the hard truth about being skinny
When I was 18, I had issues with eating… or not eating, I suppose. I was excited but not really that I could fit into my old size 5 jeans from my post-Army days. The difference between my Army days vs. then was that the Army got me in shape, healthfully. When I was 18 and wearing size 5 jeans it was because I was working 60+ hours a week and had conveniently forgot where the grocery store was at.
That was then. This is now.
I got healthy and I got in shape the right way. I go to the gym every day I don’t work for both me and for the kids. They love the gym day care and I love that I can do something good for myself. The benefits of exercise are so numerous in my mind that it makes me think to myself, “Why not?” Especially during pregnancy. I mean, I sleep better at night, have an easier pregnancy in general, have more energy and actually want to…you know…*cough*. ALL GOOD THINGS!
Now, imagine you didn’t know that I used to starve myself. And then imagine how I felt when someone said to me a few days ago, “Hey, I heard you were 5 months pregnant. There’s no way you’re that pregnant. And if you are, then you’re starving your baby you stupid, skinny bitch.”
Why is it now the misconception for women to look 9 months pregnant when they’re only 5 months along? When did it become taboo to workout consistently during pregnancy? When did it become OK to gain 80 pounds during pregnancy and wrong to only gain 25? And why is it called eating for two when the increased calorie requirement is only 400-600 more a day than the normal intake?
When I was pregnant with Claire, I gained 18 pounds and was 20 pounds heavier at the start of that pregnancy vs this one. Even then, with those extra pounds, I never got huge. Why? I don’t know. It’s just who I am, I suppose. I think it also helps that I’m “top-tall.” I’m 5’8″ and I have a Tara Reid-like torso. Top-tall. That’s me.
Usually, I don’t let people’s comments get to me, but this time I was a bit put off. Sure, the comment was completely unnecessary and extremely rude and uncalled for, but it got me thinking. Is Drunk-Girl’s comment what a lot of people think when they see me and just never say it?
And for the record, I could give a shit what others think of me. Unless I’m wrong or being an ass, I really don’t care.
BUT when people look at me and think that I’m neglecting my baby, I stress. It’s not just about me at that point. It’s about me and another living creature. I’m not a neglectful person. I don’t do things to hurt my baby. But why would anyone ever think I would?
It’s the same idea as when people look at me and say, “You’re only 25? And you have 2 kids? Oh – and you’re pregnant again? Wow. Um, good luck?” To me, what I’m hear is: It screams trailer trash. It screams devout Catholic. It screams welfare.
None of which I am. (And seriously, with the Catholic comment, it came from people who say, “Wow, are you Catholic?” You know, because they’re supposed to be against birth control. Relax now.)
Matt and I have said from the beginning that we’d have as many kids as we wanted as long as we could take care of them emotionally and financially. We’d never put a kid on the Earth if we couldn’t care for them. So monetarily, obviously, we’re doing fine since I’m on kid number 3. Emotionally, I’ve never been better. My struggles with PPD have taught me to really look at life from all angles and never take anything for granted.
So why on Earth would I starve my baby?
As Matt said, “Do these people go with you to your doctor’s appointments? Do they hear her tell you that you are perfectly healthy? Did they see your ultrasound? Did Claire and Luca suffer during their times in utero?”
Of course not. And of course I’m doing everything right.
I guess what got my panties in such a twist is that I’m not considered the norm anymore. Obesity is HUGE these days. Women having babies who can barely take care of themselves is even bigger.
It makes me sad to think that people question my ethics and health when I’m doing everything right. It isn’t the ’70’s anymore. Women aren’t told to “Eat, eat, eat!” In fact, exercising during pregnancy is pushed even when the woman isn’t a novice. Start slow, go for walks, listen to your body. It’s that simple.
So while to the naked eye, I may not look pregnant, I am. I’m a happy 23 weeks and counting. Yes, my regular every day jeans still fit me. Sure, I’ve only gained 10 pounds. OK, I understand that I just look bloated. And no, it’s not a tumor. It’s my body and how my body reacts to being pregnant. I’m tall. I’m in shape. I’m healthy.
So. When I’m 9 months pregnant and the baby is sitting so low that I still can’t believe my uterus is not in fact to my knees, yet I’m still on the treadmill, you can gawk. And you can ask me how far along I am. But when I tell you that I’m 38 weeks along, the next phrase out of your mouth better not be, ” You’re only what?!” because pregnancy hormones are hard to control and I may smack you.