Me @ 22 weeks.
It is absolutely amazing to me that my belly protrudes farther than my boobs.
I hardly believed such a phenomenon could exist.
To be perfectly honest (as, let's face it, I usually am) I have been afraid to post pictures of my pregnant self. I've been afraid to take pictures of my pregnant self.
I don't like to be photographed at this size. I am not now (nor will I ever be) happy to be so overweight. I prefer as few reminders as possible. And once I got pregnant and my weight started shifting, I didn't so much look "pregnant" as I did look "differently heavy." Hard to feel glowy when you just feel fat in a new way.
But! Now that I have popped such that the (trained) eye can tell I'm not (just) carrying a red-wine enabled spare tire under there, I feel a lot better about the whole thing.
And you know what? I also kind of feel vindicated.
I don't want to go off on an angry rant about how, because I'm overweight, I have been given about thirty bazillion warnings of how this pregnancy will be bad, hard, challenging, unhealthy, etc. (Note: my doctor didn't say such things, actually; my web-reading, plus-size-book-buying self found all this "research" that said those things.)
But you know? That information is real and scary. I've felt I I've had every reason to expect an uphill battle.
And yes, I've been ashamed, too.
God, I hate writing that. I hate thinking it, I hate feeling it, I hate admitting it. But taking pictures of my body is just not something I've been okay with for the last several years, period. I always hide from cameras. And now that I'm pregnant and my body isn't just my own anymore...it's suddenly perfectly okay and expected for people to want to see pictures of me?
That's a really hard transition to make. I'm working on it. I'm getting there.
My point is: I entered into this pregnancy with all kinds of body shame and body fear.
Back when I wasn't even sure I could GET pregnant because of my family's genetic history, the fancy specialist told me the number one thing I could do to help with the process would be to lose weight. I am sure there's research to back up his claim in general, I won't deny that. I will, however, point out that my specific issue is linked directly to my genetic makeup, and my incredibly fit, trim, never-had-one-extra-ounce-of-fat-on-her sister is no longer able to conceive for this reason. So telling me to go on a diet is maybe not the most useful piece of medical advice in the world.
It does plant the seed, though. The "If something goes wrong, it was probably your fault" seed.
Maybe I've been projecting. I err on the side of crazy, so it's possible. I've just...since I discovered I was pregnant, I have been convinced that something would go wrong. Because my genes aren't healthy, because my body isn't healthy, because for a million reasons, I've been weighed down by doubt and fear and a near refusal to believe this is actually happening. And it seemed that -- especially in the very beginning -- the doctors were treating me as though I should be cautious, that I shouldn't expect too much (of course they never said this, it's just how it came across to me).
But now here it is, here I am, over the half-way point.
And I'm still waiting for the YOU'RE OVERWEIGHT AND GOING TO HAVE A HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PREGNANCY (boogeda! boogeda!) things to happen. You know, the things I expected to happen, the things I -- shamefully -- assumed I deserved to have happen.
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Honestly, looking up what can happen to you if you're overweight and pregnant is like asking a hungry news reporter what they think about the state of our economy. There's instant frothing and worst-case-scenario-ing and BEVERYAFRAIDing.
Let's play a game. We'll call it, "You're overweight, so you must be having problems with _____!" And then let's fill in the blanks.
- You're overweight so you must be having problems with...high blood pressure!
Now, I do NOT mean to make light of this serious condition (preeclampsia). But what seems to be buried in this blood-pressure research is that it's usually only something to worry about if you have a pre-existing history or chronic hypertension, and even then it's likely that you will have a healthy pregnancy.
So while I am most definitely on the lookout for this to crop up as a potential threat to my pregnancy, I feel I should also point out that my blood pressure has actually gone down since I got knocked up. And, you know, stopped working. Hmm. Come to think of it, this is the lowest my blood pressure's been since I officially entered the workforce. (Wait, you don't mean to suggest that blood pressure might have to do with outside stressors and not just your weight, do you?)
- You're overweight so you must be having problems with...diabetes!
However, gestational diabetes is a slightly different story. It's right up there with high blood pressure in terms of its boogeda! boogeda! YOUWILLGETTHIS-ness.
But yet, just with high blood pressure, all the studies actually say that the best predictor of gestational diabetes is -- you guessed it -- having a family or personal history of diabetes.
I've personally known two people who had gestational diabetes, and neither of them were overweight.
As for me, my first glucose test was perfect. I have to go back for a second test in a couple weeks, though, so who knows. Maybe I'll discover that eating three packs of Sour Patch Kids a day hasn't been a good idea...
- You're overweight so you must be having problems with...weight gain and that GIANT baby you're going to have!
I find it hard to believe that any woman these days thinks that being pregnant means she can eat or drink anything she wants. But I also find it hard to believe that "thin" women are ANY LESS PRONE to indulging themselves or giving into cravings than overweight women are.
As for me, my belly is quite obviously growing well. Meanwhile, I have gained one whole pound.
So, well, yeah.
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Apparently I did need to go on an angry rant.
Of all the things I expected, having a relatively easy and healthy pregnancy was not one of them.
Oh, I have my aches and pains. I am always tired. I have bizarre skin irritations and hormonal fluctuations that make no sense. I cry at mops. I forget everything and get lost within a five-block radius of my own home. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in is becoming a greater challenge every night. I can't wear "normal" pants anymore at all. My boobs are more sore than they've ever been, and will eventually be the size of my head. I want pineapple most of the time. I miss gin.
But...I have had no morning sickness. I haven't thrown up once. My ultrasounds have been normal. Every test, including the one for the baby's Fragile-X, have come back totally fine. Her heartbeat is good and strong and she is very, very active. I am perfectly healthy.
I am finally starting to believe that maybe, just maybe, I will remain perfectly healthy and the baby will be born without any major complications. Maybe all the genetic stuff was just precautionary. Maybe being overweight really isn't an indicator of how healthy I am or what kind of pregnancy I am destined to have.
Maybe I should start taking more pictures.