My body as a guessing game
Somewhere in the midst of my third trimester, my body became an object of speculation. My favorite was when people would ask me if I knew the gender of my baby. When I'd say no, they'd check out how fat my butt was getting and say, "It's probably a girl." I'd reply, "I dunno. I've always had a large ass." I was much nicer to people who thought I was having a boy. "Really? You think?" I'd respond, glad they didn't see me as a giant marshmallow.
One day, I was flagging a cab on the street when a woman came up and asked when my twins were due. "I'm just having one baby," I replied. "I'm large and in charge. Have a nice day!" I wanted to slap her. I wanted to cry.
I wish I could say that my weight issues disappeared once I was in the delivery room. But soon after I was in the hospital bed, a nurse came in and asked my weight. I made my husband leave the room because I didn't want him to know I was 205 pounds. I probably weighed more than he did, and he's a big 6'2" guy. But pain soon dulled the embarrassment. As I watched my contractions on the monitor, my size was the last thing on my mind. I was having a baby and it was miraculous.
As soon as my daughter was in my hands I was worried so much less about me and so much more about her. Was she okay? Was she warm? I had already learned the first lesson of motherhood: There's no time for self-absorption.
Almost three years after she was born, I gave birth to twins. If only that lady on the street could have seen how big I was before I had them! I was around 230. The twins are almost 18 months old now, and I still have 20 pounds I'd like to lose. And as much as I want to shed the weight to wear the latest fashions, I have a better motivation: to be as healthy as possible for my precious kids.
I recently asked my husband what it was like for him to see his wife's body change so much. He said that he was in awe of what I was able to do -- grow and deliver our beautiful babies, and even nourish them with my milk. And you know what? I honestly feel the same way.
Christina Boyle is a Babytalk contributing editor.