Monday, April 6, 2009

Fears Follow-Up and "Silly" Fears

Thank you all for your input about your fears and worries about "obesity" and pregnancy as women of size. I think it's so important to talk about these things, and so helpful to get those fears out in the light of day.

You gave me a lot of ideas for blog entries for the future. Now I just have to find time to write 'em!!

Please note......for every person who shared their worries and concerns, you undoubtedly spoke for several others who were thinking the same thing but didn't write it.

One thing, though----don't ever worry about your particular concern being "too silly" or "trivial" to talk about here. Believe me, I've had all those "silly" and "trivial" worries too, and I've certainly heard many of them via email and support lists too. There isn't much I haven't heard of or thought of myself in my own years of childbearing, parenting, and learning about childbirth in childbirth ed and midwifery classes!

For example, while we all worry about complications in pregnancy that we might be at more risk for or how we will raise a self-confident child in a fat-phobic world, a lot of women also worry about the practical, everyday things.

Things will I ever fit behind a steering wheel in my car at 9 months pregnant? Will my car's seat belt go over my belly? What will I do for clothes? How did I get people to understand that I'm pregnant and not just getting fatter?

Things will I handle activities of daily life with a giant baby belly in the way? How will I deal with hygiene issues? Will I even be able to feel my baby move because of all the fat in the way? And even.....will my fat crush my baby? will I ever handle the embarrassment of everyone in the universe seeing my fat ass while I'm giving birth?

I've heard all of those, and more too. So don't ever worry about sharing your "silly" or "ridiculous" or "embarassing" or "trivial" fears too. Believe me, if you've thought it, someone else has too.

Soooo......what are YOUR "silliest" fears about being fat and pregnant? If you are already a mom, what were your silliest fears and did they turn out to be true? If so, how did you cope with them? What would you say to women worried about these things? How would you reassure them or what hints would you give to them about coping?

No fears are "too silly" or "trivial" or "embarassing" for us here!

*Sorry for the short post; we are back riding the Vomit Comet at our house. 2 for 4 so far. Whee-haaaaa! Ah, those fabulous parenting moments we all know and love......!!


Jill Arnold said...

"Vomit Comet" ... !!!

We hit 3 for 4, but DH would not fall. Wishes of good health to you!

Unknown said...

"Things will I ever fit behind a steering wheel in my car at 9 months pregnant? Will my car's seat belt go over my belly? What will I do for clothes? How did I get people to understand that I'm pregnant and not just getting fatter?

Things will I handle activities of daily life with a giant baby belly in the way? How will I deal with hygiene issues? Will I even be able to feel my baby move because of all the fat in the way? And even.....will my fat crush my baby? will I ever handle the embarrassment of everyone in the universe seeing my fat ass while I'm giving birth?"

Those are precisely my biggest fears.I was ashamed of posting it the other day and didn't had time when I overcame ma shame.

I do have some more.I will post them at the right place:)

Lori said...

This wasn't a fear about being fat, but I when I was pregnant with my son, I rode the campus bus to class (I was a grad student and TA at the time), and I was terrified that my water would break on the bus, in front of a bus full of horrified 18-year-olds. And that was after I got over my fear that, due to morning sickness, I'd throw up on the bus. I also had dreams where I was riding on the bus with my baby, and then left my baby on the bus when I got off.

For some reason, the bus was the source of most of my silly pregnancy fears.

orodemniades said...

Silliest fears...none of them turned to be siily, alas. I had to give up driving as I didn't fit behind the wheel, and my seatbelt couldn't extend (it doesn't when I wear a sweater and my winjter pullover). I feared a c-section and had one. I feared not being to breastfeed and here I am, weaning during my 13th month of pumping and typing one-handed. I feared not being able to exercise and ended up on 6 weeks of bedrest, ligament pain, and sciatica in one leg which has not gone away. It took 6 months post-pregnancy before I recovered from the bedrest.

Not what anyone wants to read, but, well, there it is\.

Lexi said...

I'm the VBAC momma from a couple of posts ago. I am 5'2" and my pregnant belly gets HUGE! I cannot fit behind the wheel of my car at the end of my pregnancy... at least not if I want my feet to reach the pedals. This last time I couldn't drive for three months... in the middle of winter in WI. And you know what? It isn't as bad as it seems. You get through, and get out as much as you can when someone else can drive. It's doable. Certainly not ideal, but doable. And totally worth it.

You can buy extenders for most car seat belts if it doesn't fit. I had that problem in one of my cars. Even in the passenger seat. Just be sure to get the kind that extends the belt itself and not the kind that places the buckle right over your abdomen. That could be dangerous to both you and the baby in a crash. The other trick I learned is to lay the seat all the way back, then buckle the seat belt, then raise the seat to sitting again. It can make it much easier for a seat belt that wouldn't fit to reach.

I wore sweat pants pretty much my whole pregnancy. Really big men's sweat pants. But I'm a stay at home mom and really informal anyway, so this was not a problem for me. If I wanted to look nice I wore black sweat pants. :-)

I have worried every time that I would have trouble wiping after I go to the bathroom when my belly was at its biggest. I always could. Sometimes it involved some stetching or wiggling, but I always could reach. If I ever couldn't, my plan was to use the shower sprayer.

I always felt my babies move really early, so my fat was never an issue for me on baby movement.

The biggest thing that surprised me every time? My self esteem goes sky-high when I'm pregnant. I LOVE the way my body looks when its pregnant. I feel so powerful and even erotic. Yes, despite almost crippling (at times) morning sickness. I'm not sure how someone can feel beautiful just after vomiting for the 12th time that day, but somehow, I did. Women's bodies are amazing at any size!

Anonymous said...

Some of these posts are bringing back memories! I was also in grad school when pregnant, and delivered 2 weeks after the semester ended. That spring semester, I worried that I would get stuck in the tiny one-piece desks that both my classes had. I went to the prof at the beginning of the semester and explained that I was pregnant, due at teh end of teh semester, and might need a different chair to sit in if I got too big. At the end, it was a tight fit, and I didn't have much room to relax (had to sit bolt upright) but I could still fit. I also worried that I might not look pregnant, and alas, that one DID happen. To some it was obvious, but my prof's wife and one student (who was a doctor in Saudi Arabia, no less!!) thought I was just "a big girl". That was one of teh most embarrassing moments of my life. It probably didn't help that I couldn't afford to buy cute maternity clothes, and wore my husband's old t-shirts and sweatshirts most of teh time. I wore nothing that really accentuated the baby belly. I also worried about fitting in my car, since I used to be a Road Warrior for work. That didn't end up a problem, because I am tall (5'10") and need to sit all the way back anyway. But my belly did rub a little, but not enough to be a problem. I gradually eased up my caseload before going on maternity leave, so that helped. Once on maternity leave, I really didn't drive anywhere unless absolutely neccessary. I worried most about going into labor a little early and not finishing classes, but my profs assured me that they would work something out. I ended up doing well enough that I didn't have to take the finals, and was able to stay home and work on my projects and submit them via email. As soon as I hit send on the last one, I told my belly, "Okay, baby, its safe to come out now!" 2 weeks later, my daughter was born. My husband and I are planning to start trying for #2 next cycle, and my biggest fear is that I will gain waaaaaaaay too much weight this time around, because I lost 60 lbs (from prepregnancy weight) in the last year. I only gained about 27 lbs with my daughter, but weighed 260 lbs at the beginning. I am so afraid that I will put back on all the weight I lost and then some. I am afraid of being a fat mom with fat kids. I see how people stare, and hear their comments. I try really hard to instill confidence and good eating habits in my child, so that she will be (physically and emotionally)healthy no matter what her size.

Carolyn Fox said...

I am surprised, after reading the comments that almost every person indicates having PCOS.

At 17 I was diagnosed as having PCOS by external cues (skin tags / acne / hairiness) and the fact that I was 5'8 and 230. After seeing an endocrinologist (who simply looked at me and said "yep PCOS) I was prescribed Metformin and the pill. I have been off the medication for several years but still have pain in my low abdomen, acne, hair - but have regular periods.

Here's the thing. These doctors scared me so bad about getting pregnant because of my weight and PCOS. I am practically convinced that all my lady parts must be broken! But I never received an ultrasound (I was told it was unnecessary - but how do you diagnose something without seeing it?)

So my fear is about getting unbiased health care to help determine if I am fertile or healthy enough to have a baby. Whether I will be "allowed" a midwife assisted or home birth. (As if this is somehow the privilege of the thin?)If my being fat (now 26 years old and 330lbs) would damage my baby.

Beth said...

I worried that people wouldn't be able to tell I was pregnant. I was 10 days past my due date and went to Target to buy a nursing night gown. While checking out the cashier said, "Oh, who's having a baby." I just said, "I am," and left it at that. I was less distressed about it than I thought I would have been, but I ended up not really caring as she was just some stranger. I worried about not fitting in a plane seat/seat belt when I was traveling at 5 months pregnant. I worried about the ultrasound not being able to visualize my baby well enough. I worried about not being able to find nursing bras big enough. I worried about not being able to reach down and touch the baby's head as it was crowning (I read a lot of birth stories!), but I never tested that one out.

Lady said...

DH and I are both fat and we know our kids will get it by way of genetics, no matter how much we encourage physical activity and proper nutrition in our home. My biggest fear is that people will treat our kids poorly in spite of this, and that any positive body image messages we teach will fly out the window as soon as they step foot in a doctor's office or public school or shopping center or... etc. I know I shouldn't care what other people think, but I want to protect my kids from the discrimination they're bound to be on the receiving end of. I know people will scrutinize our every move as fat parents raising OUR lovely fat children, and it bothers me terribly. For the children's sake. For now, I'm perfectly happy and in control of being pregnant and giving birth and raising babies as a BBW; the world can shove it. ;)

btw, I *LOVE* your website. I'm a doula/cbe and birth activist, as well as a HAES cheerleader, and I'm thrilled to no end to find someone putting such beautiful words to the most ardent passions of my heart. THANK YOU!!! This blog is a #1 must-read!!!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn: My sister just had a baby in December. She is 5'6", "apple shaped" and over 350lbs. She has PCOS and high blood pressure. Her pregnancy was ok. She had not prepared for the possibility of a c-section but other than that, she had an unremarkable pregnancy. She was dilated 1cm. the whole last 4 months.