Before I ever decided to get pregnant, my biggest fears about pregnancy were body changes/weight gain and postpartum depression. I think my fears were inflated because I had already been through both of those things . . . except I’d never been pregnant. When I had my first major weight gain, I gained almost 100 lbs in less than a year. That wrecked my body . . . and my mental state. I gained weight so rapidly that I had a gazillion stretch marks all over my stomach where my skin literally ripped apart. I also went through a deep depression where I got anxiety just from getting in the car to leave the house. I would have panic attacks every time I went out in public. It was horrible. Later in life I went through a similar depression and weight gain although not as dramatic as the first.
Once I found out I was actually pregnant, I had to come face to face with those fears and fast. The pregnancy felt familiar but yet foreign all at the same time.
Familiar in the sense that I knew exactly what it was like to rapidly gain weight, to see the scale going up each week, to see changes in my body, and to feel out of control. Familiar in the sense that I could recognize when depression was trying to pop its ugly head back into my life.
So, all of that to say that Thank GOD I was fat and depressed way before I ever got pregnant. It made me more aware of what could happen if I let my mind go to that dark place. I like to think it prepared me for my pregnancy and motherhood. Because of that I was able to be the best version of myself to live in the moment and enjoy my time with my daughter. Allow me to explain.
Shopping is a Challenge
Being overweight and plus sized can making shopping a nightmare. It’s gotten better in the past few years but trying to find clothes that fit a curvy body are not easy! Plus size women are still shamed to shop in the tiny little corner wayyyyyy in the back of the store! Far enough in the back of the store so that everyone can stare at you as you strut your stuff to the back. Then you get there and there’s like 5 items that don’t resemble something from your grandmother’s closet.
It’s the same when you’re pregnant. You get to a point in your pregnancy where nothing in the “normal” sizes fit and finding maternity clothes isn’t easy either. Just like the plus sized section, there’s this pathetic little maternity corner with bland, ugly clothes that make you feel even more fat and ugly. Thanks hormones. That’s why I bought most of my maternity clothes online.
Tummy Panels . . . AKA Spanx for Preggos
I probably own every type of Spanx and undergarment that has hit the market. When I was planning my wedding I made plans to buy a “Body Magic” undergarment from a woman that sold them out of her car (At the time in 2010 they didn’t sell them online). Pathetic but that thing was oh so worth it! Spoiler Alert: I never met up with her and ended up finding one at a local plus size boutique.
Once you’re pregnant and your regular “I’m a human” jeans stop fitting, you move into maternity jeans. The difference? The tummy panel that stretches across your entire stomach all the way up to your bra line. I hear a lot of pregnant women say they detest the tummy panels in maternity jeans. I actually loved them! It’s like a less restricting version of Spanx for preggos. I think they should make tummy panels in jeans for non-pregnant women. Genius.
Comments From Strangers about My Body
For some reason when you’re overweight, perfect strangers think that they are allowed to make comments about your body. It’s happened to me multiple times in my life. If that happened just from being a little overweight, I could only imagine how it would be while pregnant. Strangers love to comment and touch pregnant women. Seriously, I would have busted out my boxing skills if any stranger would have touched my belly. Thank goodness that never happened.
I think as a plus size woman sometimes it’s actually the opposite. People are almost terrified to make a comment about your pregnant belly just in case you’re extra fat and not really pregnant. I actually was afraid that because I had a stomach already that I wouldn’t look pregnant enough or “cute pregnant”. I feared that I would just look more fat.
I’m happy to tell you that I actually loved how I looked pregnant. BUT that didn’t come overnight. I came to love it and being pregnant also helped me find a new love and appreciation for my body that I’ve hated on for so many years.
My point? Don’t let anyone make you feel less than. Your body is beautiful and it’s creating a life. If that’s not irresistible I really don’t know what is.
If you are feeling scared about all of this, you need to read my post Dear Pregnant Fat Girl ASAP!
When I gained almost 100 lbs after high school, I got huge stretch marks all over my stomach. It was devastating. I can remember that nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach that came over me when I realized I had literally stretched out my body from eating too much. At the time and for many years I could barely force myself to look at them. These days I really don’t care. It’s part of MY journey and MY story. They have since faded but they are an everyday reminder of what once was.
When I first found out I was pregnant, my happiness was initially overshadowed by all of those feelings coming back to the surface. I worried that I would get brand new stretch marks and go through those feelings all over again. I was terrified that it would send me back to that dark and scary place.
I was diligent with putting my top secret stretch mark remedy on daily. . . sometimes twice/day. Seriously, I looked like a basted Thanksgiving turkey every night before bed.
I’m happy to say that I didn’t get any new stretch marks from my pregnancy. BUT I came to a place that even if I did it was going to be ok.
Yes pregnancy is a miracle. Yes it’s a glorious time in a woman’s life. Yes motherhood is just as big of a blessing.
It also can be depressing, draining, lonely, and exhausting. You might even have moments when you wonder why in hell you’re doing this. You will miss your old self. You will miss your pre-pregnancy body. You’ll be pissed off that you can’t do the same things while you’re pregnant that everyone else is doing.Yes pregnancy is a miracle but it can also cause depression and that's perfectly normal!Click To Tweet
I have been clinically depressed in the past. I got help. I took meds. I went to therapy. I worked on myself from the inside out for the first time. I finally realized that I couldn’t just work on the number on the scale. It’s a mind-body-spirit process. Thank GOD I did that work way before I got pregnant. It saved my life.
Am I just being dramatic? No. Because I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety in the past I knew that I was susceptible to it as a pregnant woman. Pregnancy is one big surge of hormones and many of those feelings are out of your control.
I did a lot of research while I was pregnant about postpartum depression. My husband and I talked about it. A lot. I wanted him to know what signs to look for. We both agreed that if he saw any signs he would make me reach out and get help.
This is SO important especially in those first 3 months of what I like to call “postpartum fog.” Your body is healing, your life is completely changed, you have a human being that needs you for everything, your schedule is off, you’re sleep deprived, you aren’t working, and your body still looks pregnant. That is A LOT of changes all at once. Society doesn’t give moms enough credit for all of it. We are conditioned to think that everything has to be the perfect happy family that just oohs and ahhs over the baby and nobody ever talks about how the mom is coping with her new life.
Be proactive. Prepare. Know the signs. Be willing to ask for help and admit when you’re just not feeling well mentally. Your body is physically healing . . . and your mind has to do the same thing to adjust to the changes and your new life.
Once you get through that fog (and you will) it’s beautiful.Don’t put a timeline on it. Try to enjoy the beauty in the chaos and you’ll be just fine.
Yea, you will gain weight when you get pregnant. It’s natural. It’s a good thing. It means your baby is happy and healthy and growing. It IS scary when you’re the “pregnant fat girl” who’s been there/done that when it comes to gaining weight. I gained 70 lbs on the day I delivered my daughter. So far I’ve lost about 40 lbs and have another 30lbs to reach my pre-pregnancy weight.Pregnant women should not be shamed for gaining weight. It's proof of a growing baby!Click To Tweet
If this was the first time I had gained that much weight I might be devastated and falling into a dark depression. The difference is that I’ve been through it before and now that I’ve done the mental/spiritual work I can handle the weight gain. It’s not controlling my life or how I view myself and my worth. It’s just weight. I’ve lost it before and I WILL lose it again because I know how. I also give myself grace because I didn’t gain this weight from binge eating and abusing my body. I grew a human being! And a perfectly beautiful, happy, healthy little girl at that! I’m proud of what my body has accomplished.
I’m not letting this stop me from enjoying life and time with my daughter. I have the REST of my life to lose the weight. She will only be a baby for so long. I refuse to miss out on doing things with her because of my body. Plus, what kind of message does that send her?
Let’s Wrap This Up
Because I already went through negative body image, weight gain, and depression before I was pregnant, I was able to take the steps to be proactive so that I could fully enjoy my pregnancy and motherhood without having to deal with going back to that scary and dark place. I’m better for it and so is my daughter. I’m able to be fully present in her life, enjoy the newborn/infant stage, and live MY version of an irresistible life.
If you’re pregnant and feeling scared about these issues, schedule an appointment with a therapist that can help you. Be proactive and take the time to understand what postpartum depression looks like. Tell someone to look out for you. When you’re in that postpartum fog, you may not realize you’re falling into depression.
I honestly feel that by living and creating my version of an irresistible life I saved my pregnancy and motherhood.
More Pregnancy/Body Image Related Posts
- Dear Pregnant Fat Girl
- Does This Baby Make Me Look Like a Mom Blogger?
- Losing Control . . . Lessons from Mother Nature & Motherhood
- Maternity Fashion for Plus Size & Curvy Mamas
- Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone at BlogPaws
- Embracing My Pregnancy Body Image Fears
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