper edge of sizing for non-plus stores. The few styles of trousers that come in my size from the maternity shops in my area aren’t the styles that fit my body type. I can choose between “too small for my butt” or “too big to stay up”. But I look damn cute in suspenders, and skirts.

Yeah, I used to be able to walk a lot further, a lot faster. I had to cancel a meeting that I really need/want to have because of snow. My ability to self-rescue is impaired right now, which changes the risk-assessment math of winter driving. And I’m parking in the parking lot on Sundays at Church, instead of down the hill, because the parking lot is for people with mobility impairment, and that hill gets bigger every month.

7 months ago, I was really happy with the way my body could move. We had our first vacation since that disastrous trip to Banff, when I couldn’t walk any distance at all without getting winded, and having to rest. Only so much of that can be blamed on altitude. A lot changed after that- some of it because of Weight Watchers (just because I wouldn’t go back, doesn’t mean I’m not, in some ways, glad I went then), some because I found a sport I really loved, and training made me feel great, some because I left the job that was making me unhappy, some because after so many years of waiting, Ruth was born. This vacation we walked all over- and I could. That felt really, really good. And now I can’t, again. That’s a hard adjustment to make. In my head, losing that strength and endurance takes me back to a time in my life that wasn’t very happy, or healthy. I made it out of that place, and I don’t want to go back there. There aren’t a lot of safe places to say, “as much as I love the idea of this new baby, and how happy I am about this pregnancy, a little corner of me resents what this child is doing to my body”. So that’s part of my reality right now- but so be it. It won’t be forever. And like last time, it will turn out that the gym is a great place to get an hour to myself, and my body will re-learn how to do the things it used to do, and more.

And sure, it’s sort of sad to be looking forward to spring, and knowing my bike won’t see much use until late summer, if that. My list of things more cute than my daughter in her bike helmet, asleep in the buggy: … I got nuthin’. (Mental note: look into tricycle for Ruth, just because I’m not riding this spring doesn’t mean she shouldn’t.)

On the other hand- pregnancy is a brilliant time to be learning about intuitive eating, because our culture can totally deal with the ‘cravings’ of a pregnant woman. It’s a great time to be paying attention to HAES, because nobody expects me to be focusing on weight loss. It’s a great time to be in awe of what my body can do. Sure, I can’t do 5k in anything close to my record time, but I can build an entire human being out of two half-cells, and that ain’t half bad.

I take up space. It’s hard to find clothes that fit the unique curves of my amazing body. I would rather look forward to some healthy living ahead of me, than back to a less-good time in my life. Sometimes I just HAVE to have a cookie, and sometimes I just HAVE to have a spinach salad. I wish I could do more, physically, than I can, and I know that eventually, I will. And all these things will all be true a year from now, too.

So Lisa Presley can kiss my ass. (Which balances out my belly pretty perfectly, thank you very much.)
I’m pregnant.
AND I’m fat, and I’m not looking to be excused.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Bonus Prize Body by God: In the Beginning

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  March 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    That feeling of resentment was common for me, and I think for a lot of pregnant women. By the time the last month rolls around you’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to walk without waddling, what your feet look like and how wearing ‘normal’ clothes felt. My husband used to tell me all the time when I was pregnant “You’re not fat; you’re pregnant.” before we found the FA movement and HAES. It was a big comfort to me but now I don’t think it would be so much.

  • 2. Miriam Heddy  |  March 8, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    You remind me of how much I hate those t-shirts that announce, “I’m not fat. I’m pregnant.” As if it’s impossible to be both!

    Of course, it’s only relatively recently that you can find maternity clothing in larger sizes.

    Sadly, I think that pregnancy is no longer the safe space for women that it once was, as focus on celebrity pregnancies has meant a new “ideal” of pregnancy–the gym-hard-body with skinny arms and legs and an outsized middle (but no ass, of course). And article after article now is about how to quickly lose your baby weight. Even in the press, you’ll find articles cautioning against gaining weight in pregnancy, with calculators to determine how much is acceptable.

    I think we’re going to see more and more women dieting while pregnant, and lower birth weights, and all the while, doctors will be wondering why that is.

  • 3. Karen  |  March 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Sadly, fat people aren’t the only ones who get that “You’re not fat, your pregnant,” business. It seems to me, that the tones I get it in (I’m working on my 3rd now) are anxious and implying, “That means its okay for you to eat more now.” Because, since I’m so small (thus needing less than your average 6 footer) and thin (thus, obviously on a diet, especially after two pregnancies) I must be hungry, and that’s not good for baby, and I can always work it off later.

    I strongly recommend intuitive eating if you can still recognize those signals (I know some have a problem with that after years of restricting). I got to see my body pretty much take care of everything on its own twice already. Really, it will tell you what it needs. It will gain weight when and how it needs it. I was the kind who couldn’t gain a pound to save my life, yet I gained 1/3 my body weight (30 lbs) with my kids, and it came right back off. Not saying it works like that for everyone, but between intuitive eating and breastfeeding, by body did pretty damn well. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted it, and didn’t overeat. I exercised as was comfortable, and I felt better. I spent that post-baby two weeks barely getting off my backside, and still lost weight. I even ate after the boys came so that the milk I produced was filling and healthy for them, rather than restricting so that I’d lose weight faster. I know it isn’t the same for everyone, but, I think, your body mostly knows what it needs, and it will tell you if you listen.

    I know this was kinda rambly, but its really the first time I”ve been able to articulate “how I did it” without being afraid someone was going to come back with either “okay that sounds good, but how did you REALLY lose the weight, and how much did you REALLY eat?” or “I guess you’re just lucky, but I still have to watch everything so TEH FATZ doesn’t get me and swallow me whole.”

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