Sunday, January 04, 2009

Baby fat

When I started trying to conceive, I was a normal weight. Sure, I was about 20 lbs above where I wanted to be if I was going to go parading in a bikini, but still, my BMI was nicely in the normal territory. And I hadn't always been a normal weight - I'd recently lost about 12 pounds "getting ready for baby." But, the important factor is that at that very first RE appointment, I was not overweight. And then I held pretty steady during the IUI' first. After a while, the grinding doom with each failure started mounting up. And I took solace in red wine or ice cream or pizza, or whatever the flavor of the moment was (not all at once, you understand, because I went months there giving up alcohol in case that made a difference, or caffeine, or wheat, or dairy). Or I stood on my head every day. You know, whatever might give me that extra bit of help.

By the time I started my 1st IVF cycle, I was up 7 lbs. By the time I finished it, I was up another 5 lbs. By the time I got over the depression, I don't even know. I stopped monitoring. After the 2nd IVF, I started gaining more rapidly. Another 12 went on by the time of my 3rd or 4th egg retrieval. By the last one, I'd gained 37 lbs. 37! I was technically obese at that point, which I'd never been before.

I hated myself for it. And yet, getting through the day without killing myself or anyone else became oh so much more important than my weight. And if a bottle of wine helped me get through, then that's what I had. And then of course there's the infertility diet where we're supposed to have full fat dairy - I threw myself into that one with gusto.

But you know one thing I hated myself for the most? It was that I didn't have a public "excuse" for it. Our society accepts that women will gain weight when they give birth. Although not everyone does. But everyone talks about the baby weight, and losing it (or not). All of that "eating for two" is condoned. But me? I just felt like I had no right to have ballooned. Especially when I was talking to people who didn't know what I was going through - I would just mumble and say something feeble about just getting fat and old. But I would cringe inside.

So I have decided that I'm going to "own" my baby weight. THIS is my baby weight. It's the weight I wouldn't have gained had it not been for infertility. I do have an "excuse" for it - a damn good one. Yes, other women get fat having babies. I got fat trying to have a baby. So what if my coping mechanisms didn't involve an hour at the gym like perhaps would have been healthier. It was damn hard - the hardest thing I've ever been through, and actually, I'm proud to have got through it at all instead of curling into a ball and giving up on life like I wanted to so many times.

That's not to say that I'm not trying to lose the weight. Oh no. 2009 is my year of getting thin again - I have made a promise to myself. I'm not going to beat myself up any more for having gained it, but I'm also not going to cling on to this baby weight either. Part of transitioning to my new life is to shed it and not look back. Goodbye chub!


Megan said...

I feel you. I'm scared to weigh myself after this IVF cycle. Here's to a healthy 2009.

Dora said...


Almamay said...

I gained 4 stone (50% of my weight) on the antidepressant I was on two years ago and the IVFs didn't help. I was depressed because I was infertile and I think the antidepressant didn't help my mood and the weight got me down. Vicious circle.

I can't wait to hear about your adventures in acupuncture school. Are you starting tomorrow?

I have a very good feeling about this year for you. I feel it is going to be magical. No idea why but it is a very strong feeling. x

Billy said...

I love your approach!

And may 2009 be the year in which you shed all your baby fat and return to be the thin Sarah you once were.

calliope said...

so so hear you on this. I was in a constant cycle of GAIN- whether it was from the meds or from the depression between failed cycles. sucks ASS.

T said...

"And yet, getting through the day without killing myself or anyone else became oh so much more important than my weight. And if a bottle of wine helped me get through, then that's what I had."

Geez, I didn't even feel you in my brain.

Yes, yes and yes - the shame of it coupled with the shame of infertility was a lot of fun. I may have to link to this post. Ok with you?