For each of my 5 pregnancies I have never known my weight. I have refused the scale and, when pushed, told them to write it down in silence or say it aloud at their own risk. Here’s why…
I have not voluntarily stood on a scale in five years.
Oh sure, sometimes they make me. If they do I close my eyes and tell them they best keep it quiet and write it in light pencil on my chart so it isn’t visible from across the exam room. My midwives never even cared, but boy the doctors do!
Did you know how much weight you gain isn’t really an indicator of how well your baby is doing?
You can gain 60 pounds and birth a 5-pound baby. Or gain 20 pounds and birth a 10-pound baby. The scale doesn’t weigh your health.
But what’s even more discouraging than watching the scales go up at the doctor’s office every few weeks is watching them go up every morning in your own bathroom. It’s like allowing an intruder into your home for 9 months and letting him whisper horrible nothings in your ear like…
“You’re getting huge.”
“That’s not baby fat, that’s fat, baby!”
“You’ll never lose this.”
“I agree, you do look like a blue whale.”
“You won’t even squeeze in your maternity clothes soon.”
I do not weigh myself during pregnancy. And I don’t think you should either. Here’s why.
You can’t stop the uphill climb.
It doesn’t matter if you eat only kale chips, tofu, seasonal vegetables cooked lightly in extra virgin olive oil (hold the salt) and apples. Did you know apples burn more calories to digest than they contain? Great pregnancy food! Eat 10 apples a day! It’s like dieting, really.
You are going to put on weight despite your best efforts. Week after week. Month after month. New bras after new panties after new flip flops (since you’ll probably have to ditch normal shoes). What is the point of logging each pound of fat, fluid, or ounce of blood you amass and comparing it to the weight gain schedule in What to Expect when You’re Expecting?
It creates distress for those with body image issues.
If you don’t have weight or body images issues then good for you. Oh, except even rawboned skinny supermodels get body fat when they’re pregnant. It’s a great leveler among women.
If you tend to have body image issues, constantly weighing yourself is both unwise and emotionally unhealthy. It will only bring you stress. Up five pounds in a week! I lost two pounds since yesterday! It’s the nausea! It’s the 354 bathroom breaks! It’s the sriracha kale chips! You can look at yourself in the mirror and tell by the fit of your maternity jeans how much weight you are putting on. You don’t need to torture yourself daily to document it in your future newborn’s baby book.
If you’re doing all you can, you’ve done all you can do.
I try to eat mainly fruits, vegetables, and real food. I do pregnancy exercise videos. I stretch. Not obsessively and not every day, but regularly. That, and I chase after my 5-year old, 4-year old, 2-year old, and 1-year old. So you see, there’s little else I can do to prevent myself from gaining weight except to starve myself. Oh wait, even then I’d still gain weight because I’m growing a human being inside my uterus. It’d still be like standing soaking wet on a scale holding a poodle.
I don’t suggest throwing caution to the wind and hogging out on bacon cheese fries, pepperoni pizza, and tubs of ice cream throughout your entire pregnancy. I’ve already touched on the big fat lie people insist upon spreading that goes like, “Eat whatever you want, you’ll lose it after the birth.” My point isn’t to ignore health, but to not obsess over a number.
It doesn’t matter medically.
Excessive weight gain is a symptom of some dangerous pregnancy complications. But those complications are never diagnosed based on your increasingly large fat stores. They are based on blood pressure, blood tests, urine tests, glucose tests, etc.
You will know if you’ve gained weight quickly, swollen beyond the normal amount in your ankles, legs, face and hands, or if you are having breathing issues or have heart palpitations. If you feel there’s a problem or you’ve put on severe amounts of weight for no reason (oh, except for the fact that you’re pregnant) then by all means get it checked out. Aside from that, why torture yourself?
It doesn’t define you.
You’re not more of a woman if you weigh less, or less of a woman if you weigh more.
I just made that up in my head.
It is so very true. I’m not talking about health. I’m not talking about habits. I’m simply saying… you are more than your weight. Your after all, isn’t it?
Do not have constant “how much have you gained?” or “how long did it take you to lose the weight?” conversations. These only result will be comparison, contrast, and cravings for bacon double cheeseburgers with loaded nachos and a side of death-by-brownie to smother your sorrows.
You are a child of God, a woman, a mother, and a human being whose value is not determined by the size of your love handles, muffin tops, or cankles. The value you bring to your family and community is not directly related to your clothing size. It doesn’t mean forego health or wise treatment of your body. It just means you should release yourself from constant self-criticism.
Pregnancy is a beautiful season.
It can seem interminable, difficult, and scary, but it’s miraculous and a great privilege. Don’t ruin it for yourself by obsessing over your weight gain. And I’m typing that for myself too, ladies.
I’d rather have 100 extra souvenir pounds than life without my babies.