I ran into our doula, Molly, on my way out of Bloomingfoods on Saturday. It is always fabulous to see Molly because she reminds me of Matthew and all that is good about April 19th (Matthew's birth day!) Molly is always so funny - obviously when you allow someone into your birth room, it changes your relationship with them. She said something to me that stuck in my craw - that actually intrigued me enough to write about her. She said when mothers take classes at BABS (B-town Area Birth Services - the hippie dippy regime here in B-town that offers information on all things baby - it rocks but man do they take a pretty hard line on babies over all...) she sees people around town and they will stop her and say hi. She always has to think hard about who is who because she always sees women when they are REALLY pregnant. They look different and to her - she said they actually look emaciated after birth.
Doula Molly's little flip comment struck me because I have been doing a lot of "mental" prep for next year. I want to plan and prepare for this next pregnancy the way I never had a chance to with Matthew. It is interesting how we perceive ourselves while pregnant. We believe we look horrible and even when someone delivers a compliment to us we doubt it because 'Great Scot, I look like the bloody Good Year Blimp and how can you miss that?!' But truly we look normal. We look the way we are supposed to as pregnant women. We look FULL of life.
I gained weight during my first pregnancy. I found myself 172.5-173 during the last six-eight weeks of a pregnancy. I mostly ate what I wanted within reason - let me note: I do not eat fast foods and I am not a big fan of junk food per say. When I say I ate what I wanted I mostly enjoyed all the fresh cheeses, high fat yogurts, breads, and frozen dessert treats I wanted. Things I only allowed myself pre-pregnancy on very special occasions. I ate larger portions then I did pre -pregnancy but I listened to my body and it was asking for that - seriously. I would eat a normal portion and I would be dizzy, cranky and irritable if I did not eat more. My body needed more! I gained weight because my body needed to - I was underweight when I started my pregnancy and I never looked back. I worked out VERY moderately and generally tried not to fret about weight gain during and even after. Basically, until I stopped breast feeding essentially which was at around the time Matthew was 20-21 months old.
The interesting thing is that while I gained close to 58 pounds during the 1st pregnancy - it was quickly removed afterward. Not only that but I looked good. I looked great in fact! I did not see it at the time but I had a round happy glowing look (okay some of that was the glow of acne which I suffered with from the moment I conceived...) I also lost 20 lbs about 12.5 seconds after Matthew was born and within weeks of birth I was down to 140. Sure I gained weight but I also gained what I needed to and then I STOPPED gaining weight. I topped out at 173 and never went over. It was actually quite amazing to watch the scale during pregnancy. I thought there was no end to the weight gain but there was.
When Molly said post pregnancy women look emaciated after birth, they do. They are no longer supporting life within them. Their bodies are beginning the slow road to recovery from supporting that life. More to the point, it is a beautiful amazing thing to carry a baby in your body and we do not look "fat", we look amazing.
As we are heading toward fall, I am getting more excited for 2008. I am looking forward to beginning this next phase of our lives. The expansion of our family. There is so much to look forward to in 2008... hopefully a new baby, a new car, updates to our house, my job and life with 2 versus 1.
I was not fully sure about having 2 for a very long time but after seeing Molly... after thinking hard about all that is wonderful about having a baby... That pensive worry in the pit of my stomach is slowly easing up. We have a plan and we are working our plan. I am thrilled and excited for the coming year... and hopefully Molly will be there again to share that joy!