Some women gain a shit-load of weight when pregnant. Others get
to look like skinny bitches with basketballs in their shirts until they
give birth, and are back to their pre-pregnancy weight within a week.
I was one of the bigger than others. I gained a good 65 lbs and I’m convinced that 43 of them were in my nose. But seriously, it wasn’t my fault. Sure, I ate an entire mud pie in one sitting (once or twice) and craved baked potatoes like nobody’s bid’nis but I also had a pretty bleh case of Preeclampsia which is what caused the sudden SUUUUURGE in weight gain, swelling, elevated blood pressure and all around yuckiness.
“Wow! What have you been eating, Ms. Woolf? You gained 40 pounds in two weeks!”
I watched the scale thingy move just past the 200 mark. I swallowed hard. My head spun. I felt out of control. Like a prisoner in my own body.
“Oh dear God. No. NoooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” It was like in those movie scenes when the camera focuses on someone’s mouth and then two seconds later the camera is hovering over planet earth and we can still hear the scream.
I have always struggled with weighty issues. Fluctuating weight and constant paranoia. Growing up in southern California surrounded by beautiful women. Size 0s, 2s and 4s and then there was me. I always felt like the fat one, rocking a size 8. A 29-waist jean. I never shared clothes with any of my friends. My legs were too long. My waist was too short. My boobs were too big. My arms have always been flabby.
When my mom was pregnant with me, she gained 16 lbs.
“When I was pregnant with you, I gained 16 pounds.”
“I know, mom. I KNOW. OKAY? You told me like 67 times, already.”
Meanwhile I was growing out of control. In two weeks I had outgrown my super-chic and oh-so-feminine NOM shower dress and had to settle for sweat pants under a giant tent. My cousins had to practically wheel me in to the dining area of my baby shower, where I sat with my feet up and face under the window for fresh freezing air.
My friends and family were nice.
“You’re glowing!” It isn’t glow, it’s sweat
“You look beautiful!” I can see your fingers crossed behind your back but nice try. (To get an idea: here are the only remaining photos of me the day after Archer was born.)
The craziest thing, though, is that somehow carrying a baby for nine-months and swelling up like the Marshmallow Man did wonders for my body-image. I don’t really care anymore. Not like I did. I wear tank tops without being self-conscious of my upper-arm problem area(s) and I wear less makeup. I don’t bother trying to hide my finger-toes or suck in for photos. I never bother with the hair straightener. I cut my own bangs, pluck my eyebrows if and when I remember to, walk around the house naked without worrying about bad lighting and cellulite.
Some might call this, laziness– letting myself go but I disagree. I think of it as letting go… of the self-loathing and body-hate. And embracing the fact that any body that is capable of creating such a miraculous wonder-dude is a beautiful one.