During my first pregnancy, I gained over 50 pounds. It was a lot, sure, but somehow I found a way to accept it and not let the overwhelm of knowing I’d have to eventually lose it keep me from enjoying that sweet baby in my belly. I was sort of blissfully big, a happy memory now. And when I did lose that pregnancy weight, I felt a certain self-assuredness that I wouldn’t find myself in the same spot again. I thought, oh I won’t gain that much again—a been there, done that type of overconfidence. But guess what? Surprise, surprise, this time around I think I’m probably heading for a similar number.
I’ll be honest, it’s scaring me. But I have to find a way to be OK with that, a way to be OK with the gain and with the shame-filled emotions that come along with it.
For someone who has viewed eating in terms of weight loss and gain for virtually her whole life, it’s incredibly hard to stop thinking in those terms—even when I know it’s destructive, even when I know it’s wrong. Even during good times, when I’m able to eat intuitively and healthily and maintain a comfortable weight, that old mindset is always present somewhere in my mind. And now, being pregnant, rationally I know that my focus should be on nutrition and not on weight, but regretfully, for someone like me, it’s impossible to completely decouple those thoughts.
At the beginning of my pregnancy when I noticed I was gaining quickly, I told myself I was going to be completely accepting, focus on nutrition, listen to my body, find peace in the change…while also trying not to backslide into binge behaviors that I know aren’t good for me or my baby.
So far, my success has been mixed. I’ve been eating healthy, nutritious food, but I do occasionally find myself slipping back into unhealthy behaviors. Last night we had pan-seared salmon, roasted broccoli, and baked potatoes for dinner. I baked extra potatoes to keep in the fridge for another day but once I was done with my meal, I had a second potato with butter and sour cream, and then a third, and then there was just one small one left and I ate that too. I felt ashamed and defeated. Who eats 4 baked potatoes in one sitting?
Well it turns out, I do. Not at every meal, but with pregnancy hormones surging and cravings through the roof, I have to accept that sometimes I’m going to do that. It doesn’t make any sense for me to spend the rest of the day depressed and ashamed about it.
Pregnancy is difficult enough; let me try to not make it any more difficult than it is. Somehow, someway, let me learn to release myself from the burden of worrying about my weight and my appearance and the obsession with whether or not I’m still a worthy, lovable person if I happen to gain and lose between 30 and 50 pounds every year (the truth is a tough pill to swallow). Who am I when I’m not obsessed with my body? I’m not going to be the cute pregnant lady with a perfect bump. I’m going to be round all over, with rolls on my back, an eeeven rounder face, and cellulite all through my thighs. As long as everything else is perfectly healthy, which thankfully it was and is, I need to make peace.