Pregnancy Has Paved My Road To Self-Acceptance – Scary Mommy

  |  

Pregnancy Has Paved My Road To Self-Acceptance

pregnancy weight gain

puhhha / iStock

Hi, I’m a recovering food addict. It took me years to accept it with everything that comes with it: food dependency, distorted body image, emotional instability, diets, and binges. I was so blind to what I looked like that I was that annoying girl pointing to other girls in the street and asking, “Am I bigger than this girl? What about this one?” And then on repeat, there was “Don’t show me pictures of myself,” “Frame only my face please,” and “Oh, I look good in these jeans. Hold on, do I? No, I don’t.”

This has been my life since I can remember picking my own clothes. I could write a whole book about how I tried to use junk food to curb my craving for self-confidence but not today.

A year after my mom died, in March 2014, I reached an all-time high number on the scale and on the tag of my jeans (size, not price!). It drew a clear line. I could cross it and become obese forever, or I could decide right there and then to work on being healthy. It wasn’t a Monday; it wasn’t New Year’s. It was a random Thursday in March.

I downloaded a home workout video program that day, threw out all my junk food, meal-planned as best I could, and long story short, I lost 30 pounds in a few months and dropped four jean sizes. I was exercising daily, educating myself about cooking and nutrition, and discovering what healthy felt like. It was a brand new me! It took me two years to tame my relationship with food. My mom would not have believed it. I still giggle when I make myself a salad or snack on fruit, imagining her looking at me like I am not her daughter.

Awesome, right? But guess what didn’t change? How I saw myself. Of course I saw smaller jeans, legs a little thinner, chin somewhat less round, but I still couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without sighing in disappointment at all my flaws. It was not good enough if I still l had no idea about where I’d rank myself on a scale from Kate Moss to Jennifer Hudson pre-Weight Watchers. So I tried to keep going, for the sake of being healthy, thinking I wanted to get pregnant sometime soon. Months later, I did. I got pregnant.

First there was a month of a fun cocktail of fertility hormones and stress, and that made me gain quite a bit of weight before even getting pregnant—great. Then the first trimester kicked in, and I was so hungry that it was a daily struggle to stick to my healthy routine. Eat all the carbs and all the sugar—more weight gain, yay me! I was panicking, trying to think of ways to manage my weight and keep wearing the same jeans. The self-hate was stronger than ever, but I also needed to think about what was best for my baby to grow properly. I was trying to convince myself that my pregnancy weight gain was no biggie. I could lose it all again later after all. It was an endless battle in my head.

Then I learned I was expecting a daughter. Having always been a tomboy and counting on one hand the number of girly pairs of shoes and dresses I owned, I was hoping for a boy. It would have been too easy, and again, I could picture my mom chuckling at the turn of events. Did you do this to me Mom? Is that the lesson I had to learn all along? Well, maybe. Something clicked instantly. I started thinking about how I wanted to raise my unborn daughter, how I wanted her to avoid all the mental torture, the endless twists and turns I went through about my body, my looks, my perception of myself. I know I would have to show confidence to inspire her to love herself. I was already looking at myself differently. I was smiling at my reflection and started having moments of genuine “Hey you! Looking good today!”

I inspected my eating patterns. I needed to stop using food as a reward to myself. Oh, I worked hard this week, I deserve a pizza (am I a friggin’ dog?). I would need to maintain an overall active lifestyle, where exercise is something normal, enjoyable, and requiring little effort (a work in progress). But I would have to be subtle about it all and really handle it as a way of life, so that it would not be the excess of control that would cause my daughter similar issues with food and body image. How ironic if I turned her into a self-absorbed anorexic hottie? Balance, I had seven months left to learn balance.

Soon I noticed my perspective did a 360. The articles and online forum posts about pregnancy weight gain now seemed annoying and needy, even though I had been the weight gain check-master just a few weeks before. I was now looking at my size 8 clothes while piling on pregnancy pounds thinking, Meh, they will fit again at some point. Slowly, I started feeling on my love handles and fatty bits without being bothered, because well, I can’t really do anything right now and who cares as long as baby is well and measuring on time.

I’m not saying I am cured, that I love myself unconditionally and don’t need therapy anymore, but I have evolved in a way I didn’t expect. This little lady is not here yet, and she is already changing me for the better. For the first time, I can say to myself: I do. I do take myself as I am. I know what I am capable of doing to be and stay healthy. So for my daughter’s sake, that is what I will keep doing. Flaws and all, I’m going to keep looking in the mirror and smiling at myself.

Scary Mommy is now on Snapchat Discover

Pregnancy Has Paved My Road To Self-Acceptance

Snap or Click to join us!