Weighty Matters

5 Nov

It all began with my dad calling me plump and juicy when I was little. Until I hit puberty, I was chubby (unlike most of the other girls who seemed to lose their baby fat once they hit third grade). Then, the opposite happened – at age 13 all those curves melted away (except for my hips) and I was the short, flat-chested girl with straight lines. Then, instead of saying how nice I looked my dad would say “You look like a boy. You’re not supposed to see ribs on a girl!

These conflicting messages ensured that I would probably never be comfortable inside of my own body. How I longed for the day when I thought things would change and that I would feel happy to be whatever shape I was.

This has yet to happen.

Even pregnant, the body image issues I have battled all my life seem to magically rear their ugly heads (or in my case, hips!). I always thought that it would be so wonderful to have a socially-approved-of-belly and that I wouldn’t have to worry about how much I weighed or how big I was.

This still has yet to happen.

Maybe it is because I got pregnant just before getting married and my fears of showing in my dress (which I of course, did – I was showing quite early). Maybe it was because we wanted to wait to tell people we were expecting until after the wedding. Whatever it was for the first 3 months of my pregnancy I felt heavy, fat and bloated.

Something inside of me, though, told me that my issues would probably pass once I hit the second trimester. Showing would be wonderful. This would’ve been the case if I hadn’t of had gestational diabetes and had to go see the dietician (who just so happens to be a very small middle-aged Chinese lady with a slight build).

Our conversation went something like this:

Her: Oh, you are overweight.

Me: I know I’ve gained weight in the past few years because of stress, but I’m well within the parameters for my height.

Her (checking off the Overweight box on my intake form): Oh no. You are overweight. I am the same height, and even though I have smaller bones, you should weigh 120 lbs. pre-pregnancy.

Me: I have weighed that much before. I was anorexic and size 3 clothes hung on me. I’m not genetically wired to weigh that little.

Her (ignoring my comment about an eating disorder): That is your ideal weight.

This is a medical professional? Every time I go into this office to have my glucose levels evaluated, it’s a similar conversation. I’m almost in my sixth month, and have only gained about 5-6 pounds so far. How on earth — if all my pregnancy books say I should have gained about 11 — can that be too much?

I also love the fact that her scale magically reads my weight as being 2 lbs. heavier than my OBGYN’s. I had an appointment with both of them the same day – the dietician being right after the doctor. I asked her how I could’ve gained 2 lbs. in the course of an hour. Part of me wonders if their scale is off just to be able to lord their non-pregnant, genetically-predispositioned-to-be-thin figures over me and make their patients feel bad.

There is little positive about these visits.

Trying to ignore this does take some energy and hard work, though.

In truth, I unless I have an appointment with these nurses, I feel happy with my belly and size. I am eating well and exercising. I know that I’m carrying high and that my belly will show a little more than some other women.

And that’s just the way it is.


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9 Responses to “Weighty Matters”

  1. Kelly November 5, 2007 at 7:41 pm #

    Oh geez. How can a doctor be like that? Way to screw up your whole day. I had a 4’10”, 80 lb, belly-patting grandmother. She’s not to blame for my body-image issues, but she sure didn’t help any!
    My sister-in-law is built much like you – she’s a post-natal nurse, and just had a baby this year. She also had the gestational diabetes. Kid’s fine, she’s fine, and she says a)her whole family tends to chunk up when pregnant, b) she (like you) obviously doesn’t have the metabolism of a small asian woman and c) is breast feeding and has no intention of trying to lose weight until that’s over. She’s active, she’s healthy, and skinny judgemental people can go take a flying leap!

  2. ingrid November 6, 2007 at 2:47 am #

    I can certainly sympathize with having body image issues, I’ve been overweight all my life and I’m sure when I finally do get pregnant that I’ll get similar comments but for much better reason. You’re doing all the right things to stay healthy so enjoy the pregnant belly don’t stress too much about what skinny asian lady has to say.

  3. knittyk8 November 6, 2007 at 7:33 am #

    What is it with the lack of bedside manner? At the weight she suggests, I’m considered underweight. The whole height-weight thing is overblown. I’m sorry you’re having to fend off an inappropriate dietician – you’re taking care of your body and that’s all there is to it. Hugs.

  4. meridian November 6, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    What in the world? I would find another clinic to go to, or at least make a complaint. There’s no reason to cause a pregnant woman even more stress!

  5. Em November 7, 2007 at 2:11 pm #

    Oh no! That’s just awful. Go find a new doctor right away! Never pay anyone who treats you badly.

    It can be so hard to find confidence in yourself, but it is so very much worth finding. I’ve struggled with being “average” to overweight my whole life (are any of us happy with ourselves?), but can tell you that the most confidence I’ve ever had was when I was almost at my heaviest, but taking bellydance lessons regularly. Try to find something new that makes you feel beautiful. (Because if those photos of you on the beach are anything to go by, you already are!!)

  6. Nora November 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm #

    I am overweight and didn’t gain weight well in either pregnancy and had a hard time weighing in because of the numbers. However my doctor reminded me that I was healthy and doing the right things and not to worry about it so much. I am wondering about dietitians right now my friend here that had gestational diabetes seemed to be seeing a crazy lady too. Try not to let her get under your skin and see if you can find another. Are you interested in vintage knitting and crochet pattern? I have some if you would want them.

  7. Katy November 8, 2007 at 10:48 pm #

    How rude! I would report her to a supervisor, somebody in charge. That is just wrong on some many levels!

    A few months ago, I was having issues (still am, but, no benefits until Monday) with the girly bits. An ultra sound was required at one point. I’m laying there, on the table, nervous as hell and the tech is so rough that she literally left bruises. When I complained of being in pain? “If you weren’t so big, I wouldn’t have to press so hard to get a good picture”. I immediately stopped her and told her that she was never touching me again.

    I’m sorry you went through that.

    Be proud of your growing belly!

  8. geckogrrl November 12, 2007 at 5:22 pm #

    Thanks for the really nice and supportive comments, you all! I think because this is a program that is paid for by the state, I’m much more likely to get a person who is not very empathetic (or even really educated) about things. She has her benchmarks to stick to and my not being able to comply with them (simply because of my biology) may whack out her stats.

    My doctor is supportive and doesn’t think there is anything wrong with my weight or weight gain, though, which is really nice…

  9. Johnnie November 18, 2007 at 7:00 pm #

    I think you look perfectly beautiful!
    and I can’t wait to meet baby 😉

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