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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