It took me almost 30 years to embrace my body. By the time I finally was able to look in the mirror and like who I was naked without shame, I got pregnant. At first, I reasoned with myself. I thought, hey, I am already fat so my growing baby should have enough room to grow with what I have already. I figured that I would only gain about 20-30 lbs and nobody will be able to tell I was pregnant, not even me. I fooled myself and my pregnancy revealed that even though I thought I had accepted my body, I really had not. See, before pregnancy, I saw my body as fat but acceptable to some. My fatness was still measured by how acceptable my fat was/is by thin and straight-sized people in society. My pregnancy changed everything and challenged my internalized fatphobia.
I didn’t take many photos of myself after my first trimester. I gained about 25 pounds the first trimester and my face was round and red and I was always sleepy. But I was still able to take a few selfies and put makeup on still. Most importantly, I was still able to fit my clothes. My trimester was not too bad, either. I didn’t have morning sickness but I was napping a lot. Outside of gaining 25 pounds and the excruciating tooth and gum pain I felt at night, I was overall ok.
I was out five and a half months pregnant when I noticed my feet were getting wider. It was around the middle of June and I had an appointment so I wanted to wear my mary jane shoes. I opted to change my shoes once I arrived at my location and that was a big mistake. I cried in the parking lot because my feet were too swollen to fit in my shoes and I think after that, I started hiding from everyone. I didn’t want to see anyone or take photos. If it wasn’t for my baby shower, I would not have had any photos of myself pregnant. My third semester was not nice. I gained almost 85 pounds in three months. My blood pressure was all of a sudden high and I was gaining weight uncontrollably. I cried every single day. I even stopped posting to Instagram because it was depressing me. All the expecting moms on social media looked so beautiful in their sundresses and maternity shoots and here I was bloated, red in the face with ankles that looked like elephant trunks. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me. I kept asking myself, where were the plus-size moms at?
I had my baby last October and she’s a healthy little girl. I had a c-section and sometimes, I still feel like I’m still recovering from that surgery. I recall the first time I saw Danielle Brooks post that she was pregnant; I was so excited for her! She looked so healthy and stunning in each photo I saw of her and her lovely bump. Her clothes were beautiful, and the way she embraced all her curves was revolutionary. It was revolutionary because fat women are conditioned to hide and camouflage our lumps, fupa and bumps. We are taught to look smooth and put together at all times. I enjoyed seeing Danielle Brooks pregnant and free. She didn’t look like she was uncomfortable. She looked happy and it made me wish I had been happier about how I looked while I was pregnant. I birthed a beautiful baby girl and knowing I created this beautiful and smart human being hard on myself makes me sad and regretful. I should have loved myself more and been more forgiving on my body.
I don’t have to look Instagram/Influencer perfect to prove that I am happy, loved and worthy.
If I had to do it all over again, I’d take more pics during each trimester. If I have another baby, whether I gain 20 pounds or 100 pounds, I am going to keep smiling because I know it’s all for a reason.
If you are reading this and you have been overweight all of your life and find yourself pregnant, be kind to yourself. Don’t obsess over what you can and can not wear anymore. Don’t worry about how long it will take you to lose the weight. Don’t worry about any of that. Enjoy your body and what it is creating. Enjoy the moments of creating a new and wonderful life. Don’t be hard on yourself, don’t miss the important moments because of your own fears and hangups. Be fat and happy! Screw those compression garments, you are cooking up life here!