Starting Pregnancy Overweight: Not What I Would Have Planned

Like a lot of women (most women?), I worry about my weight. I am 5’3″ on a good day, and curvy, and if I don’t watch it, I can really let the pounds creep up on me. During my previous pregnancies, I generally tried not to fret too much about the weight I gained because I knew it was temporary; by the time each of my babies turned two years old, I had lost the 50 pounds I had gained during pregnancy, and I was back in my size 8 jeans. Mine are not speedy, celeb-style postpartum slimdowns, but I get there eventually, so I don’t stress.

When I got pregnant with Baby G (that would be baby #5 for those of you trying to keep track), I had just hit my goal weight again, two years and a few months after giving birth to her next oldest sibling. I still needed to firm up the weird, flabby, overhang belly-shelf that my first-ever c-section had left me, but my weight and general size were back where I wanted them to be.

Then, sure enough, during my pregnancy with G, I gained my standard 50 pounds. I gave birth to G via a second c-section on June 27th of last year, and left the hospital weighing only a few pounds less than I had weighed when I was admitted four days earlier. I was large, yes, but happy to be enjoying my new baby, and also happy that she was my last. I figured that the weight would come off slowly but surely, as it always had before. Now that I was no longer pregnant and would never be pregnant again. I couldn’t wait to get out of my maternity clothes and back into cute stuff that I actually liked. In fact, I was so eager to be done with pregnancy that only a few weeks after G was born, I donated every item of maternity clothing I’d accumulated to charity. I was elated to see a maternity-free closet. Now all I needed to do was get back down to my pre-preggo weight, and I’d be happily shopping at Anthropologie and browsing the Free People sale rack – once again wearing all my favorite brands that I can’t squeeze into when I am pregnant or postpartum-chubby.

But it turns out I shouldn’t have given those Old Navy and Target maternity dresses away so fast.  I am now in the first trimester with Surprise Baby, who will be born a mere 13.5 months after G’s arrival. Given that I became pregnant only 5 months after my last pregnancy ended, I obviously hadn’t lost much of the baby weight yet. Even before I got pregnant this time, I noticed that the weight just wasn’t coming off at the pace I would have expected. I was just about to try actually dieting when I found out that I was knocked up again.

Oy.

So now, for the first time in my life, I am starting a pregnancy while overweight. In fact, I currently weigh a whopping 33 pounds more than I did at the beginning of my last pregnancy. In other words, I am beginning my pregnancy at the same weight I was when I was 7 months pregnant last time. I find this unbelievably depressing.  NONE of my clothes fit, but I don’t yet look pregnant.  I really like clothes and shoes, but I haven’t wanted to buy anything that would fit me at this larger weight because I believed it would all come off soon. So I have been wearing the same 4 or 5 baggy dresses, both at work and at home, and I don’t have a single pair of pants of any kind that fit- not even jeans.  Now that I know that I will not be losing weight at all for the forseeable future, I guess I am going to have to break down and buy some new maternity clothes. And since I already have the body of a 7 months pregnant woman (except for the baby bump…mine is just leftover pregnancy belly flab), I guess I will have to start wearing these new maternity items immediately, just so I have something to put on.

Aside from my fashion dilemmas, I will admit that I hate feeling so fat and looking so flabby in the mirror. This doesn’t feel like my “real” body. I kind of feel like I am wearing a fat suit. When you are as short as I am, 33 extra pounds really shows. Plus, I am concerned about how much I will now gain during pregnancy. Surely I won’t gain the 50 pounds I normally do on top of the weight I already have on me? If I end up 80 pounds over my normal weight, I feel like my back and knees will give out completely.  And of course, I know that being overweight during pregnancy is associated with higher rates of complications, like gestational diabetes, which I’ve never had before.

I am stressed about this. Can you tell? I’m stressed and slightly embarrassed. I already dread stepping on the scale at my OB’s office each month. I’ll be mortified, I know.

So how about y’all? Have any of you ever started a pregnancy while overweight? Did starting the pregnancy at a higher weight affect your overall pregnancy weight gain? Did you experience any complications, and did your doctor put you on any kind of special diet? Last but not least, where in the world can I find some cute, hip maternity jeans to fit a very short person, who happens to be rather zaftig at the moment? Any hints on where to look?

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