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Coming to Terms With My Dreams of a Fat Pregnancy…

January 22, 2014

Weight LossFat HealthMy Boring-Ass LifeDickweedDiet Talk

The following is the second post from Lindsey, our new blogging candidate. This is an original post. You can check out more of Lindsey’s work on “Feminist Cupcake.” After one more post, we will vote on her inclusion.

Recently, my husband and I have started talking about having a baby. I want kids — for sure, but the idea of being pregnant brings up some body image issues and forces me to evaluate the personal limitations of my fat-positive attitude.

As I become more conscious of the genuine possibility of being pregnant, I’ve uncovered that I’m fearing the idea of watching my body change. Somehow, I am not prepared to see my belly stretch and grow to accommodate our future child because I will once again be living in a space where my body is unfamiliar to me.photo(1)

As you may have learned from my last post, I spent many years of my life trapped in a fat-phobic space. I’ve honestly shed that understanding of the bodies of others and I have also learned how to love my fat body. Personally, my Body Acceptance entailed giving up dieting (‘cause diets don’t work), eating intuitively, reading tons of fat-positive blogs and books, and allowing myself the superficial pleasure of partaking in fatshion.

Most of my life fashion was a drag. My mom and grandmother are thin and fashionable, so I remember a lot of hours sitting on the floor of dressing rooms watching them try on clothes and feeling like I couldn’t look cool or beautiful like they did because I was fat. Today, I rock my fat body by shopping for fabulous clothes that fit. I have a fantastically evolving wardrobe that includes items like a flared burgundy coat, a pink cupcake covered dress, and bunch of other nifty things that I buy online at Mod Cloth, Torrid, Domino Dollhouse and Nordstroms. The fabulous thing about all these new clothes is that they fit – for real. They are my size, which I know based on my measurements, so I never try on things that don’t fit because I know my body.

I was cleaning out my closet when I first considered the idea that my body would change and get bigger when I got pregnant. It’s been a little more than year since I decided to eat intuitively and since then I have remained exactly the same size. Considering this, I decided that for the new year I was going to go through my clothes and give away the things that are too small – the things I used to save in hopes that I would lose weight and they would fit. For some, it might feel sorrow-filled or masochistic, but I was excited to trash my “skinny” clothes. I wanted to charge ahead with my Body Acceptance – free myself of those old reminders of my body hatred.

While I was tossing aside size 10, 12 and 14 jeans, I remembered the feeling of wearing pants that clawed and suffocated my middle. I remembered feeling the guilt of growing and the embarrassment of knowing that I was getting bigger. And then suddenly I realized that I was going to have to feel my clothes get tight again and I got scared.

I didn’t want new rolls and stretch marks. I didn’t want to manage a larger, heavier body. I didn’t want to feel like I was taking up more space. I had finally found the courage to wear a bikini on the beach. I didn’t want to have my belly change and have to rebuild that same courage again. I didn’t want to compare my belly bump to other, thinner belly bumps or have to get on the scale at the obstetrician’s office. Currently, I refuse all weight requests at doctor’s offices. Is that okay when I’m pregnant? I didn’t want the changing state of my body to become my focus again.

Achieving Body Acceptance is a harrowing exercise in this body-conscious world. Some days are easier than others. Some days we’re braver, stronger, more thick-skinned. I can’t lie to you, Kardashian-Pregnant-Fat-Magazine-Coversgetting pregnant scares me. I know that the media is hyper-critical of baby bumps and this is not something I ever considered when I struggled to become fat positive. Also, I now realize that the consistency of my body size is one of the reasons why I’ve been able to maintain a state of bodily comfort. But this is not the reality of the body. The body changes; it gets bigger and smaller, it wrinkles and gets new bumps and spots and injuries. The body is not stagnant; it is organic and ever changing.

Accepting change is just another hurdle in my fat-positive journey. Sure, the possibility of getting and being pregnant feels overwhelming like once I am pregnant I could slip back into old patterns of self-criticism. But I won’t. I have developed the tools to combat this possibility, I can prepare and I plan to constantly remind myself how I crawled out of that hole the first time: intuitive eating, support from the online world, reading fat positive research and blogs and, of course, investing in clothes that fit and make me feel beautiful. I might have bad days, but I love my body and I’m glad it’s mine.

I’ve done some research already, so I know where I’m going to begin my fat-positive pregnancy reading, but I would love your input. Have you all heard of Claire Mysko or Plus Size Mommy Memoirs? Do you have other suggestions for me?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2014 11:46 am

    Hey, I didn’t know you were writing here! 🙂 I wrote a piece for Mommyish on being fat and pregnant. It sucks. You have to be really committed to body-positivity to wade through all the fatphobic mainstream pregnancy/new mom nonsense. But it can be done and is very worth it.

  2. vesta44 permalink
    January 22, 2014 11:55 am

    The Well-Rounded Mama blog could be helpful. I’ve never read it myself – too old to get preggers, but I’ve heard good things about it from younger friends of mine.
    http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/

  3. Feminist Cupcake permalink
    January 22, 2014 12:00 pm

    Vesta – thanks. Looks awesome.

  4. Nof permalink
    January 22, 2014 12:44 pm

    I think “your body will change” is one of the scariest aspects of body positivity. I’m on new medications with weight gain as a common side-effect, and all I can think is: “I’m pretty okay with my body now. I’m not sure if I’ll be okay with my body if it changes.” It’s scary to have things outside your control change, and it’s frustrating to feel like those changes have shoved you back to square one.

  5. Alanna permalink
    January 22, 2014 1:01 pm

    Plus Size Mommy Memoirs rules! I got pregnant at 360lbs, gained 30lbs, and that weight came off very quickly after my son was born November 9. I’m 5’9.

  6. January 22, 2014 7:46 pm

    Acknowledging these fears and sitting with them is half the battle! So congrats. I didn’t love my body until I was pregnant and gave birth to my son. So you never know how you’ll feel until you experience it. I wish you all the best and thank you for seeing my blog as a resource for body love during pregnancy and beyond.

  7. January 26, 2014 10:28 am

    It can be difficult to predict how your body will change in a pregnancy, and that can definitely be scary. Pregnancies are all different, so it would be impossible for anyone to tell you exactly how you will change before it happens. For me personally there was a lot of discomfort in things stretching and aching. (And of course the endless vomiting and heartburn.) Some people claim it to be the time of their lives when they were HAPPIEST with their body. Pregnancy gives them a lot of energy. (Mine were more like Bella’s in that Twilight movie, but you can’t go by me at all.) Here’s one positive thing: maternity clothes are really cute these days. AND comfortable. Also, it might be comforting to know that a billion other things will probably be on your mind if you get pregnant. It’s not an answer to your fears at all, but the positive and negative distractions that come with impending parenthood might lessen some of these particular anxieties. Also your OB might still want to weigh you, but you could ask to not be told the #. I wish you a lot of luck with this. I wish I had known about FA and HAES back when I was pregnant. Somehow I think these might make things easier, or I hope that they do.

  8. Elm permalink
    January 30, 2014 5:33 pm

    If you are worried about the OB attitudes, you can consider working with a home birth midwife, who is likely to be less fat-is-bad oriented. If you do pick a midwife, be sure to interview them on their fat-friendliness, since it varies. That’s what I did, and it worked out really well–I had a great fat pregnancy and a great fat home birth. Actually, I felt so strongly about the home birth thing that my partner and I moved away from Berkeley solely to put our saved rent money toward the costs of working with a home birth midwife, and I would do it again–though I have heard Medicaid and some health insurances cover home birth now. I think you have a really great attitude about preparing your fat acceptance skills to include changing body size, and I agree that’s pretty much what you have to do, both for the pregnancy and afterward. btw, I gained all my weight AFTER my son was born, due to various stressors and the eradication of all my personal routines that had helped me stabilize. Planning how you can support yourself and maintain your habits will probably help the most.

  9. April 25, 2014 4:22 am

    Hmmm, I’m just seeing this post now. I written a great deal about fat pregnancy on my website and my blog. Lots of good information and inspiration there. http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org is the older website (currently being redesigned and updated) and the newer blog is http://www.wellroundedmama.blogspot.com. Check it out and see if you find it helpful.

    I highly recommend that you consider a midwife, whether that is a hospital midwife (CNM) or a homebirth midwife (CPM). Although a midwife doesn’t automatically guarantee a size-friendly caregiver, midwives are more likely to be size-friendly and are much less likely to use unneeded interventions. Plus they usually just take more time with you and give more individual attention. There are some good doctors out there too, but generally you get better care with a midwife.

    Most maternity care providers want to weigh you because a very high gain in pregnancy is associated with poorer outcomes on average, and because a sudden spike in wt gain can indicate the beginning of a serious complication called pre-eclampsia, for which larger women do have a higher risk. On the other hand, some homebirth midwives are okay with not weighing as long as you discuss your nutrition with them and they can feel reassured that you will have excellent nutrition and intake and will tell them if you experience a sudden spike in gain or swelling.

    I’ve had 4 pregnancies; I gritted my teeth and weighed in the first three and tried not to let it be too big a deal, but I have to say I loved the last pregnancy where my homebirth midwives were fine with me weighing myself and only reporting if I had a sudden large gain (I never did) or too low a gain. Very empowering. But you have to figure out what YOU are comfortable with. I do have a post on my blog about the pros and cons of weighing in pregnancy; you might want to check that out.

    http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-weighing-necessary-during-pregnancy.html

    I also have many pictures of fat pregnant women, fat breastfeeding women, and making peace with your body despite pregnancy challenges. You might enjoy reading those too.

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