self esteem

The Weight Gain

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I wanted to write a post about how I’m feeling because, after all, this was a blog about gaining and losing weight and addressing body image is important to me. Read these two recent posts about the topic of weight gain and pregnancy:

Let’s Talk About Weight

Body Changes During Pregnancy

For the last few months I’ve been handling the weight gain pretty well. It was slow in the first trimester, most of the second trimester it was steady but not extreme. Then around 26 weeks I had a big jump. Even though everything I read said this was normal around that time period, it was kind of devastating. I was shocked to see an 8 pound difference from last doctor appointment. 8 pounds in one month?!

After talking to some friends that had had babies and reading that this jump was normal, I was able to talk myself down a bit and not beat myself up about the weight gain. After all, I had been staying consistent with my fitness (working out 5 days a week) and I was still counting my calories and 85% of the time I was staying within the range my doctor suggested.

Then at 27 weeks the bump POPPED. It wasn’t a cute little bump anymore, it was a “wow there’s definitely a baby in there” bump. It’s crazy to see a drastic change in just one week. Where did that big bump come from?!?

Once I was in the third trimester and the weight was consistently climbing and the baby was getting bigger, I was struggling. A lot. I’d have good days and I’d have bad days. It was hard to see my body changing in such a major way. It was HARD not to compare those changes to the OLD body I used to have. I kept trying to remind myself that this is pregnancy, I was gaining weight for a healthy baby, not because I was obese.

Those old memories were hard to shake, though.

It was hard not to focus on the number.  It was hard not to feel like I was back at my 25 year old self when I was obese. At my highest weight I was 255 pounds or so.

What’s hard to ignore is just HOW HARD I WORKED to lose that 110 pounds. It took nearly 2 years of hard work, daily effort, diligence and focus to lose the weight. So seeing the number on the scale tick up and up felt like a failure to that success.

It’s difficult to articulate just how it feels. Because logically I know it’s ok. My doctor isn’t concerned with my rate of weight gain. Everything has come back normal, right on target, baby is healthy. I’m happy I am able to stay active and workout, even if I am modifying a lot of activities. That has definitely helped my body image, self-esteem and just general mood. Working out gives me a boost of happy feelings and that’s good. So if I can still workout, feel good and I know logically that things are normal and ok, why do I get bummed out when I see my body getting bigger??

comparison

It’s been said before many times but it’s really true. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is SO HARD not to compare yourself to other pregnant ladies. I’ll see them at the gym and it looks like they are further along then I am, yet they are all stick thin with a basketball belly. You know the type. They don’t seem to be gaining weight in other parts of their bodies…like I am…and I compare myself. Then I feel badly and then I shame myself for comparing myself and it’s a vicious cycle.

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It’s weird not having ANY control over your body changes. Something that happened when I lost 110 pounds was that I realized I was in control of my body and I COULD lose weight. Then when I spent 6+ years maintaining that weight loss, I was still in control. I could make decisions on what I ate and I made good decisions most of the time and was successful. Then all of a sudden, I was no longer in control of what happened to my body, even though I was still TRYING to be in control of it. Letting that go has been a struggle for me — I am not good at giving up control.

What sucks is the comments I get from other people. People who either think they are being charming or funny, but are not. Just don’t. Never make judgmental comments, even “joking” about a pregnant woman’s body.

I was looking through some Facebook posts recently and saw some photos of myself from last year and the year before–when I was feeling down about having gained 10 pounds or so. My first thought was, Damn, I was so much skinnier! Then I thought, why didn’t I realize it at the time? PERSPECTIVE.

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I came across this article: The Dirty Little Secret About Pregnancy Weight Gain and was a little uneasy…expecting it to be gimmicky or a waste of time but reading through it, it really spoke to me. It was more about finding perspective, and not the judge-y article I was expecting. Here is a tidbit from that article:

“According to experts, these are the main concerns:

  1. You’ll be more uncomfortable with all that extra weight to haul around.
  2. You could develop gestational diabetes.
  3. You might have high blood pressure, which can lead to scary complications.
  4. Your baby could be big, making labor more difficult and possibly leading to a C-section.
  5. You’ll have your work cut out for you to lose more weight after the baby’s born.

For me personally, I have no signs of gestational diabetes, my blood pressure is consistently low, and my baby’s growth is right on track.

Leaving only concerns number 1 and 5, which are really just about my own convenience. After talking to my midwife and reading up on the risks, I’m not concerned about my “high” pregnancy weight gain.”

It was kind of an eye-opening DUH moment for me. Perspective. I do not have gestational diabetes. My baby is not measuring extra large, my blood pressure is normal and I’m not having any other issues. On top of that, I am counting my calories per my doctor’s instructions and I’ve been exercising pretty much the same throughout. Those are all positives! So what if my body is gaining a little bit more than I was hoping? All signs are pointing to healthy–isn’t that the most important part?

I have no idea how much I weigh at this moment. Once I got to the middle of the third trimester I stopped looking at the doctor’s office. I didn’t need to know how much weight I was gaining because really…this pregnancy has shown me that it’s out of my control and feeling badly about myself isn’t going to be a positive thing at this stage in the game. Besides, I’m almost to the end. Why do I need to know right now? Maybe my focus needs to be on other things for these last few weeks.

So I’m not weighing myself, I’m still working out when I can, doing what I can, counting my calories and eating healthy, and LETTING IT GO. My mind is now focused on the baby and not the weight, even if I do have a “bad” day. I can’t wait for him to be here and I’m happy my body is doing so well as he grows.

How am I feeling now?

At 35 weeks I am finding that I care less about the weight gain. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to the doctor in a few weeks and I don’t know how much I weigh…ignorance is bliss? But I’m honestly feeling pretty good about my body right now. I feel like I’m in the homestretch and just generally feeling happy with my body these days!

If you’ve had kids, how did you feel about the weight gain?

Maternity Photos

I knew I wanted to get some maternity photos done. I waited until the last minute (I think the end of November) and then realized…oh crap, I think I need to do some research on hiring a photographer! The type-A/planner in me apparently took a vacation once I got to the end of the 2nd Trimester.

I shopped around and got some quotes and chatted with a few different local photographers and in the end wasn’t super enthusiastic about it and was honestly feeling a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly I couldn’t make any decisions about anything. In the end we asked our friend Christi, who does amazing work and took our engagement photos, and she said she’d love to do them! I don’t know why we didn’t just ask her in the first place– pregnancy brain fog is such a real thing!

The day we had scheduled for the photo shoot…Michael got up early (he’s an early riser anyways) and then woke me up to tell me it was snowing. Um…what? Totally out of left field. We hadn’t seen any snow predictions in the news so it was definitely a shock.

What’s funny is that when Christi and I originally talked and planned the photo shoot, she wanted to go up to Mount Hood and take photos in the snow. I loved the idea, but didn’t want to take advantage of her time because it would be at least an hour to drive up there, set up, etc, then take the photos then an hour drive back. I felt like that made it an all-day function and I felt bad for asking anyone to sign up for that. So it’s kind of nice that it ended up snowing in Portland!

We decided to take advantage of it and go for the photos. It was snowing and occasionally rain/sleet was mixed in during the shoot. I am really happy that we decided to go for it and get snow pictures! They turned out so great. 🙂

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I totally understand that a lot of people think maternity photo shoots are kind of silly. They are definitely the “thing” to do these days. But I’m really glad we did it. I wanted to have some pretty pictures done by a professional to remember this magical time.

For so many years when I was obese I avoided the camera and then losing weight, still I avoided having my picture taken. Once I lost the weight I was much better about having my picture taken but it was still hard sometimes and in the beginning I would end up being overly critical of every photo I saw. As I got bigger during this pregnancy I started falling into that trap again. Instead of feeling magical and “glowing” I was critical of photos and focused on the extra weight, how big my bump looks, double chins, etc.

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My hope with doing this photo shoot was to kind of boost my body image in a positive way and help me focus on the magic and the glowing instead of being critical. I think Christi took some wonderful shots and I wanted to share a few of the favorites from that day!

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I love how they turned out. Christi took great photos and our friend, her boyfriend, Stu did the photo touch ups (that’s his day job) and we got the finished product about a week ago. I had some prints made for all the future grandparents and I had some prints made to put in the nursery and baby book. 🙂