But when you're pregnant, it's supposed to be the one time you're actually allowed to gain weight and not feel bad about it. Yet, I don't know one pregnant person for whom it isn't a struggle to watch the scale go up each week at their prenatal appointments - even if they're right on track according to the charts.
A quick search on Google and Pinterest for "pregnancy weight gain," and a whole slew of articles come up on, "how to avoid excessive weight gain in pregnancy," "tips to a fit pregnancy," "the healthy pregnancy diet," and even, "how to lose weight while pregnant." ---> What the what?
I'll be honest - I'm right there with every other sane woman on the planet - I hate the weight gain. I tend to gain a lot at the beginning of the pregnancy - because I'm totally eating my hormonal feelings, duh. So much so, that I gained 20 lbs. by my 20 week appointment with not one, but both pregnancies. (For the record, most women gain 5-10 lbs. in this same time period; I like to consider myself an overachiever, thankyouverymuch.) In both pregnancies, I've been told that my "weight is creeping up there a little faster than they'd like to see," And with my first, I was even told that I "needed to diet between my 20 and 24 week appointments," - she didn't want to see me gain any weight at all, in fact, she wanted me to lose some. And my husband was in the room at the time - um, have you no decency doctor - can I a little discretion? To prove to her I had a sliver of self-control in my body, I actually didn't gain any weight between appointments (and this was the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I might add) - but I put on 10 lbs. between my next two appointments, just to show that doctor who's boss.
So here's the deal, with my first, I was all obsessed with my weight gain. I started out the pregnancy by weighing myself almost every day, popping in my current weight to the Baby Center tracker telling me if I was above or below average - always above, of course. I thought a lot about what I ate - A LOT. I'd be craving something and wouldn't give in for a long, long time, then suddenly I'd lose all self control and go all beast-mode on a pizza or something. I read the "healthy pregnancy diet" articles, wanting to give my baby all the right nutrition to develop his brain, organs and beautifully shaped fingernails, and worked really hard to choose all the right fruits and vegetables to give him the best chance he had. I remember having (a few - very few) friends who had told me pre-pregnancy, "You're not really eating for two, you get 300 extra calories a day - but that's like a yogurt, two apples and a granola bar - it's so much extra food, it's almost hard for me to find time to eat more!"
Yeah, or just down a Snickers ...
But sentences like that rang in my ears and I longed for the self-control like it sounded like some of my friends had. Yet as hard as I tried to "do good," I found myself continually losing control in front of the fridge and even on a good week, I continued to see the number on the scale creep up faster than I'd ever want it to. The day I gave in and bought new underwear a size up was probably the lowest of lows. It didn't help that I bought a boring Fruit of the Loom six pack because - as I told myself - I was NOT going to need these after baby. I didn't realize at the time that most women in fact do have to purchase new underwear, because there's no such a thing as "all belly!"
I think the deepest fear all of us women have when we're pregnant is not to just to get comments about how "large and whale-like and ready-to-pop-we-are-when-only-30-weeks-pregnant," from outsiders, but it's the fear of not knowing if we'll lose all that extra weight after baby.
And honestly, we can't know.
I happened to lose it all with my first, but even with that history, I still feel the old familiar feelings of being scared of my post-partum body and wonder at whether or not I'll lose it with baby number two. There are no guarantees that one pregnancy will be like the next. I'll always remember my mom telling me, "I lost all the weight with your brothers, Laura - it was you that stuck around." Ouch. Sorry about that mom.
But along the way of these two pregnancies, I've started to find peace with the weight gain. Don't get me wrong, I still don't like it one bit, but I've definitely changed the way I think about it and I no longer obsess over it like I used to. Being pregnant means you gain weight, it's just a fact. And it's a fact that for most women, it's also not any fun. But it can be okay. It can not be a constant source of frustration and negative feelings. So tomorrow (since this is already such a novel in and of itself) I'm going to share my tips for finding peace with pregnancy weight gain. It's nothing that will blow your mind, but they are important things to remember - things I forgot during my first pregnancy - but have been game changers in this second one.
So until then, stay off the scale, think happy thoughts, and find a bit of time to eat that extra yogurt, two bananas, an avocado and a Lara bar to help nourish baby's body. Or if you don't have time, just pound a slice of pizza with like, some veggies on it or something. I'm sure you can find room in your schedule for that.