Hi. So, um, can we talk about something totally vapid and trivial for a bit? Yeah, I know I specialise in the vapid and trivial, but still. I’ve got an extra dose for you today.
Pregnancy weight gain is an asshole.
As of my last check-up at 24 weeks, which was almost a month ago, I’ve gained 10 (okay maybe 12?) KG. Which is basically about as much as you’re supposed to gain for you’re entire pregnancy.
So, HORRAY! Advanced pregnancy weight gain achievement unlocked! I guess?
Weight gain got a lot of play in my previous pregnancy. In Japan, pregs are closely monitored and poundage kept in check. A good preg gains only 8 KG. Suffice to say, I was not a good preg.
At each and every prenatal appointment my caregivers would make a big production of determining the exact extent to which I was expanding. As the weeks wore on, disapproving remarks evolved into stern talking-tos as the scales clicked ever upwards.
Admonishments notwithstanding, I did pack on the pounds. I started pre-pregnancy at about 56 KG. I ended up weighing something like 78 or maybe 80 KG by the time I delivered. That’s about a 50 pound weight gain, you guys.
This despite walking EVERYWHERE, and maintaining a pretty healthy diet of whole gains, vegetable matter, and the occasional home-baked treat.
I hung on to my post-baby weight for a few months, but as my postpartum period progressed, the pounds started dropping. By month eight I was nursing a hungry kid who wouldn’t eat solid food, and no matter how much bacon I shoved into my mouth, I couldn’t keep weight on. I dropped below my baseline weight, and stayed there, basically until Stella was eating like a real human.
I tell myself that I’m a juicy preg, that I need to gain a little extra weight. It’s just the way my body works. That it’ll come off easily this time just as it did last.
Still. For a lot of complicated reasons, this whole weight gain thing is kind of hurting my fee-fees.
It’s not so much the size that I am now which bothers me. I mean, I’m a fine size. But it’s the transition from being smaller to bigger that bothers me. And I’ve given a lot of thought as to why.
There’s the pragmatic problems that come with figuring out how to dress a body that is bigger than normal. And the fact that fatter calves make it harder to sit in lotus position. We all know the the medical costs of weight gain (omg gestational diabetes? Are you lurking in there somewhere?) These things all contribute to my less than gleeful realisation that I’m getting heavier and heavier.
There’s deeper stuff going on, too. Certainly there’s standard story of weight, media, body image, and self-wroth is weighting (hah!) on my mind. Despite knowing better, I do think that images of skeletal models selling me luxury handbags do creep their way into my consciousness.
But this stuff is pretty standard issue. What’s really bothering me is that weight gain is also tied up in a complicated web of social status and morality.
In the West being skinny means that you have extra resources to devote to your body. You have disposable income to invest in yoga memberships and 400 dollar juicers. If you’re skinny, you have the time and the smarts to investigate the many and sundry benefits of kale and chia seeds. You’re clever enough and enough to have a pantry stocked with the latest super foods and a brain stuffed full of the most recent thinking on optimal nutrition. You probably shop at Whole Foods, and care about the detrimental environmental effects of industrial pig farming. In the same way that your Pia Wallen blanket draped over your Eames chair announces your exceptionally good taste, your skinny body sends a message about exactly the kind of upwardly mobile, socially engaged smarty pants you are.
I admit that I buy into this nonsense. Being bigger than normal conflicts with my self image as a nutritional high achiever. I judge myself for getting so much bigger so quickly and worry that others cast a disapproving eye in my (gigantic) direction.
And then there’s morality. And this is the one that really kicks me in the pants.
According to conventional wisdom, weight gain is ALWAYS a calories in - calories out equation. If you’re waistline is suddenly ballooning, it’s definitely because of sloth and gluttony with maybe a hint of greed and lust thrown in? If you’re gaining weight, it’s because you don’t have the self-control to stop shoving peanut butter cups into your face hole. And also, PS, you’re a listless and lazy layabout and maybe you should turn off that TV and go for a walk.
Its this underlying stream of thought that has me feeling the need to shout to everyone “Hey! I’m just a juicy pregnant lady! I gain a lot of weight when I’m pregnant! It’s just what I do! But don’t worry! I’m eating all the fruits and veggies! I’ve eaten maybe three burgers and fires in the past six months. My grocery cart is stuffed with whole grains and there are no store-bought snack foods in my pantry at all! Promise!
So. That’s why I’m feeling so sub-awesome about getting bigger.
Now is the time when I conclude with a hopeful and thoughtful message. But sorry guys, I don’t really have one. I know, intellectually, that weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy. I realise that while I could do better in the nutritional department, I’m already doing pretty well. I trust that post-baby, my body will snap back to normal after a leisurely recovery period. But I still feel like a gigantic glutinous rhinoceros and I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.