I’m not fat, I’m… well, fat.

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.

Rejoice in my belly, bitches!

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.

kgs pounds
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

All in, that’s an expected gain of about 12.5kgs, of which only 4kgs are actual fat.

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.

8 thoughts on “I’m not fat, I’m… well, fat.

  1. It won’t be too long before you explode out of the “might just be fat” and into “definitely pregnant” which makes it much easier to deal with the weight gain – until you reach the “can’t move” point. Which I hear with “just one” baby is like *ages* into the whole thing.

    Also, I can probably foist some maternity clothes on you when you’re over in May if you’d like. Some of them have come via Francesca – her clothing taste is much better than mine!

    I gained ~30kg during my pregnancy and the IVF treatments leading up to it (about 7kg of that was IVF drugs + steroids that they gave to me in the first trimester). 2 weeks post birth 20kg of that was gone – without diet or exercise. Auto-weightloss has stopped now, unfortunately though 🙂

    1. *nods* One thing I have learned from talking to friends is that there is not so much an “average” pregnancy as a median one – I have friends who put on 25kg+ and others who actually lost weight while pregnant. I seem to heading for median at the moment, but it’s early days yet… 20kgs in 2 weeks is fascinating though – how does it feel? Do you feel different?

      And if you have maternity wear you can spare, I’d love to have a look and see if some fit – this who being preggers thing is currently making buying a horse look like an investment.

      1. I feel lighter! The ground is no longer the mythical “faraway country” where fallen things go, but I cannot follow. My knees and hips do not creak and cause agonising pain when I stand up from a sitting position – which I can now do unaided 😀

        (As you can tell, the last couple of months of pregnancy where “fun” for me!)

        Of course, I’m still huge, but I feel good that I’ll be able to lose it – albeit slowly – over the next year.

        I’m currently still wearing some maternity trousers, but I’m seriously hoping to be out of them by May! I even have maternity shorts and work trousers that might be useful? Also maternity swimsuit via Francesca which was great because in water gravity can’t get you!

        It’s a shame you’re so far away because timing would really work out regarding passing baby-stuff on to you as well 😦

  2. A maternity swimsuit would be the BOMB as the bloody things are about 150 here (oddity of Aus – swimsuits, coats and shoes are really expensive for some reason). I am coming over with a light suitcase so can bring some stuff back with me if you guys would like to be rid of a few things, and my Mum will be coming out in Sept/Oct if that’s any help.
    Also, and for no reason honest, you guys like Pinot Noir, right? What are your feelings on Shiraz or dessert wines?

  3. I put on 20kg with my son. And it was mostly not fat too, because I lost all of it within a month of him being born. Hello, massive fluid retention. I looked like a land-bound blimp!

    1. I am also retaining water like a sponge – I look like a manatee who overindulged at Christmas at the moment. I do rather like the idea of gaining 11kgs (my doctor recommended amount) and then having 20kgs fall off but I suspect, sadly, that it will not work that way.

  4. Sometimes your weight during pregnancy is going to do what it wants to do. Some people gain heaps no matter what and then there are the freaks like me who LOST 12kgs (and a show size) in the process. I don’t recommend that, btw…8 months of involuntary bulimia is not fun.

    Also, some people lose the weight right away, some people don’t. There is no standard pregnancy or post pregnancy experience. Either way, your body will never be exactly the same as it was. It won’t be better or worse, it’ll just be different.

    I was already overweight when I got pregnant and then lost 12kgs so even at 6months people couldn’t really tell I was pregnant. At 9months I looked maybe 6months along and since I was carrying transverse, I never really got a well defined bump. I had bump envy!

    Whatever happens, your experience will be your experience. It probably won’t abide by charts or predictions. Just try to enjoy it.

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