I’ve struggled with body image since I was a teen. I remember spending lots of time comparing myself to my peers and usually deciding that my face was ok, but my thighs were not. I thought about everything I ate and everything my friends ate. I was constantly negotiating “If I eat this cupcake then I won’t dinner eat later”, “If I eat these fries I’ll walk for an hour after work”. My attitude didn’t stop me from indulging in Cinnabon at the mall, but it did lead to intense feelings of guilt. Food still results in guilt today.
As I got older I learned how to dress for my pear shaped figure and learned what exercises would help my trouble spots, but my attitude about food and my body never changed. My miscarriages only added to my messed up attitude. Not only could my body not morph into the waif dancers frame I desired but it couldn’t grow a baby either. What good was it anyway?
I finally got pregnant and had a son. Then two more. Every time I got pregnant I’d promise myself I was going to walk everyday and only eat healthy foods. I was finally going to hear “You’re all belly” or “From behind you don’t even look pregnant”. Then morning sickness would hit and my Dr would encourage me to eat what ever I could keep down. Usually this was Yohoo and Cheetos. This approach would be fine if it stopped after the first trimester, but it never did. I just kept eating whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. I gained over 60 pounds with all three of my boys. I lost it after W just because I was younger and active. I lost it after G because I had a raging case of PPD and couldn’t eat. I didn’t lose it after O (even after weight watchers) and I started this pregnancy 20 pounds heavier.
Now I’m 20 weeks pregnant with twins and last time I weighed I tipped the scale at over 200 pounds. I’ve read Dr. Luke’s book and I KNOW I’m supposed to be gaining large amounts of weight, but seeing that number freaked me the F*&^ out. I’m seriously losing it, friends. It probably doesn’t help that most times when I see people I know I get raised eyebrows and the “you’re getting so big” or “Wow, I can’t imagine what you’ll look like at the end”. Thanks people. Now excuse me as I drown myself in this milkshake. That said, I also have amazing friends who say things like “The bigger the belly the bigger the babies” or “You don’t look that much bigger than last week” or my favorite “You are always gorgeous pregnant”. The sad thing is I don’t really hear these compliments. They don’t circle around me as I’m frantically trying to find something to wear. They don’t ring through my head as I’m trying to figure out if I should untag a very unflattering picture of myself on Facebook. I’m trying to shake off this body/weight funk but It’s hard.
I have 2 sweet babies that are depending on me to EAT, but the bigger I get the bigger my food guilt grows. I’m back to judging everything I put in my mouth and am usually beating myself up about it at the end of the day. I’m still getting the number of calories I need and the babies are still measuring about a week ahead. Both of those are good things and in my heart I know I’ll make it thru this pregnancy and gain the appropriate amount of weight. I’ll most likely struggle the entire time, but I won’t deprive my babies. What I’m worried about is after they get here. I don’t want my early days with the twins to be overshadowed by constant self judging. I don’t want to hear the self hate that usually comes with the flabby post baby belly. I don’t want to over think everything I eat and waste time reading about stomach binders and how much a tummy tuck costs.
What I do want is to take pride in the babies I grew. I want to spend time gazing at my newest loves and not the scale. I want to say and believe that the baby weight doesn’t matter. I want to take tons of pictures of myself with all my kids and not delete them after I see them. I want to be able to dress in front of my husband and not feel embarrassed. Sigh…
Other than therapy, how do I get there? What’s your body image like post children? Did anyone else have food issues during their pregnancy?