Let’s talk about how pregnancy really has changed my body. The real down and dirty.
First off – I am someone who has to be mindful of my eating and workout habits regardless of whether or not I’m pregnant (and for the most part, I usually enjoy my healthy-ish lifestyle) – if I so much as look at a slice of bread the wrong way, I gain five pounds. I am by no means saying I am overweight or unhappy with my body, but my point is I have to be disciplined in creating healthy habits for myself and making healthy decisions each day if I want to look and feel my best.
The background: Prior to getting pregnant, I worked out 4-6 days a week and had a reasonably healthy diet. I love vegetables, but let’s be real – I also fuck with a fro-yo covered in toppings on a Saturday night. A few months before getting pregnant, I went super low carb with my husband which was really amazing for both of us – his migraines became more manageable, and I just generally felt better even if my weight didn’t change drastically.
When I found out I was pregnant, I told myself I’d stick to those habits – I do truly think that eating a diet that is rich in healthy fats, protein and fiber is what works best for me and my body – but that quickly went to shit. I immediately found myself puffy and gaining weight, regardless of my diet, and my cravings were (shockingly) not for wholesome veggies and avocados, but for comforting carbs especially during my first trimester. I slowly gave in and started incorporating foods that I’d usually shy away from… until they’ve ended up being a major part of my diet. It’s not great. But this girl needs her dumplings.
So, let’s talk about the weight gain. I’m up 15 pounds in five months of pregnancy (and let’s just say that prior to, I was definitely not at my happiest weight) and it’s really fucked with me. Even in college, when I was definitely my heaviest, I never felt heavy or “fat.” Sure, I knew I could have stood to lose some weight, but to be honest, I really thought I was hot AF overall (shoutout to my parents for the confidence).
With this sort of gain, you feel it all over: My back will bother me here and there, and let’s face it – having my bracelets that usually slide around freely on my wrist not move unless I force them to? Not fun.
Another fun example: One of the stairs that leads to our basement have always been unstable, and as I walked down them the other day, the board shifted (aka dipped even further) from my weight. This is hilarious to me but ya know, also f’ing crazy. I have been upping my gym game recently, but even something as simple as squats, which used to be a breeze, feel different with the extra weight.
To put it in perspective, at my 20-week appointment my doctor oh-so-politely recommended I veer away from the carbs because “many women have only gained five pounds at this point.” Ouch.
I don’t feel like my eating is out of control, honestly – more just indulgent. Like if I’m craving Popcorners, I eat Popcorners. If I’m in the mood for yogurt with berries, I eat yogurt with berries. You see where I’m going here?
The other thing is, that while I’ve been gaining all of this weight, I get chastised anytime I refer to myself as “fat,” just because I’m pregnant. Everyone seems to take major umbrage when I say the “F” word – but guys, I FEEL FAT! Sorry if that word isn’t PC in 2020, but many days, I do feel heavy, bloated and FAT. And to me, that’s totally OK. It doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the pregnancy – it just means I feel heavier some days because *news flash* I am! Truthfully, day-to-day, I feel like myself in most ways, just larger.
Also, the weight has hit in places I didn’t expect: My butt and thighs are growing, but not in a Kardashian type of way. Somehow, even as my butt gets bigger, it’s somehow getting flatter? Pregnancy is fun.
And don’t even get me started on the arms – oy.
But even as my body changes, I’m not mad per se – it’s just different and not always fun to look at myself right now. And hello, sometimes it is fun and I feel like the hottest human alive, growing a child or not.
I mean – this whole thing is not all magic and marshmallows, so why do we have to pretend that it is?! So I’m here to tell you that if you feel like a goddess some days and the Michelin Man others, that’s totally fine and in my opinion, you shouldn’t have to pretend otherwise. Your body is changing, and it’s fucking amazing but also, sometimes you look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself. And that is OK! You can still be appreciative of this insanely amazing thing your body is capable of without looking at yourself and wanting to strut around in a bikini.
One thing I will say is that I wish I had appreciated my pre-pregnancy body more. We all have days, pregnant or not, where we look at our bodies and feel so proud of how we look and what we’re physically capable of, and others when we tear through our closets with “nothing to wear” because “nothing looks good.” When I see pictures of myself a few months ago, when I felt heavier than I would’ve liked to, I want to slap my former self. I should’ve been more appreciative of that body and not so hard on myself.
Did you feel like this while you were pregnant? Am I the only one who’s calling myself the “F” word and being chastised? I want to hear it all in the comments.