Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm Not Pregnant, Just Fat

On the subject of getting rid of negative energy ... this is by far the most challenging.  As I think about pregnancy and all the joys that come along with it, there are also fears that I have wrapped up in what pregnancy entails.  I'm not afraid of being a bad mother or perpetuating the abuse that I suffered as a child, no, what I'm afraid of is far more selfish: my body.  Now this fear does not arise out of vanity as it does with some women, nor does it arise from a fear of complications as it does with others.  My body and I have had a love/hate relationship for as long as I can remember and though it is something that I actively work to reconcile, I am still far from achieving this.

My fear is simply this: I will look fat, not pregnant.  I know, logically, this really shouldn't matter because of the struggle it's been to achieve pregnancy, because of the miraculous job my body will be doing of aiding a child to grow and flourish inside of me, because quite frankly it's silly and ridiculous to worry about something so trivial when you're pregnant.  BUT.  That is my fear and I'm allowed to have it.  Thing is, I want to also let it go and no longer be held by it.  Therein lies the problem.*  

My book, The Mind-Body Fertility Connection, relates such inward fears to struggles with fertility.  I'm not so sure it's that simple.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not my fear of looking fat rather than pregnant that is keeping me from actually becoming pregnant.  However, I do appreciate it for raising the possibility because it at least has given me the perch from which I can start to examine any fears and/or insecurities I do have.  Is this fear of mine causing subconscious and undo stress in my body?  I cannot say for sure.  Thus isn't it better to address this issue head-on, just in case?!  It definitely cannot hurt.

Today I had Momma B take a full body picture of me.  I post it with a heart of trepidation, but it's a starting point.  It is a rare occasion that I allow such photos to be entirely because I am ashamed of my body.  Even though I am still 15 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight, I cannot keep the thought out of my head that I am still 100 pounds away from when I looked and felt my best.
Thing is, in my head I still look almost the same as I did back then.  Seeing photos of myself  in the present is always a shock to me.  I inspect it and scrutinize it and shake my head in disbelief - that cannot possibly be a true representation of what I look like, can it?!  It is.

So this is my attempt to begin another type of healing and look to myself for even more forgiveness.  My body has been amazing even while I have treated it unkindly.  It has survived and sometimes even thrived through depression, working full-time while going to school full-time, many moves, rowing and kayaking lessons, 5K walks, too many glasses of wine, and too many more trips, stumbles, and bumps.  It takes me through my days and always knows what it needs to prevail even if I try to refuse or abuse it.  It is itself a miracle.  I would do well to remember that.  

So I may not have a cute little basketball baby bump?  So what.  I may have a harder time finding cute clothes to wear.  I may have less people sure if I am pregnant or just fat.  I may have to look harder to find an OB or midwife that isn't going to lecture me on my weight or scrutinize what I eat or expect that I will develop gestational diabetes or hypertension because of my weight.  BUT perhaps, for once, I'll get to stop worrying about being fat and instead just enjoy what my body can achieve.  Perhaps I'll not have to endure strangers hands constantly trying to touch my belly, or receive unwanted advice, or listen to comments about "popping".  Perhaps, for once, my belly will be a thing of wonder and not a thing of resentment.  Perhaps.  

I won't know until it happens, but for now I can begin to visualize myself seven, eight, nine months pregnant and actually start to smile because I'm no longer focusing on the trivial things that don't matter but rather the one little thing that does.  
*Perhaps if you're not a plus-sized woman you may not be able to truly relate.  That's okay.  We all have our own fears and issues surrounding our bodies and our bodies in pregnancy.  But if you are, I would truly appreciate anything you would have to share with me related to this - whether you struggled or embraced it.  I would enjoy hearing it all.  


  1. Definitely a healthy place to start! I was lucky enough to get pregnant twice via IVF and can say that being pregnant does wonders for appreciation of body. My body cared for and grew those little creatures. It was amazing! I'm still plus-sized and will likely always be. It doesn't matter nearly as much now. The boys are a daily reminder of what my body did - and still allows me to do, running, playing, carrying... Hopefully your chance to find out first-hand will come soon!

  2. Oh sweets, what an honest and well written post. I'm so sorry you are having so many hard emotions about body/body image. Even though we aren't even trying yet, I have often thought the same thing to will I look pregnant? What will happen to my body, the body that I struggle with today? I am trying now to combat it and get myself to a healthier version of me - not so much by focusing on a number on the scale, but by changing my lifestyle to become healthier, overall. Whatever you end up doing, however you approach this next phase of life, I wish you much success and improved self image :)

    PS I think your full body shot looks great. You are beautiful!

  3. Firstly, I want to say that I think you look great. I wish I had your legs! And as a plus sized and petite woman, I totally relate to your post. If IVF does work, how will people know I'm pregnant? And then, will I be able to lose the pregnancy weight on top of 50lbs I piled on in the past 4 years?

    Take care and try not to be so hard on yourself.

  4. thanks for this beautiful, honest post. i struggle with the same feelings when i look at a picture of myself, in my head im still a 100 lb, skinny teenager!

    as for pregnancy, that was one time when i loved my body, especially once the bump was visible. the aftermath has been a little harder, i still carry an extra 10-15lbs i cant seem to shake. everything is just distributed differently now and it's been a hard adjustment. i do try, really hard, to focus on the kid i birthed, not the extra jiggles ;)

  5. I don't have much to add here, other than you are beauitful, even if you don't always see it. We are both plus sized too, and it's a hard world out there.

  6. you who are who you are big little tall short. not like we can place an order before we are born .love ya just the way you are.

  7. I am a size 16 woman who is currently 4 months preggie. I still don’t look pregnant, just like I am gaining weight in my midsection:) I have found really cute stuff to wear, so I don’t think that will be a problem. I understand looking at your “glory days” as I ran the mile and 2 mile event in high school and was over 100 lbs. lighter then. I thought I would have a big issue over weight with being preggie (the birthing center I was going to give birth in only wanted me to gain 5-10lbs. which is why I am not going there any more). Honestly, it has not been a huge issue. I think part of that is due to my wife and friends support and their excitment to touch my belly even though I am barely showing. I eat all the time, because you have to or hormones get pukey, and have only gained 2 lbs. so far. Everyone is different and you have to do what it right for you. I do think it is important that you love your growing body when you are preggie (not just the stomach changes and grows, everything does!) and I think your wife and other people that support you will help keep it in perspective for you. I currently am complaining that I don’t look that pregnant and everyone just tells me, “oh just wait”:)

  8. I've been lucky enough to know not 2 but 3 really close friends who were plus sized and beautifully (and obviously) pregnant. I had another friend who was thin when she got pregnant and due to her height and the way she carried her baby didn't really look pregnant until her 6th month of pregnancy, and late into that month too. You never can tell, but I have a feeling that you will tackle those body issues with the same determination and courage as everything else you have faced in your life. Which is to say meet the fear head on and rise above.

    There are a lot of resources out there for the plus sized pregnancy, it might make you feel better to google it and see what clothing and services are available. I haven't tried it, but I am sure that you will find tht there are midwives and doctors out there that specialize or come highly recommended for their work with women who don't fit "inside the box" so to speak. The great thing about who you are and what you do, is that you will be brave enough, and knowlegeable enough about the whole process to demand (and get) the care that you need.

    And I second what everyone else says here, you are going to be a beautiful mom, pregnant and radiantly and round with baby. And I suspect that you will be so excited about the upcomng labor, that your belly will be the last thing on your mind!

  9. Thank you all so much. Honestly, reading each of your comments made me feel a little less silly for having these thoughts (as I'm obviously not alone), but also a little more reassured that the happiness of pregnancy does indeed outweigh ;) the worries about my body. As women, I know we all have universal, yet individual relationships with our bodies and sharing is the only way to keep it real, so to speak.


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