I gained fifty pounds with my pregnancy. Thirty the old fashioned way – ice cream and whatever I happened to be craving that week. My midwives said this was good. The last twenty I gained in a little less than two weeks, and it’s those twenty pounds of swelling and water weight that caused my blood pressure to skyrocket to the 160/90 range at times. My midwives said this was not good. Those last twenty pounds also gave me new stretch marks and caused them to threaten induction if I didn’t go into labor “by tomorrow.” Tomorrow was the 12th of December, so I had the little man just in time to avoid a medicated labor and delivery.
I lost thirty pounds while in the hospital during my 36 hour stay. And then the weight loss stopped there. Two months out and I am finally starting to see the weight drop off again. A combination of breastfeeding, calorie tracking and not being able to eat dairy, tomato products or citrus products in any form (thanks to breastfeeding).
I looked in the mirror last night and saw a bigger version of me; a version I have not seen in years. The last time I was around this size I was graduating from high school, back in 2007. Seeing my belly grow through pregnancy, I saw the extra weight as a positive thing. It meant the baby was growing, and I was giving him the nutrition he needed. I think that positive association with the scale is a vital part of why I can look at myself now, a lot softer than I usually am, a lot more fluffy around the middle, and be kind to myself. I think it’s the mom in me that sees who I am now, and remembers who I was six years ago and is empathetic for her.
Because I remember how this extra weight felt then. It was crushing to my self esteem and made feeling normal impossible.
Pregnancy radically changed my internal voice. It went from always telling me I wasn’t good enough, to acknowledging that I am doing the best I can. This 200, some pounds looks a lot different now than it did when I was eighteen. And this time, while I’m on the way down back to my “skinny” jeans, I won’t be hating on myself and wishing I had never gotten fat. It is what it is, and I’ve got an adorable baby to show for it while I work on getting back to my goal size.