Being fat is never easy; clothes shopping becomes a pain, society bombards you with guilt-inducing media and comments on a daily basis, doctors tell you that many of your health problems could be fixed if you “lose a bit of weight,” you are judged as lazy, unmotivated, greedy and disgusting... I could go on all day.
So what is it like being fat and pregnant?
Photo credit: www.parentdish.co.uk
When I found out I was pregnant, before I told anybody – including S – I was instantly racked with guilt and worry; I’m too fat to have a baby, I thought to myself. Whenever we, as a couple, had discussed starting a family I’d always said I wouldn’t want to start ‘trying’ until I was a “healthy weight” as I was all too aware that being overweight adds extra risk to the pregnancy, plus I wanted to be able to show off my growing bump without worrying that people might just think I was getting fatter, or that rather than having a beautiful, rounded, protruding bump, my baby bump would simply merge into my pre-existing belly and just look like I was carrying far too much weight. Kind of sad, right? Telling yourself that you can’t have a baby until you’re a desirable, “healthy” size...
I began to research into the risks of being overweight during pregnancy and, quite frankly, scared myself silly. Increased risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, having a large baby, diabetes, the baby being overweight in later life; the lists were endless and they terrified me. For weeks, I had to keep talking myself out of saying “no, we can’t have this baby” – and it almost brings me to tears to think that I thought like that purely because I thought I was too fat to have a baby.
I made an appointment to see a midwife when I was around 8 weeks pregnant and, despite being incredibly supportive, she again went through all the 'problems' with being overweight during pregnancy and, after I was weighed and my height measured, I was classified as obese and therefore: high risk.
Being high risk means that not only can I not give birth in my local hospital or at home but I have to have specialist consultants with me during the birth, I need extra scans and I am limited in terms of my birthing options. It also sounds terrible, and makes me feel even more nervous about not only the babies health, but mine too.
However, even with all these odds stacked against me, I've been so lucky so far as nothing has gone wrong. Although I'm only 17 weeks gone and, therefore, still in the early stages I feel so grateful that so far I've not been tested positive for, or suffered from, any of the risks that the midwife and doctor was so worried about. My blood pressure has remained steady and healthy, I haven't piled on the pounds (in fact, I still weigh exactly the same as I did over 3 months ago) and, in general, I feel good. I just hope that it stays like this.
On the other hand, I've started to suffer from stretchmarks. I've had stretchmarks ever since I hit puberty about ten years ago, first appearing on my inner thighs then my breasts and hips as I grew, later on as I gained weight a few of them appeared on my stomach and even faint ones on my upper arms, but when I noticed a few new marks on my stomach a couple of days ago, I almost cried (but then felt ridiculous and almost selfish for doing so.)
I'm so relieved that this is the only issue I've had so far. I'm trying not to let the cosmetic 'imperfections' bother me and focus on mine and the babies health, and I'll keep you all update throughout my pregnancy. I have my 20 week scan in just under three weeks so I'll be sharing a little bit more with you then!