Saturday, April 21, 2007

Things Nobody Tells You About Being Pregnant, Part 3: Weight Gain

Ok, so we all know that pregnant women gain weight. Typically 25 pounds or so over the course of the pregnancy. You can find all sorts of cool charts on the internet that tell you how much you should gain when and what that extra poundage is actually made up of. That's all well and good. But what nobody tells you is how you will feel about actually gaining that weight, and the stupid things people will say to you about it.

When you actually get pregnant, you don't see many physical changes for a while. So when you actually do start to grow that bump and the weight starts to add on, it's actually a little surprising. I mean, you knew it was coming, you just hadn't seen any so far, so you're thinking maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones that people can only tell you're pregnant if they look at you from the side. And maybe you will be that lucky. But you still gain weight. And when it starts coming, it comes fast.

I have never struggled with my weight. In fact, we don't even own a scale. Not that I'm against having one - we used to have one. But it was a piece of junk and it got thrown away in one of our many moves. I never felt the need to purchase another one, so we are without. I have always gauged my weight by my clothes - if they got a bit tight, it was time to slack off on the junk and step up the workout. I have a general idea of what I weigh, and don't typically seek out a scale on a regular basis. But when I got pregnant, I decided I was going to keep tabs on it. Not be psycho about it or anything, but weighing once a week should be just fine for me. And how to accomplish this since I don't own a scale? Two words: Weight Watchers.

No, I don't go to Weight Watchers meetings. But they are held weekly at my place of business. And they store their scales in a room adjacent to my office. So once a week I slip into the scale storage room and weigh myself. Now, these ladies are pretty serious about their scales. They have three sets of doctor-quality scales. They calibrate them every week - to the ounce. I've seen them do it. And they have them marked so that you can be sure to use the same scales each week - just in case they weigh differently. They don't mess around with this stuff. So I know that when I do my weekly weigh-in, it is quite accurate. The problem comes when I weigh in at the doctor's office, and the numbers come out quite differently than my friendly Weight Watchers scales say they should.

Now, part of the problem is the scales at the doctor's office. If your doctor's office is like mine, they must have about 83 sets of scales, tucked into every closet and corner they can fit one into. In all of my visits, I don't think I've stepped onto the same scale twice. And they all weigh differently. You know what I mean. Every woman has a general idea of what she weighs when she sees the doc, and so she knows what that scale should read when she steps on it. Some of the scales at my doctor's office are spot-on. Others weigh a bit heavy. I've never stepped on one that I thought weighed light, though - imagine that. And since probably 100 people have stepped on those scales before me that very day, even if they were calibrated first thing that morning (which I highly doubt), they've had ample opportunity to get off before I stepped on.

Then there's the problem of the water. Before your ultrasound(s), your doctor is likely to have you drink copious amounts of water - and then tell you you're not allowed to go to the bathroom for a while. Then, while every single one of your internal organs is sloshing around from all of that water, they ask you to step onto a scale. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon. So since my doctor has requested that I drink one quart of water prior to my appointment (1/4 gallon), that's two extra pounds I'm carrying around that I would like to get rid of before I have to be weighed. But no - they must weigh you first thing. This is the point where it wouldn't matter if you took your shoes off - or stripped off every stitch of clothing you had on. It wouldn't make make up for that two extra pounds of liquid you would like so desperately to get rid of.

And the places on your body you actually gain the weight may surprise you. The phrase "love handles" and "me" had never entered my vocabulary until this past week. And not that it's obvious to anyone other than me - at least for now. But they're there - they've started to form and I'm afraid of what else might pop up - or out, as the case may be. There are certain places on my body I might not mind adding a little volume. But since I'm not allowed to control where this weight goes, discussing that is pointless.

On to the stupid comments you'll hear. The only times people feel they can openly discuss your weight in front of you is if you are skinny or pregnant. These are the people I like to call Weighters. They're more concerned about your weight than you are, and are making it their business to check up on you. I have been thin all my life, so you'd think I would be used to it by now. I guess you get used to what you hear, not the actual subject matter. Because I would be just fine if no one ever asked me about my weight ever again, especially while I'm pregnant. Maybe that's the hormones talking, but you really can't blame everything on them. I just don't think it's anyone else's business.

To whom else would someone say, "Man, you've really popped out there," or "How much have you gained so far?" Or here's one of my favorites, "Wow, you're really starting to get big." And the most annoying so far, "It's nice to see you finally gaining a little weight." If you were to say those things to someone who, say, has gained 10 pounds in the last few months for whatever reason (besides pregnancy), you'd probably better duck, because you're likely to be hit. Actually, you probably wouldn't say that, because it would be considered rude, mean, offensive, and tacky. But say it to a pregnant woman all you want, because apparently the rules don't apply there.

And then there are the people who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Feeders. They remind you frequently that "You're eating for two," and constantly try to shove food in your face. Duh. Like you didn't realize that the little alien thing squirming around in your belly was "utilizing all system resources," as Husband says. But that doesn't mean you can eat 14 donuts or 3 helpings of mashed potatoes. In fact if you do, you'll likely be miserable. But you can't convince these people that you haven't turned into a human garbage disposal.

And then, the last category: the Smarty Pants friends who think it's funny that you're pregnant and take every opportunity they can to call you "fat." Let me just warn all of you Smarty Pants out there - watch out. Because the novelty only lasts so long. And ticking off a pregnant woman is never a very good idea. So be very careful when you choose to use the "f" word, because said at the wrong time, it might just get your head knocked off.

Maybe that's why the graphic tee that says, "Pregnant, not fat" has become so popular lately. Too many Weighters, Feeders, and Smarty Pants in the world. Get a hobby, people.

Entire What Nobody Tells You Series:

Part 1: You Always Have To Pee
Part 2: Snot and Boogers
Part 3: Weight Gain
Part 4: Clothes and Fashion
Part 5: The Ugly Baby
Part 6: The Loaded Question
Part 7: The Gear
Part 8: Your Crazy Mind

And then:

Some Pregnancy Advice
Some MORE Pregnancy Advice Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Problem is - you don't understand your new place in the universe! See, once you become pregnant and are destined to become a parent you are part of this paradigm shift in the universe. You are now one of US! :)

    And since you are one of us...we feel compelled to initiate you. Yes, it is much like a college hazing. Senseless, even mindless activities to test your mettle.

    Believe me...comments about your weight are only just the beginning! There are the belly touchers (my most dreaded enemy!) and the advice givers.

    Problem is...they all mean well. Someone treated them like this and their memory banks are filled with all these actions and reactions - and they just spill out when they get around someone that triggers their memories!

    Welcome to your new place in the universe! You now have the power of the Parent!