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Struggling with early pregnancy weight gain

11/27/2012

Belle

Please see On Scrambled Eggs, Pregnancy After Infertility and Loss, Body Image and Where To Go From Here for further explanation on this post.

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I knew this would be a problem. Even with Prozac I’m finding myself stressing out daily about clothing that is becoming snug or giving me a tube like appearance. I’m incredibly stressed because I’m only 9 weeks 4 days pregnant – way too soon to be “showing” and gaining enough weight to make your clothing not fit.

I am well aware I’m not fat. I’m a healthy weight and for that I’m thankful. Still, it is hard seeing pounds pack on so soon in the game. I know that a large part of the gain is due to the following:

  • Three weeks and counting of modified bed rest (i.e. no exercising)
  • What feels like an eternity of constipation (Thanks Progesterone!)
  • General early pregnancy bloating

These three reasonable points aside, I’m still gaining. I went through three outfits this morning before I found something that would sufficiently cover my pudge and not make my growing boobs too noticeable*.

Other women have written about how comfortable they are with the changes their body endures during pregnancy. They write about the love they feel for their growing baby bump and even, at times, how sad they are when the baby is born and they lose their “adorable pregnant belly.”

I desperately want to be these women. I had really hoped that with therapy and medication I could embrace these changes and love the way my body adapts to create new life. But I can’t. I look in the mirror and find myself panicking about a life long struggle trying to lose the baby weight, about permanent joint damage due to weight gain and about gestational diabetes (something I’m at higher risk of thanks to PCOS and a family history of obesity and Type 2 diabetes).

I’m having a tremendously hard time silencing this voice and I’m not sure what to do about it. So I’m coming to you all. I’m certain not all my readers loved their changing shape. I’m sure some of you had the same fears about gaining weight. How have you handled this? Especially the ladies with complications who were forbidden to exercise. Any pointers? How can I make this easier?

* While I’m slowly opening up about this to family and friends I’m not ready for my coworkers to know. Sadly, my expanding waist line and growing boobs are making that challenging. (Well, that and the hourly trips to pee.)

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61 Comments

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  1. November 27, 2012

    Hi Belle 🙂 I’m not one of those women who has embraced her changing body. I gained +10 the first tri (progesterone…and eating was the only thing that kept me from throwing up). I cried all the time because nothing fit me. Honestly, I cried the other day because I just felt fat rather than 27 weeks pregnant. My only advice is to get some clothes that you like to wear. Even if they’re maternity. I started wearing maternity at 10 weeks because the clothes made me feel good about myself. If I don’t like the way I look, I’m miserable. The “pudge” phase is hard, just try to remember that it’s worth it for that little chicken. You have to keep him/her warm and cozy, and skinny people aren’t warm and cozy. I’m still petrified about gaining weight. I just try to stick to my normal diet and that makes me feel better when I do gain weight…I know it’s nothing to do with ME persay, just my body doing what it needs to do.

    Most important thing–find things that make you feel beautiful and wear them!

    • November 27, 2012

      Thank you, friend! I actually took myself out and bought all new makeup at the Mac counter two weeks ago. Could I afford it? Nope. Did it help me feel better about my new tube figure and zitty face? Absolutely. If things still look good next Tuesday I will be purchasing a few new pieces to help me get through the “You are pregnant but just look like you spent two weeks gorging on quarter pounders with cheese” stage 🙂

  2. November 27, 2012

    Throughout this entire journey, I’ve always had this fear in the back of my mind. I know so many ladies who had a baby and never really lost the baby weight–it’s like they have been permanently overweight ever since they had their babies. I’ve never been overweight, and in high school I struggled with anorexia. I’m honestly afraid that I won’t be able to lose the baby weight, and I’ll be fat. I want so badly to be pregnant with a viable pregnancy, and I hate the fact that I will be worrying about my weight whenever it finally happens. It’s hard to talk about, and I’m glad I’m not the only one–thanks for starting the conversation.

    • November 27, 2012

      Judging by the comments here, we are far from alone. Ultimately all that matters is a healthy baby, but I still worry. Hopefully in time I will get used to these changes. Until then, I’m so glad to have compassionate readers. xoxo.

  3. November 27, 2012

    Ok, I got good news for you. As a fellow “thin PCOS-er” here is my experience (granted this is based on a triplet pregnancy).
    By 7 weeks I was up 8 lbs. I gained a total of 30 lbs over the 20 weeks I carried them, plus an additional 15 lbs I gained while trying to get pregnant with them. It took just over a year, but I am FINALLY pretty much back to normal (I think the follicle stimming drugs cause me to hold on to those stubborn 15 lbs for fertility treatments). Once I stopped trying to grow eggs this summer those pounds came off with no additional effort. I suffer similar body image anxieties so I hope this makes you feel better. You will get back to normal after all of this if you return to healthy habits!

    • November 27, 2012

      Those stim drugs are the worst! And the progesterone… all I want to eat while on progesterone are carbs, Carbs, CARBS! Glad to know you were able to bounce back!

  4. 35life #
    November 27, 2012

    Having never been pregnant, I wish I had some advice for you. But I do relate with the exercise restrictions that I had to endure during the IVF cycles. I hated it. Are you allowed to at least get out and walk? I know that may not do a whole lot but it can definitely do wonders for your mind. I hope you get some good advice here on this topic. I hardly have any clothing that I like as it is, and could see myself stressing as you are now.

    • November 27, 2012

      The exercise restrictions take IVF from super crappy to unbearble, I think. Seriously, how are we supposed to keep our heads clear if we can’t blow off some steam with a good workout, or some vigorous yard word, or some serious house scrubbing? What ever your activity is, it is hard when we are full of synthetic hormones, stressed/sad/worried and have to sit still. Ugh!

  5. SRB #
    November 27, 2012

    I can relate to this! It takes time to get used to how your body is changing, and you may never fully be down with it. And that’s OKAY. It’s a trip for sure. Also try to remember that it is not necessarily *gain* but things shifting. I started wearing maternity jeans around 10 weeks as well, not because I “needed” them, but I just felt more comfortable. Both physically and emotionally. You mentioned the other day that you are slowly getting out for walks again, and when this becomes more regular it will help. Fresh air therapy! Are you able to do pre-natal yoga yet? This really helps me centre and be more at peace with my body in the moment, which lingers afterwards.

    I have found guided meditations with pregnancy affirmations built in to be *very* helpful and beneficial to my attitude and anxiety for this pregnancy. Right now I am doing the Hypnobabies childbirth preparation program, but I think you can download just the affirmations through their website, or maybe through iTunes. It has really helped me to more at peace with not just how my body looks, but how my body is functioning and to trust it. Feel free to get in touch if you want more detailed info!

    • November 27, 2012

      No prenatal yoga yet, sadly. Hopefully at my 10 week scan things will look good and I’ll be allowed to start that. Until then, it’s daily walks and I decided this afternoon to do some very gentle strengthening exercises like laying leg lifts and donkey kicks. Nothing that will put pressure or tension on the ute area, but that will at least get my let muscles moving a little and help gently tone. And guided meditation is on my list of things my therapist wants me to look into. I’m so scared to pay for any pregnancy related things right now, though. That said, I’m not doing a lot of good sitting here fretting so I guess it is time to bite the bullet! Thanks for your kind comment and your very sweet email. xoxo

      • Amy #
        November 27, 2012

        Not sure why I never thought of this before, but I have a Belleruth Naparstek guided meditation CD – it’s Help for Fertility rather than an actual pregnancy one, but if you would like to try it (always made me cry, a little too sentimental for me!), I would be more than happy to send it to you! I think the affirmations are more geared toward conception, but they’re also general enough to be used for women pursuing adoption, so I think they’d work well for early-to-mid pregnancy, too! Just shoot me an email @ ame dot dame at gmail dot com if you want it.

  6. November 27, 2012

    Hi there!

    I’m two days behind you and had the same thought yesterday. And I had the same thoughts the first time around… but not for long.

    These early weeks are hard, because you wonder if the gain is from eating too much (and is it going to continue this way??) or if it’s added blood, bloating, etc. They say to only gain 4 pounds in the first trimester. WHAT? I gained 8 in my first trimester last time. BUT – and this is a big BUT – it slowed down tremendously! Once out of the first trimester, I began to enjoy seeing the changes because they were REAL changes and not just a thickening waist. I loved seeing the bump emerge, and I welcomed it. I did a total 180 between the first and second trimesters. And after the first tri – I lost 4 pounds (so back to 4 pounds gained) and then just steadily gained 14 pounds through the end of the pregnancy (I was a little chubby to begin – I’m 30 pounds less this time around so I know I’ll likely gain more than 18 pounds – as should YOU).

    You will start to enjoy seeing the changes, because the changes are going to start making you look like you’re a pregnant gal and not just a gal who loves donuts and cake 😉 Trust me – this will change and you will enjoy it!

    But – always be vigilant. I weighed myself every day to help keep myself in check. People who don’t pay attention to weight gain often times end up having a hard time losing the weight.

    I was back to my pre-pregnancy clothes 8 days after delivering and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight after 5 days. With breastfeeding, I just kept losing and it was no big deal. IT’S NO BIG DEAL. We don’t all need to be big ladies after we have babies – in fact – most of us aren’t. Most people go back to normal (and some get smaller, like I did). You will too!

    • November 27, 2012

      I’m buying a scale tonight! Mine broke weeks ago so I have had no way to know if it is weight gain or things shifting. It is encouraging to know you were back into pre-pregnancy clothes so quickly! I miss mine already!

      • November 27, 2012

        If you’re buying a new scale, here is some ass-vice for you 😉 Get one that measures your body fat percentage. I have one of those and it was so nice seeing that my body fat wasn’t going up as I was gaining the pregnancy weight. There was so much peace in seeing that it only fluctuated .5-1% from week to week. That helped me realize that it was good, healthy weight I was gaining and not just “let me stuff my pregnant face with everything in site” weight. When you have body image issue – I believe in employing all the tools you can to help you understand what is going on.

        Happy scale shopping!

    • December 1, 2012

      Court if I didn’t love you I might hate you x

  7. November 27, 2012

    Oh boy, can I relate to this. I’m so glad you wrote about it. I wanted to, but was afraid I’d come off as whiny and ungrateful (which you haven’t!). I have pretty serious weight/body image issues because I struggled with obesity much of my life. Through a lot of hard work, I was able to lose the weight and keep it off. But I saw the weight creeping back on during our struggle to conceive, which was hard for me to take. When it became almost impossible to wear my jeans at around 8.5-9 weeks, I panicked. I’m 11 weeks today and have no choice but to start wearing maternity clothes because so many of my old clothes don’t fit. I keep telling myself that it’s far too early for me to be showing and I’m scared that I’m gaining too much weight too fast. If I’m this big at 11 weeks, what will I be like at the end of my pregnancy? I worry not only about losing the weight afterwards, but also about the risks to the baby.

    It’s been a really tough thing to adjust to. Hell, I haven’t adjusted. I’m used to eating well and being active, but that’s just gone out the window. With the food aversions I’d been experiencing, I was lucky to find ANYTHING to eat that didn’t make me want to throw up, and usually those foods weren’t good foods. I haven’t exercised in weeks because 1) every time I get a little more active, I start spotting and 2) I’m so freaking exhausted all the time. I’m hoping things will be better in the second trimester and that I eventually learn to love the bump, instead of seeing it as me failing to be healthy.

    • November 27, 2012

      I hope things get better in the second trimester, too! It is HARD to be so off schedule. I miss my morning smoothies but they just smell so dang bad! I understand all too well. Here’s to hoping we get a break in the next few weeks and can return to salads, smoothies and at least light exercise!

  8. D #
    November 27, 2012

    I wrote a very similar post last week regarding this topic. I can definitely relate. I have always been in good shape and at a healthy weight, so it has been kind of difficult seeing the numbers on the scale get higher and higher. I feel unattractive to my husband and when I look in the mirror it is hard to get used to my new curves. I know it is for the health of the baby, but it is really tough to know how much is the right amount and at what point in the pregnancy what your weight should be. I also have felt a lot of guilt about feeling this way because I worked so hard for this little guy. I am so grateful for him so it upset me that I have been feeling like this. I am glad to know that I am not alone though. I had a conversation with my husband about things and that helped me out. I also plan on talking to my therapist about it. I wish I had some better advice! I am reading the advice from others on this post though and it is helping me out. Glad you are so open about it!

    • November 27, 2012

      Oh D, I just read through your last few posts and my heart broke for you. I understand this ALL to well! I, too, am feeling guilt that weight gain is what I’m worried about after nearly two years of struggling. It seems so… wrong. Know you are not alone and do talk to your therapist and share if she has any good insight. I’ll do the same when I meet with mine in a few weeks. xoxo

  9. November 27, 2012

    I’m sorry but having just suffered a very painful miscarriage in the last day which culminated in a dash to accident and emergency and is still dragging on reading your post made me very sad. I have enjoyed reading your posts up to now and I know this may seem a little harsh but you seem to have a great life, a supportive husband, good friends, lots of people on here supporting you with their comments, you sound like a very creative and interesting person and very talented but its hard to hear complaints. You are pregnant, yes you will gain a little weight but you are going to have a beautiful baby at the end of it and the only person who is judging you about gaining weight is you.

    • November 27, 2012

      Well, I think we all knew there would be a comment like this coming. Let me just say that I feel awful for amh!omg! – suffering miscarriage is never easy, especially after working so hard to get pregnant in the first place. Believe me, I know. I lost my FET embryo at the same stage as this commenter and I understand that pain.

      With that said, it is impossible for a person to relate to your (Belle’s) feelings on this if they have not been through it themselves. Early pregnancy is full of discomfort, uncertainty, worry, and yes… bloating. It just is. And it’s hard to accept at first because we are all told to be nothing but happy and grateful for what we’ve accomplished. But with this type of weight gain comes physical discomfort, stomach pain, heartburn, etc. Should we be glowing? According to some people – but to those who have been through it, they’ll tell you that it’s no walk in the park. You just always feel… off.

      When it comes to the weight gain, we also worry if it’s normal and OK, or are we setting ourselves and our babies up for gestational diabetes later? Is it water weight, or breast tissue and blood? Why am I gaining weight when I’m not eating any more – is this OK? It doesn’t help when OB’s tell us to watch our weight gain and make us feel bad about it (one of mine, not Dr. H, did this to me at 13 weeks and I’ll never forget it – and I never saw her again). It’s just a recipe for mental disaster – especially for people with body image issues to begin with (that includes myself).

      And then your body looks off. It’s too early for maternity pants to stay up, but your normal clothes don’t look good, and more importantly, they don’t feel good. You feel restricted in your clothes all damned day long, just waiting for the time that maternity pants will stay up so that you can have some relief! Nothing makes bloating more uncomfortable than pants/skirts that are too tight.

      The truth is, unless you’ve been there, it’s just hard to understand. I don’t blame this commenter for feeling this way (we’ve all been there), but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t like what you’re reading, just click away. It’s no one’s place to put someone in their place – on their own blog. It’s just not nice.

      • Amy #
        November 27, 2012

        Well said! I’m 100% sure that Belle has all the sympathy and empathy in the world for anyone suffering a loss at any stage in a pregnancy – but that doesn’t mean she can’t use her own blog as a sounding board for what is on her mind right now. amh! omg! – I am very sorry for your loss, and I hope that you are able to find all the support and love you need right now, too. And we’ve all had thoughts like that, but no real good can come of calling someone who is clearly over-the-moon grateful to be pregnant ungrateful, albeit obliquely.

    • November 27, 2012

      Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry for your loss. I have been through this too and know first hand how hard pregnancy blogs can be while you are still raw and physically hurting. I had to divide my reader up into “Still in the trenches,” “Pregnant,” and “Parenting” after my loss. It was a long, long time until I was ready to read and chat with pregnant people and mommies. Please know my thoughts are with you, your little ones and your husband.

      • November 27, 2012

        Thank you Belle. I’m really sorry I posted that comment now. I didn’t think how it came across. Thanks for being so nice about it I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.

  10. November 27, 2012

    I can’t get to blogs at my new job, but I just want you to know it’s more common to feel uncomfortable with baby weight gain. It’s something that you’re just going to have a hard time with until you pop and are all belly. 🙂 Maybe even then it will be hard. Our society is so weight-driven, whether to make women want to be stick thin or condemn those who are not with scary health facts. When I see you soon (I hope!!) I will tell you honestly how amazingly beautiful you look and just accept it. 😉

    Love you!!

    • November 27, 2012

      Yay! I can’t wait to visit with you! The Professor is supposed to be locking down his dates for job hunting in Los Gatos and then we’ll book our tickets. I’ll let you know as soon as we have some solid dates!

      Also, our society’s weight obsession is terrible. It has made my struggle all the harder. I hope that if I have a daughter I am able to teach her to look past things like pants size and instead view total health.

  11. November 27, 2012

    Oh Belle, the weight gain is hard, to be sure. I wonder though if it’s not pregnancy related but Prozac related. Some women gain weight on SSRIs. I know because I am one of them and I have done a lot of research on it. I took Prozac in high school and ballooned 25+ pounds (though I didn’t attribute it to Prozac at the time). When I was pregnant I didn’t gain one pound during the first trimester but them started taking Zoloft (another SSRI) at week 14 to combat increasing anxiety and went on to gain 10lbs a month for the remainder of my pregnancy. I ended up gaining almost 60lbs! Now I know we gain weight during pregnancy but that seems very excessive to me and I’m positive it was the Zoloft. The weight gain I experience with SSRIs troubles me so that I’m refusing to take Zoloft right now even though I struggling with significant depression; I can’t take my normal medication while trying and it’s the only thing my psych will Rx. My point is just that SSRI weight gain is a very real thing and I wonder if you have been putting on the weight since you started taking Prozac and it’s not so much pregnancy related. I truly hope that is not the case but I wanted to put it out there so you were aware of all possibilities. Please feel free to email me with any other questions you may have about my experience.

    I hope the weight gain slows down. That was a HUGE stressor for me during my pregnancy.

    • November 27, 2012

      Ugh, I had really worried about Prozac weight. It actually had the opposite effect on me, though, and I lost 5 lbs when I went on it. (Seriously it is my wonder drug) I eat when I’m sad so when my brain feels good I’m a lot less likely to tear into corn chips (which might have happened last night…. shame). Hopefully my Dec. 4 ultrasound will go well and I can return to some moderate exercise soon. That will certainly help with both the sadness and munching and helping me tone up so I can pop a baby out come summer 🙂

  12. November 27, 2012

    Honestly the body changes suck until you get the cute bump…and then they suck again when the cute bump turns into a giant bump =) There’s a very small window of pregnant body that you’ll love. I gained a lot of my weight right at the beginning, like 8 lbs before I was 12 weeks, but then I only gained 23 lbs total, so it slows down, try not to worry about it!

  13. Amy #
    November 27, 2012

    I gained way more in the first trimester (and yes, plenty by nine and a half weeks!) than most, despite nausea, I think because I was on progesterone AND prednisone (and like four other things, but I think I can only blame the bloat on those two). I didn’t quite get moon face, but damn I was puffy looking all around. Frankly I avoided the mirror a lot. I took some belly pics at the very beginning, but then just…stopped, sort of inexplicably. The time between looking barely bloated and actually pregnant was weird for me. I just looked, tubular, as you sort of said. I put off buying maternity clothes until I absolutely had to, and even then I didn’t wear the cutest stuff as often as I wished I had by the time I got to the end, when I finally realized how cute it looked earlier on! Silly. So that would be my advice – even though it will feel impossible, go ahead and get yourself some cute, comfy maternity clothes. Especially pants/skirt wise, nobody but you will know that they’re maternity clothes – hopefully even if you still feel like a fake-pregnant person (I totally did), at least you can be comfortable and enjoy some new clothes! I ended up gaining about 35 pounds, which seemed like so much, but somehow it fell right off within about 3 – 4 months after birth. Knowing your exercise and eating habits, and if you breastfeed (I know, this all must seem surreal to even think about at this point) I really doubt that you’ll have problems losing it – try to give yourself permission to gain; it’s GOOD for you and the Chicken!

    • November 27, 2012

      I will be looking at maternity things next weekend, as soon as my 10 week ultrasound comes back ok. Until then, I think I’ll just continue to rotate the same 5 or 6 outfits that make me feel less like a tube and more like, well, a lady 🙂 I want this Chicken to have all the right nutrients to remain healthy and happy and grow to be just the right size!

  14. November 27, 2012

    I have to say I didn’t think I had an adorable baby bump until around 16 weeks and I had twins. I was also distracted during the bloated-or-baby-weight early pregnancy time because I was SO nauseous I just lay down and never really got dressed. I don’t know what I would have done if I had only been pregnant with one, since it sometimes takes a lot longer for the cute baby bump to make its appearance with only one baby in there. You are NOT alone. I know a lot of pregnant women in real life who say things like “ugh I don’t look pregnant I just look fat”. Which is kind of what happens at first, most people just look like they are gaining weight.

    My only suggestion, take it or leave it, is to set a weight gain goal for yourself. Research what you think might be a healthy weight gain goal and add 5-10lb (haha). Pregnancy was the one time in my life that I was relieved to see the numbers on the scale going up because it meant my babies were big and healthy. I decided I wanted to gain around 45lb and I ended up gaining 48 – at some point I stopped weighing myself regularly and I only know that from the doctor’s office. But having that weight goal helped me early on because when I had only gained 10lb I knew I had a lot more to go and actually felt like I wasn’t gaining fast enough! Also remember your weight gain will most likely happen in spurts.

    I used to take solace in weight loss after pregnancy from breast feeding but I have to say that breast feeding can only do so much when I am eating a big bowl of ice cream every day plus cookies and chocolate (and cake and pie, thank you Thanksgiving) to help deal with the stress of two babies. Somehow I am still losing weight despite the junk food. I’m taking long walks at least three times a week, so I think that helps.

    AND. Babies like squishy bodies more than hard bodies, at least that’s what I tell myself. So maybe that’s why some of the jiggliness sticks around for a while after…

    • November 27, 2012

      I should mention, I made the weight gain goal but it stopped mattering to me once my bump started showing more prominently. Also when the ultrasounds were able to approximate the weight of the babies. I cared a lot at the beginning but once I started to feel like I “looked” pregnant, the weight gain didn’t bother me as much and I stopped keeping track.

      • November 27, 2012

        I like the goal idea! Tonight I’m buying a new scale (mine died) and will get a baseline weight and set a goal. Hopefully this will keep me a little more grounded and feeling like I’m working towards a goal, not fighting off a monster. Thanks!

        • November 27, 2012

          😀

          Just remember to add 5-10lb onto what you think is a good weight gain goal because we have the tendency to want to gain the smallest amount of weight as possible no matter what – pregnant or no – and you really don’t want to be dieting and pregnant 🙂

    • Amy #
      November 27, 2012

      I LOVE robin’s last point! Any squishy-ness is just cuddle material for the Chicken! Gotta have some softness for snuggling, so you may as well start building it up now!

  15. Romy #
    November 27, 2012

    I am a week behind you and feeling equally uncomfortable. I do think it must be my uterus pushing up my intestines plus the progesterone constipation/bloating added to that – because I haven’t actually gained weight. I think that if you continue to eat healthy, you won’t gain very much. My GP said he’d wager a bet that I won’t gain more than 20 lbs because he hardly ever sees tall, slim women put on more than that. I think it’ll get better once you’re out of the first trimester and start to actually see a baby belly. Only a few weeks to go 🙂 Until then, I would just stick to healthy food so that you can at least reason with yourself that you’ve been eating healthily so you are not actually getting fat.

    • November 27, 2012

      Oh the constipation. I would bet there is at least 3 pounds of poo in me right now. I know, that’s super gross, but true. I miss being regular! Perhaps I’ll blame the tube look entirely on the poo. 🙂

      • jak #
        November 27, 2012

        why not?, i am! my family thinks its cute that i’m getting a belly but what they dont know is it ain’t a baby – I’M STORING UP SHIT.

        i’ll comment for realsies below, just couldnt pass this one up. great discussion going on here:)

  16. November 27, 2012

    I’ve so been there, Belle! I was an average weight before pregnancy and, sadly, was an obsessive exerciser and dieter. To have to change my ways when I got pregnant was uber-hard for me. I did it, though…and then proceeded to gain 13 pounds my first trimester. No bueno! It was mostly because I was eating constantly as having a full stomach was the only way I kept the nausea at bay. And I couldn’t exercise because I was so tired and sick. As I packed on the pounds, I felt disgusting and I worried that I would keep gaining at the same rate all throughout my pregnancy and end up looking like a blimp by the end. And while I don’t recommend gaining that much so early on, my weight gain actually slowed down as my pregnancy progressed and it all ended up okay. In the early days, I just always tried to choose clothes that hid my pudgy shape and still made me feel pretty and good about myself. And for what it’s worth, as my belly grew and I actually began to LOOK pregnant and not just fat (around 12-16 weeks), I embraced it and grew to love my shape. I even became one of those girls who missed having the big, round belly after pregnancy! I’m sorry you are struggling, but rest assured that it will hopefully get better and, in the end, it’s all 100% worth it.

  17. Kat #
    November 27, 2012

    I completely understand and felt the same way. My mom was one of those women. She often told me she loved being pregnant. I can honestly say that while at times it was tolerable or maybe even unnoticeable, I never once loved being pregnant (that is, the physical experience of it, obviously I love that I’m making a baby 🙂

    And yes, I have the same thoughts about struggling to lose weight after the baby comes. I worry about the stretch marks fading (or not), I worry about having a pouch in my midsection even if I do lose the rest of the weight. I worry about sagging boobs after I’m done breastfeeding. And yes, I ended up telling work about my pregnancy before I would have liked (though not too early, 14 weeks) because my weight gain made it so obvious.

    You know what though, what kind of makes me feel better is thinking about the celebrities out there who weren’t “skinny pregnant.” Like Jessica Simpson and even Kourtney Kardashian was pretty full figured at the end. I figure, if these women who have access to all the trainers and chefs and nutritionists and time, and are constantly in the eye of the public, if even they sometimes gain a good amount of weight, then I really have no reason to be stressing over it.

    So yes, these are definitely tough feelings and it sucks when you have no control of your body. I’ve had the same feelings. I think it’s definitely normal.

  18. November 27, 2012

    Its interesting you posted this today because I stepped on the scale and have gained 9lbs. And while I realize that, particularly with twins, the weight gain is really important, it didn’t stop me from thinking “ugh” for a few moments. Especially when I put on my outfit for the morning and it didn’t fit right. I’m not BANNED from exercising but I’ve had to drop from running 20-25 miles a week to walking 30 min a day. You’re not alone.

  19. heatherwallen #
    November 27, 2012

    Belle, I love this post. I’ve posted before a few times in the past few weeks – I’m actually 9w3d today with twins and eeeks, I am *not* loving the weight gain. Actually I’ve only gained about 3ish lbs but it’s the bloat and boobs-major redistribution going on (at least to my eyes) in the midsection. I’m trying to handle it by buying a few more comfy clothes that won’t stress me out about things fitting tightly — although this goes against all my thoughts on not getting too sure of myself too early in this pregnancy. If you’re looking for cute maternity things (oxymoron!!!!) try the asos website — I found some super cute dresses on their site, very reasonable and would be right at home in Anthropologie — don’t even look that maternity. Hang in there!

  20. November 27, 2012

    Hi again Belle, I have struggled with body image issues my whole life too. My dad would call me names sometimes, and my mom and grandma would tell me stuff like “don’t you want to fit into your dress for that dance?” when I would retrieve a slice of pizza my mom brought home for dinner. My two younger sisters have always been thin, a size 2 and a size four in high school, I have mostly gone from a size 8 to a 12 my whole life. It is a struggle, I know how hard it is. A size 8 really isn’t even that big, but when you are being compared and talked about so much, you feel more like a size “hippo”. You would think all of this judgement would stop after 27 years, but the punches keep coming. My weight finally went down to a size six when I was in college, working, doing pole dancing classes with occasional gym workouts, and eating a vegan diet with a lot of fruit in the morning. But I didn’t realize how good I looked until I gained my weight back, of course. After meeting my fiance, a large Russian man who loves meat, bread and potatoes, and who made my healthy diet increasingly more difficult to keep up, I was a size 8 again.

    That being said, last year my husband lost his job, two jobs actually because one was seasonal, and I gained more weight than I ever have in my life. I was really unhappy and depressed at the beginning of the year. So I worked hard to lose some weight again, and that is when I got pregnant with our second baby in July. I bloated up really badly, I felt really fat really early, and now I fantasize how when I am done being pregnant and done breastfeeding how I am going on a detox diet and lose all my fat and be thin and beautiful.

    I learned something from my first pregnancy though that keeps me semi sane: If you just eat healthy and go on lots of walks, the weight will come off. You will be healthy and happy, so don’t obsess too hard over this. Its ok to think about it a little, but don’t make yourself upset like I did. It is just not worth it. Also, If you can during your pregnancy you will keep extra pounds off by continuing to walk a lot and eat right. I know it is easier said than done, I hardly walk at all right now because I am so dead tired with this pregnancy, but with my first pregnancy I walked a lot because I worked till my eighth month and had no car.

    When you walk around with your baby in a baby carrier strapped to your back, I guarantee you will get a good workout! Especially because that precious little weight will always be increasing, making you burn more calories.

    And you know what, most women are happy to look pregnant because they have something to blame their weight gain on. But going through the stage where you don’t really look pregnant and just look fat is rough for many, it is annoying for me. At Thanksgiving I mentioned to my uncle who was offering me more pie that I was not really in to sweet things during my pregnancies, and my cousin said, “Oh I totally forgot you were even pregnant!” and I thought, man I guess she just though I was fat and that my new rounded belly is just part of the new fat me? Ha ha!

    That all being said, I am more worried about gaining weight with this pregnancy because I was heavier when I got pregnant this time around. When I first got pregnant I weighed like 157 or more, this time I weight around 162. The night I gave birth to my daughter I weighed 177, so I really don’t want to gain more than that. Last I checked I weighed 164 and I have a doc appointment today to see what I weigh now at 20 weeks. What a stupid thing to worry about when I should be worrying about the baby gaining weight and not myself, huh?

    Have you read the book that Jenny McCarthy wrote about her pregnancy? She talks about all the stuff that happened to her body during pregnancy, maybe stuff like that will help you feel less insecure? The only thing i didn’t like about the book is that she really pushed the epidural and sort of bashed birthing education, so just ignore those parts.

    Like many people have mentioned above, there are great things about a mother gaining weight and having it come off in a healthy way after the birth. Extra fat storage means extra food for nursing, I needed it because I had postpartum depression after and I couldn’t eat, my husband had to force me. Also babies want a cuddly warm mommy to snuggle on, it makes their entrance into the world more comfortable :). Your body will do what it is naturally meant to do. As long as you are eating healthy, I wouldn’t worry about what your body does to help itself cope to pregnancy and to nurture your baby.

    Oh, and I find my fat padding now to be a protective layer to shield the baby against my rough two year old who gives me and baby lots of little kicks and elbowing and body slamming.

    Right now, just remember that your body is doing what it needs to to help your pregnancy along. And also don’t think worrying thoughts, focus on how you will get a jogging stroller and baby carrier and how you will do the baby workout together and be healthy and happy :). You have very healthy habits, you have nothing to fear.

  21. November 27, 2012

    I did not enjoying gaining weight or my changing body. It was very difficult for me to not fit into my clothes and the best thing I did was get maternity jeans at like 10 weeks. I felt ridiculous getting them so early but my god they were so comfortable and I didn’t look like I was trying to squeeze into pants that were clearly too tight. It was hard for me mentally and my husband had to remind me daily “you aren’t getting fat you are growing a human being” I had to tell myself that many times.

  22. jak #
    November 27, 2012

    lots of people have gone into body image discussions, which is super helpful, and i’m going to take all the advice myself, hehehe. so since that’s already been done, i wont go into to it but to say: i’ve given up on body image and am thinking only about health. whole and healthy foods only, and eat them whenever i want. besides, complicated foods make me feel sick, and not eating makes me feel sick. so there’s no reasonable choice but to just eat well and when i want to.

    as far as work clothes, i empathize, that has been really hard. i work in downtown dc… i need to dress up every day. many of my expensive work clothes dont fit anymore. i’ve switched to stretch jeans/leggings (like from ex.press – they are low rise and i think they will last until i am HUGE) and untucked button-up shirts, knee-high boots, with jackets or a nice long sweater. it’s a little less dressy than my status quo, but not too far off of the office norm. you work at a uni right? what i’m wearing would definitely work there.

    i’m sad too that my six-pack is gone (but being honest, it was more like a 4 pack of sammy smith, but you get the point), and that i am out of breath and my heart races after climbing stairs when i used to run several times a week. as one of the women above said, ivf wrecked a lot ahead of time, hahah! but i’ve seen women who ballooned after pregnancy come back like a mad dogs and look even BETTER than they looked before. they are my inspiration. this is temporary. when this is over, i’m gonna whoop ass even more than i used and my kid’s gonna brag to their friends that their mom could beat up their friends’ wimpy dads!!!

    • November 27, 2012

      “when this is over, i’m gonna whoop ass even more than i used and my kid’s gonna brag to their friends that their mom could beat up their friends’ wimpy dads!!!” Love this! Work clothes are SO HARD. I have lots of pretty skirts and cute dresses and all of them really make me look fat and/or pregnant and I just don’t want my office mates to know yet. They were so… odd after my last loss that I just don’t want to cross that bridge again.

      Funny you should mention ex.press jeans! I have a pair that I bought right after my miscarriage when I was a hot bloated mess. They are now the only jeans that fit me! Perhaps I’ll grab a pair of their skinnies this weekend and see if they have any colored pants that could work. Maternity clothes are just sooooooo scary this early, ya know?

  23. November 27, 2012

    You are not alone in this feeling! I gained over 10 lbs in the first trimester and was wearing maternity jeans a mere week or two after I got my bfp. I’m now 32 weeks and have stopped weighing myself altogether because my weight gain is significantly more than most women (and was by the time I hit my 3rd trimester…by the end I will be close or surpass Jessica Simpson’s weight gain, and I don’t eat that differently to pre pregnancy). However, my baby is healthy…my baby is healthy and I can lose the weight. The midwife was telling me that having a baby is the best weight loss because you lose lbs upon lbs at birth. So, that gives me great relief. I am also a PCOSer and don’t have gestational diabetes or any other complications. From some of your posts I’m guessing you eat gluten free as well, and I’m sure that’s what’s made all the difference for me. Anyway, do not fret, for you are not alone!

  24. November 27, 2012

    I’m glad you posted this. Thanks to PCOS and lack of exercise I have gained 50 lbs during the last 5 years. Leaving college and all that walking to class killed me. However a lot of my weight has been gained in my abdominal area. After I eat, I become so bloated that I look like I am 9 months pregnant. I’m terrified at what pregnancy is going to do to me. My last OB told me when I get pregnant I should gain a total of 10 lbs. 10 lbs!?!? So believe me it’s not just skinny people who worry about body image. With my luck, no will be able to tell I’m even pregnant at all and think I’m just getting fatter. I’m glad I’m not the only one who worries about this.

    • Peaches #
      November 30, 2012

      For this, read Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant because that has some much more realistic advice and you can even find more online from the american college of obstetrics about recommended weight gain for women who aren’t an “ideal” weight before getting pregnant. I’m not saying to ignore you OB, but check out the book. It will make you feel better.

  25. Cammy #
    November 27, 2012

    I started wearing maternity clothes about 10 weeks due to the weight gain and bloat. I think it too was caused by the progrestrone and my age. I told my coworkers just two weeks ago at 15/16 weeks! I am clearly showing, but I hid it from them with jackets and scarfs. I am just starting to like my shape and love talking to my belly knowing at this point she can hear my voice. Give it time…I think it is just that “awkard” stage in pregnancy that I didn’t understand until now. I am so happy for you! I have my perinatalist appointment and 20 week appointment coming up. I will email you later…lets try to meet for lunch! BTW…I have bought a couple of maternity items at Clothes Mentor….they sale used clothes, you might want to check them out.

  26. November 27, 2012

    I had just lost a bucket load of weight and was feeling really good about my body for the first time in a VERY long time…thanks to the PCOS I really struggle to maintain any sort of weight and while I was no where near my goals, it was a good start for me….now Ive already gained back ALL the weight I managed to lose and have been warned by my doctor to get rid of it as its only going to get worse..like I can go jogging right now???? Ive already started wearing loose clothing,not just because Im bloated and uncomfortable but Im finding my stomach feels like the skin is bruised and anything too tight actually hurts 😦
    Im just trying to embrace everything now and will just have to try be sensible and get rid of the weight later on…

  27. November 27, 2012

    I wish I had some great words of advice, but I felt exactly the same way you do. I gained 60 pounds with my first pregnancy and 34 with my second. I now have 25 pounds to go to get to my original pre-babies weight (the second baby’s 14 weeks old). It is very depressing. And I also eat when I’m sad – going back on sertraline (the generic form of Zoloft) last month has really helped me re-start my weight loss efforts, which had plateaued. Good luck!

    Visiting from ICLW.

  28. Britt #
    November 28, 2012

    This is so normal and expected! The pudgy stage can last a long time with a first pregnancy (especially if you were in good shape to start with because strong abs take longer to pop) and it’s extra hard when no one knows you’re pregnant so you fear they might judge your weight gain (newsflash: people are too wrapped up in themselves to notice your little extra pudge). Then, on top of it all, you know the baby is the size of, say, a shrimp, so why don’t your jeans fit?!? I had to get new jeans at SIX WEEKS – that must be a record, right?

    I’m sure you will embrace the adorable belly once you have one, but you can’t be expected to get excited about bloat in the meantime. Speaking of bloat – that’s another thing to remember as your body changes – a lot of what you’re gaining could be fluids. I thought I had “a bit of swelling in my feet” through my pregnancy but was shocked when my ankles, knees, elbows, etc. magically reappeared 4 days after my c-section. I hadn’t realized just how much fluid I was retaining because it crept on slowly and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t all “real” poundage.

    I think one of the biggest reasons that women fail to lose baby weight is a lack of focus on themselves. You seem very committed to exercise and staying healthy and I think that will continue after you have the baby (that’s what jogging strollers are for, right?). Will it be harder to find the time? Sure, but what husband will refuse to spend time with his baby while his wife exercises so she can get her hot bod back? Not the Professor, I’m sure!

    I think the women who fully embrace their changing shape and all that jazz are just more vocal about it, but most women feel gross and fat for a long time before they feel/look pregnant, so it’s totally normal not to love this stage.

  29. November 28, 2012

    After the initial elation of the BFP, I had two “omg wtf” moments: 1. I’m going to have to deal with a teeny weeny baby, not just a 3 month old +, and 2. I’m GOING to put on weight. Believe it or not, both of these things came as a shock!

    EVERYTHING is so planned and controlled leading to an infertile’s pregnancy that you often see pregnancy as the end goal, not thinking about it being another stage of transition. I wrote about these “liminal states” at the time…and “the complicated pregnancy” is even more of a weird by-road on the pregnancy superhighway. So yep, I was a little furious that I’d played the game, won the prize, and was gonna get FAT after all my hard work to trim down for IVF. (Then I didn’t ! That was mainly because of super strict gestational diabetes land… I put on like 5lb, and lost more than that after the birth). You feel blobbiest in the first tri, trust me.

    Then came mega breast feeding hungry beast, and I’m eating like a horse & stacking it on 😦

    But what I REALLY wanted to say is, pregnancy is tricky and hard and it’s a dilemma wrapped in a conundrum for a former infertile to figure out how to feel about it and what to say about it to “our community”. I agree with SRB, you DON’T know how tricky it is til you’re there, when its not about you or the Prof, but also another whole new person you have to create & protect. It’s a whole other kind of emotional investment, and i reckon freaking out about weight gain is part of realising “everything is going to change”. ESPECIALLY when it is a complicated after loss pregnancy; it feels like tightrope walking.

    Then along comes motherhood, and the full on emotional assault begins again, it’s just a different flavour with different challenges, and it’s not an endpoint either!

    • November 28, 2012

      P.S. re work clothes, one word for you: dresses. Life feels a lot better when nothing is hassling your waist 🙂

  30. November 28, 2012

    Like others have said, it is hard to love your pregnant body till you actually look pregnant. I know for me, starting off overweight made it difficult because for a while I just looked like I was getting fatter. Even now that I actually have a belly, it’s not what is considered “cute” because of my pre pregnancy fat placement. My belly still has a big dent right across my belly button. It will come in time and one day it will hit you. My time actually came just this morning. Even though I am finally loving my pregnant body, I know there will still be days where I worry about weight gain and all the old stretch marks I have getting bigger. I have broken down a couple times to the Hubby about how I know I didn’t have a great body to start with, but now I will lose what I did have. My body is changing and my life is changing for the better and you never know, slowly I will get my body back and it might be even better.

    • November 28, 2012

      Oh and I have not been allowed to exercise or do much of anything since 14 weeks and I won’t be able to till after the babies are born. No being able to do your normal things also puts a strain on your body and especially your brain. I hope you will be able to get off of your resting soon and get back to some normalcy to help your mind and body feel good.

  31. November 28, 2012

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been struggling with this too. As someone who suffered anorexia from my late teens to almost my early 30’s. Trust me I’m not lost on the fact that my eggs are bad I’m sure due to this. But even the weight gain that I have gained after going through every IVF. I gained 10lbs in the last year and half from all the IVF’s. And now I have pregnancy weight, granted being 8 weeks pregnant and gaining 2 lbs, people would say what s wrong with you. But I feel in my heart that the images we have of our bodies will never go away. I believe it will always buried in the back of our minds somewhere and always comes up no mater what. I even get the feeling that I’m just going to look fat, and not like every other pregnant women that looks cute…I will be the fat slob. I will write about this too once I can find the balls to post it. But I applaud you for doing so, thank you for being so bold!!!

  32. November 30, 2012

    I posted my struggles with weight gain on the other post, but I just wanted to add that this is not just an issue for people that were formerly or are currently overweight. You can worry about weight gain and/or body image your whole life without every truly being overweight.

  33. December 1, 2012

    Having read a few blogs that referred to the latest shit storm in ALI land I’ve been stalking to see what happened and I’m so glad I found you! I’m sorry you received hurtful comments – becoming pregnant doesn’t mean you automatically forget all the shit you went through and frankly we should have every right to complain. I was a terrible pregnant – I had images of me swanning around in a cute maxi dress with an adorable bump except my boobs were bigger than my bump and my bump was mush. I gained nearly 23kg pregnant I was huge! Not to mention on steroids and sporting a nice little beard as well. I looked awful! Ha!! Your blog is your space and seriously peeps if you don’t like it take some time out but dont knock down a fellow infertile sister. Admit will get better whe the bump is hard but those first twelve weeks – toeture!! Oh the memories 🙂 I’ll let you in on a secret after bubs is out the body image is worse! All you are left with is the flab but after 4.5 months I’m back in normal clothes so don’t stress it will all work out 🙂

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