When I put my foot on the scales for the first time after giving birth it was 8 weeks post partum and I was consciously holding the baby in my arms. I thought, if I saw something I did not like I would blame it on the baby. When the actual number hit me, two thoughts crossed my mind: a) the baby cannot possibly weigh that much before she turns ten years old b) an old classic: this scales is old and broken.
Just to be completely sure, I tried to balance the baby alone on the scales before I tried again without her. Coward me. I had never seen that number in my pre-pregnancy life.
During my whole pregnancy I was in denial about my weight gain. Apart from the fact that I refused to get on the scales after the fourth month when I realized I was already 10+ kilos heavier, I somehow tried to convince myself that “it is all swelling and fluid retention”. (Guess what, it was not.) But I could not control it unless I went on a diet, and that was not what I wanted to do while pregnant. Having been slim most of my adult life, I never had to struggle to lose anything more than 4-5 kilos max. So when I had to confront my post partum weight reality, I panicked. I kinda expected that out of these 28 kilos half would be gone after delivery with the baby, the placenta and well… the swelling. At least that is what so many moms on numerous pregnancy blogs claim, that by the time they left the hospital 10 kilos had miraculously evaporated. But it does not always work that way.
When it comes to pregnancy weight, It turns out that your body, in combination with the amount and quality of food you consume will do what your genes and hormones dictate. You may have the noblest intentions to stay “all belly” and be like one of those celebrity moms that go into their skinny jeans a few days or even hours after giving birth. If it is not genetically meant to happen, it will not and the worst thing you can do is to hopelessly cling to this idea in a desperate effort to maintain a sense of control in your life.
Becoming a parent suddenly changes your life so drastically and means that your weight gain will be the least scary of the scary things that will happen to you. I am not suggesting you should eat for two or stuff your face at meals. On the contrary, staying healthy should be a priority. But bear in mind that weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy and how much weight you put on will not solely depend on your eating.
Frankly I am tired of being bombarded with images of pregnant media personas and celebrities-pretentiously- competing who has the best genes. Yes, we all know there are women out there that are naturally very thin and manage to stay slim during pregnancy. We also know there are people who can afford expert diet consultation, personal trainers, chefs, weight maintenance programs and plastic surgery. But the majority of us cannot and the worst thing that can happen to a woman is not the kilos she stocks up during pregnancy but her obsession and frustration over it.
Fellow moms, it’s ok.
Summing up, I had a discussion lately with a male friend. He was telling me how much weight both he and his ex partner had put on during an unhappy relationship. He literally felt heavy with frustration and toxic emotions and it was as if the weight came not from the excessive food but from the feeling that they were both dragging their feet living under the same roof.
So I say away with the weight gain remorse! It is as harmful as the weight gain itself and the surest way to find the old you again is to do everything in your power to be stress free and happy.