Our guest today is Liz Jobst, mom to Henry in Oakland, CA.
I recently attended an event where I ran into some acquaintances that I had not seen in a while. Multiple people came up to me to discuss my second pregnancy. One woman even put her hand on my belly and asked when I was due. The problem with their gestures is that I am 100% positive I am not pregnant. Completely caught off guard by these inquires, the only response I could muster was, “I’m not pregnant; I just haven’t lost the first one yet.” I then moved to change the subject — to anything other than the giant whale that had appeared between us.
On a bad day, I look in the mirror and consider myself, a size 12/14, terribly fat. The truth is that I weigh about the same as before I was pregnant with my son. However, all of my weight is now concentrated in my middle. Short skirts, bring them on; my legs look fine. I just have a belly that is impossible to hide. Would I like to lose 20 pounds? Absolutely. Especially since I live in the super fit Bay Area where skinny everything are Mom norms.
I have actually heard other Moms wonder why I am too lazy (or insert other derogatory adjective here) to lose the weight. I guess since my son is no longer an infant their empathy for “baby weight” has been replaced with judgment.
On a good day, I remember that this weight problem isn’t entirely within my control. The reason I was heavier before my pregnancy is that for years I have taken a medication that produces a side effect of weight gain. The hours I have spent obsessing over this and discussing options with my doctors both then and now are innumerable. The bottom line is that my weight seems to have plateaued; as long as it doesn’t keep going up, there is no reason to change my medication. But as long as I continue to take this medication it makes it more difficult for me to shed the extra pounds. This is not an excuse; it’s an explanation, though I shouldn’t really need one.
The truth is that my body works harder for me now that it has in my entire life. I have never been on a sports team or joined a gym; until I started my current course of medication in my late twenties I was naturally thin and I never needed (or wanted) to exercise. My dad used to joke that I had “an aversion to sweat.” Now, as a stay-at-home mom, I regularly lift and carry my 30 pound 17 month old much to the dismay of my chiropractor (did I mention my family also has a history of back problems?). My son and I take long walks with our dog daily, during which I push him in the stroller around our hilly neighborhood. We dance, run, and play together; he never stops moving and it is my job to keep up.
In case you were wondering, my husband and my son are not overweight. They are both tall guys. I cook most of the family meals and I am very conscious of providing healthy, mostly organic, food for us to eat. As a family, we do not deny ourselves sugar but we are careful to eat high calorie foods in moderation. Honestly, we’re eating better now that our son is at the table than we did as a couple, because we want to model a healthy lifestyle for him.
Here is the thing, while I have officially retired the dress which made me look pregnant enough for you to comment, I would appreciate it if you asked about our family plans before assuming we had already started on number two. If you know that I’m not pregnant, then it would be great if you could celebrate my body with me instead of ridiculing it.
This body made an amazing little boy. This body is working hard to stay healthy to watch that little boy grow up. And if staying healthy for me means carrying some extra weight while I dance, run, and play with my son, I’ll take that over the option to not participate any day of the week.