I'm NOT Pregnant. Just Fat.
“Oh, my son is 22 months old,” I replied (giving her a way out of certain awkwardness), “and I’m not --"
“So, are you having the baby in this hospital?”
“I’m not. Pregnant,” I said, “Just FAT.” My cheeks started to boil, and I placed my hand protectively on my belly.
“Oh no. Is it a boy or a girl?”
Are you KIDDING ME?
“She’s NOT PREGNANT,” my brother blurted.
“Oh! Ha ha! Oh! It does take a long time to lose the weight. I know. OH, I know.” And, she walked off to take her break. Not even an apology for, like, ROCKING my WORLD in the middle of an exciting occasion.
And I’d really LIKED that nurse. She was the one nurse who was really driving my sister to PUSH PUSH PUSH THAT BABY OUT! And here she was ramming it into me.
“She just WOULDN’T STOP,” my brother said, half laughing and half concerned for me.
“I know,” I said, half laughing and half crying.
“Your cheeks are bright read, Haley.”
“I’m ANGRY!” I said, “I’ve worked so hard to lose this weight. She wouldn’t stop. It STUNG. It STINGS. It stings so BAD.”
And then the tears came and squirted out of my eyes, just like when my 22-month-old son cries.
TWENTY TWO. Yes, it’s been that many months since I was last in that very hospital – Mount Sinai Hospital – delivering my second child. At (almost) 5’1” I was a healthy 205 pounds. Egad.
I got over “the incident” pretty quickly. I mean, my sister just had a beautiful baby boy. But, my family had a good laugh and consoled me – knowing how tough my weight issues have been for me since my own very difficult pregnancies.
Ever heard of "pregnancy depression"? Same as postpartum depression, only it happens WHILE you’re pregnant (and sticks around after). You can’t eat and you can’t get out of bed because you’re beyond terrified, and then you’re even more terrified BECAUSE you can’t eat and you can’t get out of bed and you have A BABY INSIDE YOU. Imagine being completely debilitated with a GROWING FETUS in your belly. It was a nightmare. Of course, I went through intense therapy, and I ended up being unable to move, and unable to STOP eating. The whole thing messed with my metabolism. And, in the course of two pregnancies, I went from size zero to 200+ pounds.
I should mention that I’m one of the lucky ones who GAIN WEIGHT WHILE BREASTFEEDING. “It’s a hormonal thing,” my doctor assured me.
Yes, it’s been a difficult road. But, an important one to take. I’ve learned lessons in vanity, among many, many others. I’ve had to be okay with being “fat.” I’ve had to be okay bumping into people I knew in high school and looking like utter arse, knowing full well that they’d go back to their friends saying, “OMG, I bumped into Haley-O at Starbucks today, and she is HUGE now.” It’s been mortifying, to say the least.
Although, SOMETIMES, I take advantage of my little situation and actually pretend I’m pregnant.... Like, when I run into, say, an old “flame” (a word I don’t think I’ve ever used before). I do put the hand on the belly affectionately, rub it a little, gaze lovingly. Ahem.
While I’ve lost a great bulk of the weight I gained in my pregnancies. I still have about 20 pounds to go – not to get to my pre-pregnancy weight, but to get to a weight that I feel good about. I don’t want people assuming I’m pregnant anymore. It’s just enough already. Alas, though, I do recognize that part of my problem is muscular, and that, unless I get some sort of surgery, people may forever ask me if I'm pregnant. I'm not exactly tall..., AND I'm short-waisted. My babies had nowhere to grow but OUT. So, no wonder my belly is still so round.
To make matters worse…. Apparently, I cracked my coccyx (tailbone) while delivering my second child. Standing up from sitting is EXCRUCIATING. So, I stand up like a pregnant woman….
But, it's decided. As Cameron says in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, “I’m taking a stand. I’m taking a stand, man.” Yes. I’m doing this. I WILL lose this 20 pounds with exercise and NO STARBUCKS and lots of salads. It’s on, baby. It’s on.
I want to feel good about myself, and to finally move on, body and soul, from my horrific pregnancies. Because that’s what all this HOLDING ON is about, anyway -- this holding on to the weight, the emotions, to the paralysis brought on by months of intense anxiety and fear. Time to let it go. I am so okay. I survived those nightmares! As my 85-year-old yoga teacher likes to say, “I’m alive! It’s wild!”
This is an original post for Canada Moms Blog. Haley-O also blogs at her personal blog Cheaty Monkey, directs Membership and Community at the hottest new mom shop bTrendie.com, sells art at Kids Deserve Art, and NEVER EVER asks a woman if she’s pregnant unless she's literally about to POP.