Here’s a topic I’ve simultaneously been wanting to ignore (because seriously, I’m so over it) while also wanting to contribute my voice to changing how we think and speak about it. Weight gain in pregnancy. Weight loss post pregnancy. Pre-baby body. All THAT.
So I gained around 60 lbs last time around. This is over what most websites will quote as healthy weight gain by at least 20 lbs. I entered the 3rd trimester right over Christmas and let me tell you, I blossomed. My mother-in-law’s Christmas baking is largely to blame (and I’m looking forward to this Christmas, Judith). I gained a lot of that weight in a relatively short period of time which was kind of startling, so I became more conscientious about my eating habits (it helped when the Christmas baking ran out) and the weight gain slowed and steadied at a more typical pace until I had Sloane.
What I want to say right now is “who cares” but I know a good blog has points and compelling arguments and stuff so…
Since I’m paranoid that people will come after me for advocating a lack of health I will just clearly state here that no, obviously, I love health. You should love health. Health helps you live life well and for as long as you can. Strive for health. Yay.
But weight? Weight does not equal health. Weight does not equal value. Weight does not equal happiness. So about weight I say: WHO CARES.
It was after I had Sloane that I really truly began this journey of quitting being body obsessed. Because that is the message woman repeatedly hear (“you should be obsessed, obsessed with making your body better”) and while I had always been tired of that message, never before had it seemed so at odds with my current situation of growing and raising a small human. On one hand my brain was anxiously believing: yes, must drop the weight, get back to pre-pregnancy size, flatten the stomach. On the other hand, this goal seemed hilariously meaningless and rote. I could be living life with wonder and joy watching my little girl grow into life right in front of me, or I could be expending mental and physical energy trying to get some elusive and probably genetically impossible body shape because…….that’s what women *should* do? WTF, I’m over it.
I’m over worrying about the double chin I get in photos when gazing at my child. I’m over keeping track of how fast I gain or lose weight under extremely natural circumstances (This goes beyond pregnancy. Our bodies go through seasons). I’m over thinking she is better because she “bounced right back”. I’m over agonizing over clothes not fitting because I keep hoping for the smaller size. I’m over exercising for the sake of a look. I’m over letting this manipulate any more of my brain space when my brain has so many other things vying for its attention, especially very cute tiny humans.
And I’m sorry to those lovely ladies around me but I’m over congratulating you when you “barely look pregnant” or “don’t even look like you had a baby X months ago” or are “an inspiration for being so fit”. As long as this is our standard for success, the cycle won’t change, and this useless value in our life will stick around.
Here are some things I would rather say: “You are working so hard”, “You are doing an amazing job at managing multiple kids”, “You seem so happy”, “I love that you’re doing something you love”, “You are one of the funniest people I know”, “I want to be a better listener like you”, “I think you’re beautiful, and very well-read”.
Wouldn’t you rather hear that too?