When preggos go bad!

Being in the condition I am, I’m a little focused on things pregnancy related these days. Please excuse the indulgence  🙂

I am taking particular pleasure in the fact that I’ve managed to reach 28 weeks so far with no problems, despite the doom and gloom outlook of my original midwife, who advised me to diet and was panicking about my blood sugar levels… which tested normal, btw, and have gone down a little as my pregnancy has progressed (hey, even my blood pressure has come down, though it was fine to start with). She also missed the reason I was feeling so horrible early on; extremely low iron and B12 levels! This was despite the blood tests suggesting something was wrong with my iron, due to my cell count (as I understand it; the results did say ‘suggest further iron studies’ which she never did, as she was too focused on my non-existent GD). 

To tell the truth though I was quite disappointed to come across a *midwife* with this attitude – my last one (last pregnancy, also a twin pregnancy – what can I say, I’m just naturally efficient!) was not like that at all. And even the OB I now have (I’ve moved to an area where twins are considered high risk and put under an OB’s care) hastened to reassure me that the slight heart murmur she detected was most likely a flow murmur and caused by pregnancy, *not* a symptom of  obesity or anything else. I like my OB 🙂

But I’ve noticed an odd trend where fat non-acceptance and pregnancy seem to collide. This may have been around for a while – I’m new to FA and so didn’t really notice it before – but has anyone else noticed a decrease in the size of pregnant bellies that are exhibited in public (TV, films, etc) as well as a decrease in the idea of what a ‘normal’ (if there is such a thing) sized preggo belly looks like? Have we demonised weight to such a point that even pregnant bellies are supposed to be as small as possible now? The smallest pot now has people exclaiming that so-and-so is “as big as a house!” and it annoys me, because I *do* have a large belly and it will get larger… this is not due to my pre-pregnancy weight! This is just what my natural preggy belly looks like.

And while I’m on the subject, I wish smaller women would stop exclaiming that they’re “so fat!” when they’re pregnant. Look, lady: I’ve been fat, I’ve been pregnant, and I’ve been both at once. Believe me they neither feel nor look the same! And when you say that about yourself with that tinge of self loathing about the ‘F’ word (what, you think I didn’t hear that?) well, it annoys me. And I think this attitude plays into what I’ve just said about the demonising of the pregnant belly. 

What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. I think what’s happened as far as pregnant women on TV is that we’re seeing a valorization of a specific type of pregnant body–the celebrity pregnancy as model, which is based on a body with almost no body fat to begin with, so that the uterus itself is just a taut basketball-shaped object in the middle of an otherwise very thin figure.

    I think that, before the celebrity pregnancy fixation, characters that were supposed to be pregnant were modeled on everyday women’s pregnancies.

    Also, there was a different kind of costume for pregnant characters. We’ve shifted from pregnancy fashions that attempted to hide the belly under empire waists and tents to ones that highlight the belly (and I think that’s because of celebrity pregnancies and the desire to show off that it’s *just* a pregnant belly on a thin woman and not a fat woman’s belly). Because of this, we’ve now got those offensive t-shirts that say, “I’m not fat. I’m pregnant.”

  2. I too have noticed that there’s more of an expectation for pregnant women to be smaller than I had imagined from my childhood. I’m an inbetweenie and I got HUGE. My tolerably FA midwife (never weighed me, never mentioned weight) told me I was larger with my first than one of her clients working on her 9th. I mean it when I say I was huge. Not twin huge, but huge. I did get a few comments that this was because of my obesity, and of course the general assumption that my severe hip pain was due to weight gain (when it started when I was still below pre-prego weight). I also had my chiropractor and several friends asking me things like how I was going to control my weight (I wasn’t) and what my plan was to lose the weight after I pop (none). And so on.

    The thing that annoyed me most was that people would assume that my claiming I was big was self-deprecatory. As if I was upset at my ginormousness and they’d go on to reassure me that it’s ok, it’ll all come off. I was THRILLED to be huge! I had been infertile and it was so wonderful to have a healthy pregnancy that I wanted to eat up every moment of it. And, considering I went to 42w3d, I pretty much did 🙂

    I do talk a lot about my experience of pregnancy with my friends, because everyone assumes that any weight gain is fat and any bulge in pregnancy is fat. I’ve had people tell me that when you show prior to 5 months it’s not the baby, it’s the uterus pushing all the fat up. As if you don’t have intestines in there. Or how fat women if they don’t control their weight will gain a bajillion pounds and never lose it. As I gained the “normal” amount and lost it all effortlessly (ew 20 pounds of night sweats) by 2 weeks PP, this is very definitely not what I experienced. I mention these facts not to brag, because it’s not like I did anything, but to illustrate that the body knows what it’s doing and will do what it needs to regardless of your wishes.

    • I’m so glad for you, being able to overcome infertility!

      I know what you mean about ignorance re what causes the preggo weight gain. When I mention extra pints of blood, amniotic fluid, etc etc so many people say ‘wow, I had no idea!” and it makes me cringe.

      As for the weight gain; when my Mum was pregnant with me she *exploded*, quite litterally ended up weighing twice as much as her pre-pregnancy weight. But when I was born she went back to normal pretty quick, with no diets or exercise regimes or what have you.

      • Re: pregnancy weight gain, I had my baby last Friday and have lost the 13 lbs. I gained during the pregnancy plus 8 more since delivering.

        But, despite the small weight gain, I got huge. In both pregnancies I’ve gained everything in my boobs and belly, and end up carrying straight out in front and up high, like I have a giant beach ball under my shirt. By the end, my belly was so big that I really felt like I could not possibly stretch any further. When not pregnant, I carry all my weight in my boobs and hips and butt, and have a pretty flat stomach, so it gets really hard for me to negotiate how much space my body is taking up at the end of a pregnancy. I end up bumping into a lot of things with my belly the last month!

        And, re: celebrity bellies, don’t a lot of celebrities–at least from what I’ve read–get electively induced early (around 36-37 weeks) so that they don’t get really huge? I know that it seems like my stomach grows exponentially the last 2-3 weeks of a pregnancy, so if celebrities are delivering early, that could be part of why we’re seeing less women in the public eye looking really, really pregnant.

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