I can honestly tell you I've never really had any REAL "body image issues". I am grateful for that. Sure, I've always wanted to be smaller, thinner, more toned, whatever. But I never want those things because I thought it would make people like me more. Or get more attention from guys. Whenever I would lose weight, it would be for ME. I've always liked myself the way I was.
I liked myself in high school when I had a bigger show choir dress than all of my friends. Or when I couldn't share clothes with my best friend because she was half my size.
I liked myself freshman year when I gained the freshman fifteen.
I liked myself sophomore and junior year when I started putting more of an emphasis on being healthy.
I liked myself senior year when I was at my all time low weight.
I have liked myself ever since then. Through the ups and downs the scale has shown me over the last couple of years.
And then... I got pregnant.
I remember saying I wish I had lost more weight before I got pregnant so I didn't get "too fat." At my VERY FIRST doctor appointment at 8 weeks, I was told that I was starting my pregnancy overweight and shouldn't gain anymore than 20 pounds in the next 8 months. Piece of cake. I didn't plan to gain an ounce over that.
The first and second trimesters made me think I would be right on track for weight gain. At my 30 week appointment, I had gained 17 pounds. My belly AND my baby were both measuring smaller than they should've been. My doctor said I was good on weight gain. I felt good. My baby felt good (I'm assuming.) Everyone was happy. I still loved myself and my body.
And then. My 32 week appointment came along. Still felt great! Still loved my body!
You know what my doctor told me?! I will never forget.
"I want to caution you because you've gained too much weight already and you still have 8 weeks to go."
"How much have a I gained?"
"22 pounds. Since you were overweight to start, we didn't want you gaining any more than 20 pounds. So just get out and exercise more."
If you know me, you know I am probably the most emotional person you've ever met. I cry at the drop of a hat. It took every OUNCE of energy in my body to hold in my tears until I got out to my car. As soon as I sat in the driver's seat and closed the door behind me, the tears started POURING out and would not stop. I cried the whole way home. I cried for 20-30 minutes after I got home. How could I have felt SO good about myself and then all of a sudden feel like the grossest, ugliest, most disgusting person on the planet?! I was devastated. Even when I was a total fatty my freshman year of college, no one TOLD me I was overweight. I truly never felt judged. I never felt ashamed of my weight. But now I did. I was so, so sad.
I tried my very best to brush it off and make it seem like what the doctor said didn't affect me, but it really did. It hurt me so much.
Like, I fully understand that women need to be mindful of their health while they're pregnant. I'm not dumb. I get that the doctor is supposed to nicely let a woman know if she's gained too much weight. BUT. I just couldn't believe she said it to ME. I felt so great before she said that. I had been walking at least 2 miles a day, 5 days a week. I wasn't eating a rabbit's diet, but I wasn't eating fast food and ice cream all day every day. (Only sometimes haha)
For a few days after my appointment, I was secretly so upset. I felt horrible about myself. For the first time I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn't think any of my clothes looked good on me. It was a horrible feeling.
And then it hit me. MY BODY IS FUCKING AMAZING. So fucking amazing. Sorry about that word, but it is!!!!
I am literally growing a human.
For the last 34 weeks, my body hasn't belonged to me; it's belonged to a teeny tiny human.
MY body, the one I've always liked but never fully appreciated, is growing a little person.
MY little person.
My little person who weighs about 4.5 pounds right now.
Who's growing inside my uterus, which has grown about 2-5 pounds heavier than it was.
My little person who's floating around in amniotic fluid, which has added about 2-3 pounds to my body weight.
Whose life is being sustained by an organ that MY BODY grew. By an organ that my body will get rid of in a few more weeks because, hey... IT CAN MAKE ANOTHER ONE!
An organ that weighs about 2-3 pounds right now.
Did you also know that MY BODY has made some extra blood that is being pumped by my heart, that is slightly bigger than it was 34 weeks ago??
Extra blood and a slightly bigger heart that have added about 3-4 pounds to my body weight.
My slightly bigger heart pumps this extra blood behind my boobs, which have doubled in size and added a good 2-3 pounds to my body weight.
So that in a few weeks, my body... MY FUCKING AMAZING BODY can continue to sustain my little person's life even AFTER he has entered the world.
So you know what? My doctor can call me overweight. She can caution me to watch what I'm eating and tell me to work out more. The random lady at the grocery store can say she thinks I'm farther along than 34 weeks. The other teachers at school can comment over and over on how big I am. YOU can think I'm a whale.
But guess what?
I don't care.
I love my body. More than I've ever loved my body before.
I APPRECIATE my body. Because it's working so incredibly hard to make my little person.
I feel healthy.
I feel happy.
I feel sexy.
I feel POWERFUL.
I love my body and I'm PROUD of my body.
And you should feel the same way about yours.
You are a BEAUTIFUL, POWERFUL woman.
Go eat chocolate cake, celery, ice cream, or an apple. Eat what makes YOU happy.
Go run a mile, lay on the couch, take a walk, or take a nap. Do what makes YOU happy.
Love yourself and forget what anyone else thinks.