I gained 35 pounds over the nine-plus months of waiting for my baby, but it didn't really bother me. It was within the healthy range. I remember happily existing on bagels and Pringles and spaghetti. I couldn't stomach chicken or salmon, or anything remotely healthy or good for me.
I was so anxious that I didn't start actually showing until my fifth month of pregnancy. I thought there was something wrong with me, or the baby. Now I realize it just took a while to show on my then-slim frame. After month five, though, there was no turning back, and my body blossomed and housed a miraculous magic show in my womb.
I was as shocked as anyone when I promptly lost those 35 pounds of pregnancy weight in about a month after giving birth. I was breastfeeding, but my supply was incredibly low, so we were also supplementing with formula.
I probably didn't take care of myself as well as I could have at the time by eating regularly, but I was consumed by the fact that my daughter was constantly starving and extremely colicky. Postpartum depression also had me in its teeth.
When I gave up breastfeeding at four months and got my sense of self back, I also began taking the birth control pill again. Within a few months the number on the scale started to creep up and my clothes were no longer hanging off of me. I didn't mind being 138 pounds. I still felt comfortable in my skin, and I knew I looked healthy.
Now it's three years later, and I'm no longer under 140, or even 150. It's tough to know if there are any other culprits in my weight gain besides me. Do antidepressants increase the chances of putting on pounds and stimulating your appetite? Maybe. Does stress eating and carb-loading (especially at certain times of the month) hurt? Definitely.
In the last few months I've noticed myself experiencing scary low blood sugar episodes where I'll feel my heart pounding rapidly and my craving for something sweet skyrocketing. My hands will start shaking and I'll have to stop whatever I'm doing to get some juice into me. These crashes led me to my naturopath, who thought it would be a good idea to order insulin testing.
On doctor's orders, I went to McDonald's one morning and ate the entire pancake and maple syrup breakfast, every last sickeningly sweet bite. Two hours later, I got my blood taken. The results showed my insulin was about two times what it should have been, which means my body is producing a lot of extra insulin just to try and deal with the sugar hitting my bloodstream.
I have an appointment with an endocrinologist in the fall, but it's sort of been a wake-up call. Since I have polycystic ovaries (PCOS), it puts me at an increased risk for type-2 diabetes. It's scary to think I could be heading down that path and putting my health in jeopardy.
I'll find out more in October, but for now I'm trying to make small changes and start healthier eating habits. It's really hard to say no to that caramel Frappuccino on a hot day. It's so easy to toast a bagel for breakfast in the morning. It's tempting to stay inside when it's raining and not bother walking.
But none of these things are helping me. Going low-carb is intimidating, and I worry that I'll always be hungry, but if it fixes my fatigue and crashes and cravings for sweets, it would be worth it to give up bread and pasta and potatoes.
I've learned to accept and embrace my body in all its incarnations over the years, and I know having a baby will change your shape forever, but I just want to be comfortable in my own skin again. I don't want a big belly, or to feel my pants pinching. I want to be able to keep up with my daughter when she's running.
I don't need to be a size two or four or six, but I'd like to drop a couple sizes. I could care less about fitting into skinny jeans, but maybe putting my intentions on social media will help me hold myself accountable, even though it's tough to reveal such vulnerability.
I know my girl and my husband love me whatever weight I am, but I want to be more at ease with the woman I see in the mirror. I don't want to keep having to buy new clothes that fit me or feel self-conscious about what people think when they see me. It's terrible when you feel like you've lost control of your body, so I'm determined to try some new things and see if I can get back to feeling like me.