I’m 16 weeks in and I don’t look pregnant enough.
Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a “I wish to bodypaint my tummy with spirals and run around rejoicing in the womyn-ly* curves of my mystyryos* lyfe-bestowing* belly” thing. I’m just sick of being too big to look good but too small to be pregnant.
This is mainly my own fault for knowing how best to hide my beer gut. As a natural apple shape (or as I see it, a beer barrel) who likes her food and drink (also a cheese barrel) my abs have been missing in action since my early 20’s. I’m an Australian size 14 (that’s about a UK14-16, or USA10-12) and most of my clothes are a little loose on the waist and designed to skim gently over my porkier areas.
So, at 16 weeks in, I’ve just edged out of my normal clothing comfort-zone and pushed into the “maybe you should try the next size up”. Which is great in some ways, as I haven’t needed maternity gear yet, but crap in others as I just look like I have really let myself go**. I keep catching sight of my tubby tummy and thinking “you need to lose weight!” and then remembering that I only get to lose weight in 5 months after some of it has ripped its way out of my vagina.
And it turns out I was completely wrong about my expectations of weight gain during pregnancy. I figured, if I was looking at a 3kg(7lb) baby, plus a little extra for placenta and fluid, then my probable healthy weight gain should be about 5-6kgs. I was off by about 100%. The average recommended weight gain is 11kg to 16kg (25lb to 35lb) and, even for someone who is already over-weight like me, they recommend gaining between 7kg and 11kg (15lb to 25lb).
Where the hell does all that extra weight go? As it turns out, a lot of weight in infrastructure, and the child itself is about a quarter of the gain.
|The actual baby weight. Skinny damn baby in a huge fucking house, I tell you.||3.3||7.3|
|The placenta (do not eat, no matter what people say).||0.7||1.5|
|Amniotic fluid – like a bouncy castle for your kid!||0.8||1.8|
|Muscle layer of uterus (womb) growth as it Hulks up in preparation.||0.9||2|
|Blood volume increase (about 20%) making you fecking boiling hot at room temperature.||1.2||2.6|
|Retaining ALL the water – lots of extra fluid.||1.2||2.6|
|Boobs! Pass Go, go up a cup size.||0.4||0.9|
|Does my fat look fat in this? Some extra fat for breast-feeding stores.||4||8.8|
|Total extra weight||12.5kg||27.5lb|
It’s one hell of lot of belly to get used to, mind. I have read various admonitions that I should be fine with, or actively rejoice in, my change in shape. If being curvy is so bloody womanly, how come no one ever told me to embrace my beer belly, hmm? Where the fuck were “the feminine is a curve” people when I went to the USA for 4 months and gained 5kgs in beer and grease weight? Well?
And truth be told, while I am a long way off doing a Demi Moore and posing naked (you can all breath a sigh of relief), I’m not that fussed about the gain. I’ve put on about 2-3kgs and there’s more to come. It’s for a good reason and I’ll cope fine with looking pregnant. Once I finally look pregnant and not just plain old fat.
* It’s more mystical if you misspell everything, apparently. I know this because of my Wimmin’s Intuition.
** Please note: I’m a firm believer that you should work with your shape and your health, and know that size 12-14 is my fit-and-happy weight. Over that, I start to look and feel bad. I’m not saying it’s everyone’s ideal. Whatever size you are, provided you are happy with it and think you look good, more power to you.