My darling pregnant friends, (and yes, there has been more than one of you who’ve come to me with this same topic, so no, I’m not just talking to you, or you.) I am looking you deep in the eyes, and shaking you gently.
You are so beautiful. You’re finally pregnant, after wanting to be for an hour, or a year, or three. You’re carrying a human soul, knitting their little ribs and spines and eyes and hearts from nothing. You are building a person who will go forth into the world and do wonderful things.
You are not fat.
You’re not. I know you feel fat. Remember, I can talk, I’ve done this “grow a human and gain 45+lbs, twice.” Stop judging yourself, stop worrying about your boobs, or your butt, or how you’re pants don’t fit. Don’t kvetch over cellulite, or cry over stretch marks.
Because here’s the deal: being pregnant means doing the one thing you’ve been trained by society you’re whole life NOT to do: gain weight. It’s part of the deal. Some girls gain 10lbs. Some (like me) gain 45.
It doesn’t matter right now if you’re heavy. It matters if you’re HEALTHY. If you’re gaining 5 pounds a week and eating only microwaved cheeto’s and diet pepsi, yes, we need to be concerned about your eating habits and resulting weight gain. If you’re watching what you eat and exercising, then no, you’re weight gain doesn’t matter.
Yes, celebrity women who have chefs and trainers and nannies and housecleaners stay tiny, but they are genetically tiny people (usually) to begin with, and they have STAFFS of people to help. You probably are just glad if you make it out the door with eye make up on both eyes.
Please, give yourself a break. Right now this process is not about you. It’s about that baby. All of it. You are sacrificing your skinniness, your memory, your ability to eat, sleep, breathe, and be comfortable. That’s motherhood. And it’s so fleeting. It’s so temporary, this being pregnant thing. This is a blip in time. In the moment it feels like eternity, but you won’t be pregnant forever.
You won’t be heavy for the rest of your life. And let me tell you, the weight will fade, the stretch marks fade, the skin re-elasticizes, but you will never look the same as you did before. Let go of that idea now, and you’ll be much happier for it.
You will never be the same. Because before, you weren’t a mother, and now, you are. Embrace the growth, and the person you’re becoming.
Know that while you never look the same, you are still, and never stopped being, beautiful. Your husband’s adore the woman who’s growing their child. Your friends think you’re glowing. We are all so proud of you.
Don’t let the enemy use societal standards that are impractical and un- realistic to poison this beautiful and precious time. Yes, you’re gaining weight, and no, you can’t do sit ups, or run a half marathon, or “diet” right now. Soon enough you’ll be done breastfeeding, and you’ll be out running and weight-watchering, and wishing you could be back in those halcyon days of 100g of protein and nursing your fat baby.
Eat healthy, go for walks, treat yourself well. Don’t stare in the mirror and look at your stretch marks or weight, look at your belly. Look at your baby. This is about them, love them well by loving yourself.