Have you ever been dying to experience something, and it turned out so much different than you thought?
At the time of this post, I am 29 weeks pregnant. Not just pregnant, though, I’m “obese” and pregnant according to my BMI (and my previous midwife that I “fired”).
It’s no surprise to me how much I weigh or what my body looks like. I mean, I see myself in the mirror on the daily, and I LOVE what my body has been capable of. But, man, doctors will sure make you question everything, won’t they?
My first midwife, at my first appointment with her, took my weight and blood pressure. Immediately because of my BMI she started prescribing me with pills and wanted to label me high risk. She hadn’t had any blood work done, hadn’t even asked me if I was active or cared to know if I was actually healthy. She asked me, in a weird tone, “do you eat vegetables?”. And she was shocked when I revealed the answer “yes” to her. Because, unfortunately, the BMI spoke for me.
Side note, I do not like the BMI because it doesn’t take into consideration ethnic body forms and it is strictly based on an “average” that was created when God knows when.
According to Medical News Today:
“BMI alone may be a misleading measurement of someone’s overall health, particularly for people who are very muscular, are peri- or postmenopausal, or have abdominal fat but are otherwise a moderate weight.”
So, yeah, I have issues with it being used a pre-cursor to how I’m being viewed as a patient. .
So there was my dilemma, a time when I should’ve been celebrating my pregnancy, I was being reminded by this doctor that I wasn’t “healthy”. That is until my lab results came back and it proved that ya girl is completely healthy.
No preeclampsia, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, no problems with my blood whatsoever. So why did she prescribe me those pills in the first place? Pills I never took by the way.
I decided, I wanted a different midwife that actually cared about how I wanted to approach my pregnancy, and I found her. She gave me foods I could eat to help my blood pressure stay normal. Things I could find in my daily nutrition to keep me weight-leveled, and she didn’t prescribe me any pills after she learned that I would rather find it in foods! She actually listens to me, and it has been fantastic ever since.
But that’s not why I am writing this post, although I just waisted a minute of your life reading it. I am writing because of what I thought pregnancy would be.
As a woman that is plus size, I’m not ignorant of the fact that there is a lack of representation of the levels of plus size bodies that exist in this world. You have some in the corner pockets of the internet like Tess Holiday, Arielle Estoria, Lizzo, etc. But not really a ton.
What I didn’t know is that the representation of pregnancies in plus size bodies were even smaller. I went scouring the internet like any woman would do to see what my belly could possibly look like once I started showing, and constantly I was given images of women that were not plus size. Or women that were plus size, but I…to be honest, wasn’t pleased.
I had my own phobia of what a plus size pregnancy would look like.
We all dream of the “D” belly when we are pregnant, right? The “D” belly is what you see when you are looking at pregnant women. A rounded belly that resembles the rounded part of the capital letter “D”. But with all the plus size bellies I came across, there were a lot of “B” bellies. Bellies that had a couple of rounds that separated the uterus and the fatter parts of the stomach. I was not happy to learn that it was even an option for me.
I was part of my own problem!
No one tells you that “D” and “B” bellies are both perfectly normal. You almost literally have to find support groups for it. So it isn’t normalized in our pregnant community. I had to do some real soul searching.
One day I was talking to my husband after checking myself out in the mirror for the umpteenth time. I told him, “man…B belly here I come, I guess.” He then told me, “you know that if your stomach ends up like that, it’s okay and you’ll just have to accept it, right?”
That was a hard truth I didn’t want to hear. I would have to accept it.
But hearing those words turned on the light bulb in my soul, what the hell was I doing?! The important thing wasn’t if I looked pregnant, whether I had a “D” or “B” belly, or whether or not my little boob would decide to grow (a moment I can now laugh about), it was about the health of my child and being able to carry this baby in the best positive environment I possibly could!
Although it has been a long time coming (almost 7 months actually) I am finally looking at myself like…it doesn’t matter what that belly looks like. That baby needs a mama that will love herself enough to keep us both healthy until the end.
So, depending on what I wear, people that don’t know I’m pregnant can sometimes tell by the round in my belly. If I have a loose shirt on, I could still get a way with hiding it if I wanted to.
This morning, I took a photo of myself, looking at my belly without my cami, without my maternity pants, and without judgement. I have literally carried a baby girl in this womb and I’m watching as she takes up space that I am trusted to house.
Although, when I am around people that know me, I will sometimes get “wow you don’t look pregnant at all”, I have to stop myself from getting so offended. Or maybe I should be offended… Because I want to look pregnant. I don’t think telling me that I don’t, is a compliment. It’s actually a slap to the face with something I’ve been personally dealing with for majority of my pregnancy.
I feel like telling someone that they don’t look pregnant, is like telling someone that’s been trying to lose weight that they don’t look like they’ve lost anything at all.
Would you want someone saying that to you when you know you’ve lost 10 pounds already?
So I guess, because I’ve typed a novel here, I’m asking those of you that speak before thinking…Please…think…Not just about the size of the woman’s belly, or the fact that you can/can’t tell they are pregnant, but think about the possibility of the struggles this woman may be dealing with.
I love this belly, it’s shape, it’s ability to house baby girl for these last 6.5 months, and that God blessed me with this gift. I love that feeling of playing tag with her kicks, and seeing her move around like mama doesn’t feel pain. I love these moments I am experiencing.
And I’m also learning to let those positive experiences overshadow the not so positive ones.
If you are struggling to see your pregnant body as anything less than beautiful, trust me I have been there. Besides all the hormone changes we go through, I know it can be a roller coaster. But just know this:
Whatever your bump looks like, it is perfectly normal. Let your body form like it’s supposed to. It knows what it’s doing, and we shouldn’t shame it for doing exactly what it was created to do.
I preach that we should love our curves, every roll, nook and cranny. I’m now adding, that we should also love the imperfectly perfect rounded view of our womb. Don’t let the media make you feel ashamed of that.