I had so much fun writing the last post about finding out I was pregnant. If you missed it, you can read about it here.
That moment of finding out and sharing it with my husband was such bliss. I wish I could say that’s how it’s been ever since. Unfortunately, within minutes, fear had taken over. The rest of the day was filled with nausea and being so paralyzed with fear that the only thing I could bring myself to do is google things like “obese pregnancy risks” and “how overweight is too overweight to be pregnant?” More nausea. More fear. I knew I was in shock. I knew that a conversation with my doctor would help. I knew that prayer would help. I knew that these feelings would pass. And as we’ve moved forward, they have. At my first appointment, my doctor gave me a list of complications and risks involved with an overweight pregnancy. She also told me that if I worked hard to eat healthy, minimize my weight gain, and walk to help get in the best shape for labor possible, she would do everything she could on her end to make sure the baby and I were okay. Exit some of my fears. We came up with an action plan and a schedule to help me stay on track and it turns out when you have morning sickness to the extent that I did, you actually can lose weight. Exit some more fear. I talked with other women who have had overweight pregnancies and they gave me advice and told me about some of the things they struggled with along the way. More fears released.
But another feeling that I never imagined crept up on me and took hold on me. It’s a feeling that I think can be felt by a lot of people in a lot of situations, but we don’t necessarily talk about it. It’s not happy and light-hearted. It doesn’t make us smile and all around it kind of sucks. Shame. This shouldn’t have happened. I don’t deserve to be pregnant. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I didn’t work hard enough and lose enough weight. This shouldn’t be. What will people around me think? They must think I’m so irresponsible. I don’t deserve this. This shame, which some days still has a hold on me, has been so much more crippling than my morning sickness, or the exhaustion that comes along with pregnancy. It has caused me to not want to talk about our pregnancy with my husband or our families. It has made me self conscious when interacting with friends. This shame has made me even more introverted and withdrawn at a time where communication could only be beneficial for me. I’ve spent the last 3 months over analyzing everything anyone says to me until it somehow becomes judgmental and condemning in my mind.
I’ve been trying for these 3 months to figure out what gets me to this place. It is because I constantly feel pressure to choose between one end of the spectrum of society that values health and fitness more than anything in life and the other end that says we are all beautiful the way we want to be and losing weight is just conforming to other’s views of you? Is it because people in my life might genuinely disapprove of choices I make in my life? Is it because I’ve tended to feel like I don’t belong in a lot of situations in life? Is it just because I have raging hormones? I cannot tell you.
I wish this was one of those well-rounded posts that has a clear solution and a fool-proof plan of attack. It isn’t. I don’t know the cure to shame. I think it might be a life-longs struggle for me as I go from one stage of life to the next. What I do know, however, is that on the days when I feel it creeping up on me, I can look at this:
That’s our baby. No matter how I feel, or if I feel like I deserve them, they’ve been given to us. I get to be their Mommy and Emanuel gets to be their Daddy. Like I said, I have no cure for shame – but I do think if you can pull yourself out of it and take a step back, it just doesn’t seem as big as the joy.