I’m officially in my third trimester. The little cursor is flashing at me, taunting me with what to say to follow up a sentence like that because really, I don’t know. It’s CRAZY. That’s really all I can say about that.
I haven’t really written about the pregnancy yet for a number of reasons, one of them being not to scare off any non-expecting readers. I know I’ve seen and followed plenty of gals who have morphed into completely unrecognizable women. But, there are those who still seem to strike a balance and I’m happy to read about and see how their life changes. I hope I’m in the latter bunch. I mean, life is changing, right? Ready or not, he’s coming! And things are definitely on the mind.
Today, it’s the “F” word. F as in fat.
I have to say that out of all of the expectations I had about being pregnant, none of that really prepared me for how much weight would be discussed. The obsession is Out. Of. Control. And downright maddening. Almost every day, some baby newsletter with a headline like “Are you on track with your weight gain?” or “How much weight gain is too much?” will hit my inbox. If you sign on to any online pregnancy community, you’ll see several threads Every Day centered around “OMG I’m gaining too much weight!” “My doctor says I’m 2 pounds over”. Or (even worse) “Yay, I’ve only gained a few pounds!”
What. The. Hell.
Yes, it’s unhealthy to gain too much or too little weight while pregnant. But since when did the number on the scale become such a widespread obsession? You are growing a human being, you are going to gain weight! And it drives me mad when I see posts of girls excited and thrilled that they’ve only gained a few pounds, like it’s an achievement. Unless you are severely overweight and your doctor has asked you not to gain weight, it’s not an achievement to be praised. Growing a human being inside of you in a healthy way is the achievement. And it’s beautiful. And special. A few less pounds here or there don’t make you a better person, or a better mother than the next gal.
Maybe it’s vanity.
Hell, I’m as vain as they come. I miss having a flatter stomach. Sometimes, I look down and don’t recognize myself. But then, I’ll feel that alien-like nudge from inside, actual life in there, and I remember why I’m not “thin” at the moment. Something a tad more important than the numbers on the scale is happening. And that’s ok. It’s not permanent. Someday, I’ll have my body all to myself again.
Then there’s the Google demon.
You can google “28 weeks pregnant” and start comparing photos of bumps bigger or smaller than yours and what your “average” weight gain should be at by now. There are charts online where you can plug in your due date, pre-pregnancy weight and current weight and a scary little alert will pop up either scolding you for being too big and telling you you’re in danger of being above average or praise you for being right on track. It’s enough to drive anyone mad! I know it drove me mad on occasion and on the brink of unnecessary obsession.
For one, I don’t know anyone who gains weight on such a precise basis. You are not permanently derailed if you gain too much too soon. Maybe you’ll gain less in the end, maybe the baby was having a growth spurt. We’re people, not charts. Weight gain just doesn’t work that way.
I, for one, do not gain exactly “1 pound per week”. I also don’t eat like a pig or starve myself. Sometimes, I make good food decisions. Sometimes I make questionable, “indulgent” decisions. But hey, that’s real life isn’t it? You just do the best you can and hope to survive. Unless you think pregnancy is a free-for-all-buffet and start stuffing your face like a madwoman, just let it go.
The problem is, it’s not just the media bombarding women with stories about weight gain tracking and the urgency to “bounce back” within minutes. It’s not just the doctors who constantly ask (thank God mine doesn’t!). It’s other women. It’s us!
“How much weight have you gained?”
“Are you bigger or smaller than average?”
I’ve been asked these questions. A lot! And yes, it’s usually from non-pregnant people, most often strangers. Since when is this an appropriate question to ask a person about their weight? Can I please respond with, “What’s your bra size?”
It’s not a competition. It’s not the right thing to obsess about. And between the panic of what-the-hell-is-happening-to-my-body and everything else on the mind, it’s just another stress on the list that should not be there. Relax, be happy, be healthy and just be. That’s what your baby really needs.