My little brother was the first person to ever call me "fat". He was trying to get under my skin, and boy oh boy did it ever work. I was about 12 or 13 at the time, and I'd already been noticing that my body had lumps and bumps where other girls didn't. Most noticeable (to me, anyway) was my lack of a flat tummy. I thought about it in ballet class, using the full-length mirrors to surreptitiously check and see if any of the other girls in my class had the same little pooch below their belly button. I thought about it at the beach, lying on my back and noticing the concave dip between my friends' hipbones while my belly stubbornly curved outward, despite the assistance of gravity. I thought about it more and more as I got older and gained a few more pounds, most of which seemed determined to concentrate itself in the real estate directly beneath my navel.
Fast forward to university, I'd figured out some basics about nutrition and fitness and had managed to drop most of the excess weight I'd put on in high school. But try as I might, no amount of step aerobics (ah, the 90s!) could entirely get rid of what my mother (who carries her fat the same way) referred to as my "pot belly". Such a cutesy name for the bane of my existence! Let's just call a spade a spade. I have a Fat Upper Pubic Area (FUPA).
|I know. You don't need to remind me.|
Given the inordinate amount of time and energy that I've spent lamenting and trying to get rid of the FUPA, it stands to reason that I've always wondered how I'd deal with weight gain in pregnancy. For a while there it looked like it wasn't going to be an issue I'd have to deal with at all. Except now it is, and I'm not sure I'm doing very well so far.
After my last post, the lovely Amber commented that the first few months of pregnancy "when you just feel fat and not really pregnant" can be hard. I'm learning that this is absolutely true. In the past when I felt my pants getting tighter, there was always a solution: I'd either been indulging too much and needed to cut back, or I'd been slacking on working out and needed to move more. This time there's nothing I can do about it, and it's only going to get worse. Don't get me wrong, I know that this is what we've been striving for and I wouldn't have it any other way! But after 38 years of mentally conditioning myself to avoid gaining weight, it's really really hard to flip that switch to the off position.
The more I think about this stuff, the more I've been realizing that this is definitely an attitude that I don't want to pass on to our baby. Whether we have a girl or a boy, I don't want our child to live in a house where its mother teaches it that a woman's worth is based on her weight or body shape. I want our child to see that eating well and being active is good because it's healthy, not because it affects how you look. Society and pop culture will do a good enough job sending those other messages anyway; I want our child to have a solid base of confidence from which to contradict them.
In the meantime, I've been trying to do a better job of choosing healthier snacks (because STILL SO HUNGRY) and getting out for more long walks with Buddy. I even fired up my prenatal workout video again and am looking forward to starting dance class when the studio opens next week. I'm not gonna lie; I'm still terrified about gaining a ton of unnecessary weight and having to deal with a saggier, flabbier FUPA when this is all over (at which point I've learned it gains the horrible, terrible nickname "mother's apron"). But even if I do, this baby isn't going to hear a single word about it. Which will probably be good for both of us.