Feeling fat; Feeling bad.

I spent last night at an after-hours Doctor’s surgery, attached to a drip.

Thanks to a combination of a migraine, morning sickness and some kind of gastro-bug I hadn’t eaten for a couple of days and had become close friends with the Great Porcelain God. Not good at the best of times, but a real problem when you’re a third of the way through a twin pregnancy. By the time midnight came about I’d had enough and was willing to give them the arm and leg they asked for, just for someone to take it all away. They didn’t do much other than weigh me (not sure what for) and put me on a drip to replace fluids. But it was the weighing that was the worst; I came in at about 11 kilos over my ‘usual’ fluctuating weight.

Now, I knew just by how my clothes (no longer) fit that I’d put on a bit at the beginning of this pregnancy (the opposite to what happened last time, and what I understand is more ‘usual’ for plus size preggos, where they lose in the first trimester). In fact, it was this early unexplained weight gain that made me suspect twins again. And perhaps I reacted badly because I was dehydrated and feeling awful but… man, those numbers depressed me badly.

Suddenly I’m scared. it’s not about being ‘thin and pretty’ anymore; now I’m worrying about how I will carry this pregnancy, what it will do to my body and whether I will recover at all later. I began to face what some people I know keep telling me; that once this is over, and the babies born, I *need* to lose weight.

And for the first time in a while I could feel myself agreeing.

I know, I know, it goes against everything FA stands for. And right now I’m still feeling confused. Part of me says I should be able to healthy no matter how big I get. Another part reminds me how little energy I have, how much knees  and back hurt, and asks how carrying ‘extra’ weight cannot affect that? One part says ‘diets don’t work’ and the other says ‘even losing 20 kilos will help; you won’t be thin but you will feel better’. And I think, if I can put on this much weight will not eating an awful lot, think of how bigger I’m going to get over the next few years…

I worry. I hate feeling ill; I hate feeling bad. I’m sick and tired of not being able to find clothes (especially maternity: NZ suppliers top out at [NZ] size 20 and overseas ones have shipping costs that double the original cost of the garment).

On the other hand, though, I’m not about to go crazy, like an infomercial I saw while in the waiting room last night. It was for some kind of dance/exercise video. I quite liked it, until they got to the testimonial part; where people who were originally a (US) size *10* had now become a size 4 or 6. Why bother??? Was all I could think.

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9 Responses

  1. A couple of things:

    1. Just because you have gained in the early stages of pregnancy (and it sounds like this is not your first?) does not mean that you’re going to keep gaining a lot throughout. I was crushed when I gained 12 pounds in between visits at the end of my first trimester, especially because I hadn’t really been eating very much. Turns out that in my second pregnancy, my body was basically just gaining the amount of weight necessary for the whole pregnancy all at once. I only gained another three pounds in the next six months and actually lost two toward the end. (Of course, thanks to the wonders of PCOS, the 20 I lost after giving birth came back with a vengeance once the protective powers of pregnancy and exclusive nursing went away, but that’s a whole other story.)

    2. I totally get the lure of diets because everything we see all the time makes it seem like that will make everything better. What we know from experience is that diets only make most of us fatter. So instead of getting on that roller coaster, how about committing to an activity that you love, or trying to eat more veg or something else that will make you feel better (probably) but is not a diet. Sometimes just taking better care of yourself is enough to make you feel better about how you look.

    3. Good luck!!!

  2. That really sucks 😦

    First, they probably weighed you in order to get a rough guesstimate of how much IV fluid you needed in order to rehydrate you.

    Second, bodies do weird things that we often don’t understand even as we’re living in them. But, a lot of time, it turns out that it does those things, in the end, as a way of protecting us. So it’s quite possible, and more than likely, that your weight gain has a purpose behind it — one that maybe you won’t understand until after the pregnancy is completed.

    Right now, I know it’s hard not to think about it, but there is truly no point in borrowing trouble, wondering what is going to happen to your body once the pregnancy is over. You will cross that bridge when you come to it.

    What is most important right now, is taking care of yourself and your babies. Your body, no matter how much it weighs, deserves TLC, especially at a time like this. It is doing a lot of hard work for you, and for the little ones. It deserves a break.

    Your mind also deserves a break — having worries about your weight, and maybe wanting to be thinner, is totally normal and understandable given the world we live in. There is no need to beat yourself up, on top of the badness you’re already feeling, for “going against everything FA stands for.”

    FA is not easy, because you’re swimming upstream all the friggin time. Everyone needs a rest from that at some point, and especially someone who is under as much strain as you are.

    If you can’t make it to acceptance right now, then maybe you can simply call a truce. It is possible to temporarily set aside concerns about your weight, and make the conscious decision to focus on your health and on getting through your pregnancy in the best way you can.

    You can revisit the weight issue later, when you’re no longer pregnant, I promise. It will still be there for you. But right now, you’ve got enough on your plate without worrying about weight loss.

    Having clothes that fit is worth the extra shipping costs — I know how that goes, because I’m in Canada and I often have to order from the US and get charged insane duties and taxes + international shipping, even though I’m geographically right next door. But right now, the stress over not having those clothes is *not good for you.* Better to spend some money, put it on a credit card or whatever, and get what you need to be comfortable.

    Sorry for barging in all uninvited like this and just dumping on the unsolicited advice, but you can disregard everything I just typed if you want, and just hear this part: you deserve to take care of yourself, and I hope you will.

    • Thanks for the advice – all of it 🙂

      I did wonder if the weighing was related to the rehydration – makes sense, as they’d need to weigh me to administer medication, for much the same reason. And the Doc I saw, while he mentioned my weight (and possible complications) in passing, didn’t dwell on it, so I don’t think he had any axe to grind.

      The first thing I’m going to do, when I can face solid food again, is buy myself a bunch of the biggest, juiciest nectarines. They’re just coming into season here and man, do I love myself some summer stone fruit! I’m going to get a good book, sit down in the shade, and eat them.

      • Oh, that sounds like a great plan! I’m Australian (hello, my fellow antipodean!) and I’m so excited to be heading into summer. I eat so much fruit during the hotter months: stone fruit, watermelon, mangoes, lychees…… ohhhhh I can’t wait.

  3. Read this: http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/health-at-every-size-choice-or-coercion

    The best paragraph from that post is: “Health at every size … does not mean that one individual can be healthy at every size. Cause you can’t. You’ve got a basic range, and the range may shift a bit during different stages of life, but you cannot run up and down the huge spectrum of possible body weights, like a pianist running his hands over the keys from lowest to highest, and expect to be perfectly healthy at each step. ”

    Even if you do decide to lose some weight, now is not the time to be worrying about that. Take care of your health and look forward to your babies.

    And I think, if I can put on this much weight will not eating an awful lot, think of how bigger I’m going to get over the next few years…

    That’s anxiety talking and it doesn’t make any sense. You’ve put on weight while pregnant with twins. Pregnancy does all kinds of crazy physical things to and isn’t a good guide of what will happen to your body over the coming years. It’s not possible to grow and grow ad infinitum without considerable effort on your part.

    Take a deep breath and think about this all again once you’re hydrated, fed and healthy – which is the mindset you need to be in to think about this logically.

    • ” It’s not possible to grow and grow ad infinitum without considerable effort on your part.”

      I have to keep remembering that. I don’t eat anywhere near as badly as I did as a teen/young adult, and as a consequence most of my (dramatic) weight gain was back then.

  4. First off, I offer you this:

    I think it’s worth looking at, just to revise all those so-called “common sense” ideas about carrying weight and back/knee pain. I’ve heard that same fear-connection made between people who are just barely in the overweight category just as often as I have by people who are considerably fatter, and it never ceases to amaze me considering that so much of our ability to “carry” weight depends on muscle, not the weight itself.

    Outside of a few medical professionals and weightlifters, you rarely (if ever) hear people (especially women) saying, “I’m so worried about not having enough muscle in my legs. I need to strengthen them to help my knees out,” or “I really need to put on 20 lbs of muscle to help my back out.”

    In terms of other “common sense” truisms to check with logic and rationality is this notion that, post-pregnancy, we’re all supposed to “get our body back.” We have been conditioned to assume that somehow, age and childbearing aren’t supposed to mark us, and if they do, we have somehow failed. But there are all sorts of reasons that’s bollocks, y’know?

    Having a baby is supposed to change our bodies, perhaps permanently, as is aging, and if we believe differently, that’s largely a result of exposure to the diet industry and the work done by actors and models who are selling products to us that promise that we can be like them (even when *they* aren’t like them, and even when they spend massive amounts of money and time hiring personal trainers and airbrushers to approach looking like their prenatal selves).

    It does sound like you’re dealing with a lot of stress and doing some reality checks about now will be a good thing. Having twins doesn’t mean getting infinitely larger. Barring illness, people don’t get fatter and fatter until they explode anymoreso than, barring illness, they waste away.

    It’s no more possible for you to get infinitely fatter than it is for my husband (who, unlike me, is a very thin man) to get infinitely thinner just because he is thin to start with.

    I think it actually helps, living with a very thin man, just to remind myself daily that we settle where our bodies want to settle.

  5. I have little new to add after reading these wonderful responses. I’d just like to reiterate that right now is a lousy time to be worried about losing weight. Do your best to concentrate on making a safe, healthy environment for the babies. That happens to include giving them enough nutrition to be as strong as possible when they come into the world.

    Of course your body changes while you’re growing entire people in it! And of course you get surprising ideas in your head when you’re sick and dehydrated. My guess is that once you feel really better, you’ll stop giving this particular worry so much brain room, simply because you won’t feel so bad anymore.

    Take care of yourself and your babies, stop beating yourself up for stray thoughts, and know that there are lots of good people out here just waiting to remind you of common sense if you start to panic again.

  6. If it is any consolation I had a ‘plus size pregnancy’. I was 113kg when I got pregnant and was about 135+ when I had her (two weeks past the EDD!). I had a natural birth with no drugs and a two hour labour. Now I dont think I am any better than anyone who has drugs etc (I had a longer labour and drugs in my first pregnancy), I am just sharing to show you that being fat doesnt necessarily mean a troublesome pregnancy. All the issues I did have during my pregnancy (and there were a few!) had NOTHING to do with my fat. I didnt have gestational diabetes and my BP only went up at the very end (two weeks over and extremely hot weather, as well as a pelvic disorder that meant I was largely immobile).

    I hear you in relation to maternity clothes. I ended up ordering from the US but I also ended up wearing pretty much the same 5 pieces of clothing for most of the second half of my pregnancy. It was winter here (I am in Australia) so it was even harder to get clothes that fit. Can you sew? Do you know anyone who can sew? Do you have Autograph clothing stores over there? They have lots of dresses up to a size 26 that would be awesome for pregnancy wear.

    Hang in there hon.

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