I began this series almost a year ago with this post. Through these posts I have learned so much about myself. I have worked through many emotions related to my weight issues. I’ve struggled with my weight since adolescence. There is no way to effectively lose weight and keep it off without addressing the reasons I have been overweight for the better part of my life.
In my last post I finished nursing school and had recently found out I was pregnant. My mentality was beginning to shift from being solely about looking better to living a long healthy life so I could be there for my husband and child. However, old habits are difficult to break.
This is a story about the muffin. No, that’s not a cute name we coined for our unborn child. In the early stages of pregnancy I immediately gave myself permission to eat more. I quit Weight Watchers and though I tried to eat healthy I definitely ate for two. I developed morning sickness by the second month and an eager craving to eat breads, muffins, bland starchy foods and watermelon. Meat and vegetables were a turn off. My diet was still full of processed convenience foods. Once a month I shopped at Costco and for years I bought a dozen large blueberry muffins for my husband. As long as I had been buying them I never indulged in one. I had deemed them off limits because of their enormous calorie count.
One morning after returning home from a walk and suffering a bout of morning sickness I found myself craving a muffin so I ate one. It happened to be one of the last muffins in the package. My husband had seen me at various weights during our relationship. He was aware that I struggled with my weight, but never criticized me or made me feel badly about my weight. He has always loved me for me. However, watching me go through so many trials and tribulations with my weight he had also learned how food, weight gain and my body image contributed to my mood, personality and attitude.
Later that evening my husband was acting funny towards me, barely speaking to me. He seemed angry. All of these behaviors were highly out of character for him. After prodding him for a while he relented and admitted he was upset and annoyed that I had eaten the muffin. He reminded me how I always said the muffins were fattening and unhealthy, and that’s why I would never eat them. He had a right to be pissed. If I chose not to take care of my body pre-pregnancy that was my business, but being pregnant means caring for someone else, putting someone else first. That someone was our child.
My body grew in a way I didn’t expect. Instead of a cute protruding baby bump I grew two sizes in my behind. I joked that it looked like I was having twins, one in each cheek. I didn’t look pregnant. I simply looked like I had gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time. My clothing didn’t fit nor could I find flattering maternity clothing.
My hair got frizzy and began to thin in the front. It was far from healthy and lustrous. Initially my skin looked ruddy rather than glowing.
By the time my morning sickness ended I was left feeling large and bloated. I, all but ceased exercising save for intermittent walks here and there. Oddly I couldn’t stand music on my headphones or in the car during my pregnancy. I took walks in silence and thought mostly about how cruddy I felt.
I felt conflicted all the time. I was supposed to love being pregnant, right? I didn’t really. I was supposed to feel radiant. Well I definitely didn’t. I mean don’t get me wrong I loved what was going on inside my body. I loved every flutter and kick. I adored talking to my baby. Orlando and I decided not to find out the sex of the baby, yet all along I felt very strongly that I was having a boy. We didn’t care either way.
I did my absolute best to put on a good face when others asked me how I was feeling. I lied a lot. I said what I knew everyone wanted to hear…”I feel great!”
By the time I actually began to look pregnant I had tipped the scales at well over 200 pounds. My legs and feet were swollen. My face was round and chubby. I hated the way I looked despite the joy I felt about becoming a mother.
Working nights gave me a lot of time to think during the day when I was home alone. I was angry with myself for allowing my weight and body image issues to be intertwined with my pregnancy. I knew I should have committed myself pre-pregnancy to achieving a healthy body weight. Fortunately my pregnancy was uneventful and healthy despite my weight.
I have never loved anyone as much as I did this baby growing inside me. I knew I had only one more chance to confront my weight issues and at last commit to a healthy lifestyle once my child was born.
A Gift from God
I’m sorry to say I never grew to love my pregnant body. I cried when I became unable to tie my shoes. I was frustrated that I was reduced to a select few articles of clothing including a pair of unbuttoned non-maternity plus size jeans. At my last OB/Gyn appointment just 5 days before I gave birth I weighed 223 pounds. I had gained exactly 40 pounds during the pregnancy. I was very unhappy about those numbers.
Despite the disdain with which I viewed my body I never once felt anything but amazement and adoration for my baby. After the muffin incident my husband embraced the changes in my body through the eyes of a loving husband and soon-to-be father.
After nearly 18 hours of labor and a Pitocin drip I had only dilated to 2 centimeters. There were complications arising and what I thought would be a relatively uneventful delivery turned into an emergency C-section. I have never shunned my body for not being able to deliver naturally. I was too concerned with the health of my baby to care how he came into this world. At 6:29 pm on December 17th I heard the most melodic cry as Carlos entered the world and changed our lives forever.
As a new mother all I wanted was to give my son the most wonderful life imaginable. Little did I know he would be the one to breathe new life into me.