I've Gained 30 Pounds

I don't own a scale. I've never owned a scale. 

But when you're pregnant, people want to weigh you, and by people I mean midwives and OBs and whatnot. Plus me. I'm fascinated by such things. 

Last week, I walked into my temporary midwife's office and weighed myself. (This midwife no longer attends births, but since I fired my other midwife not too long ago, she agreed to do prenatal care until I figure out what's next.)

With more than a touch of shock, I saw that I'd gained 30 pounds in a little more than three months. 

Now, some of this was entirely predictable. I am slender and always have been. When I was pregnant with my son seven years ago, I had the distinct sense that my thighs were like, "Oh hell no! We are not going to go around being pregnant with thighs this tiny." (Btw, as a former soccer player, I always wanted massive, muscular thighs. Somewhat to my dismay, I've never had massive thighs.)

The other part is that nausea is, for me, abated by almost nothing but food. A "snack" is a ridiculous idea to my pregnant self. I need a full meal. And I need it now, or else I'm going to turn green. (Ginger tea? Acupuncture? More protein? Magnesium? Homeopathy? I have harsh words for anyone who insists these are cure-alls.) This pregnancy has been way harder than previous ones, and my hunger and, in fact, I still get nauseated sometimes, even though I am well into my second trimester, and I still need to eat a ridiculous amount of food - like the plate of steak, mashed potatoes and green beans that served as my second breakfast today. 

With all that in mind, I didn't blink an eye at my first 20 pounds. I was SURE the weight gain was going to slow down. In fact, I was sure I'd gain less weight overall this time than the 40 pounds total I'd gained with my son. 

But here I am, 18 weeks pregnant (no weight gain those first 4-5 weeks) and 30 pounds heavier.

And let's be clear: it ain't all belly. Shirts don't fit around my upper arms. 

I have a few things to say about this.

The first is that I am like every woman in our culture who is told that thin is beautiful. In the beginning, when the weight gain was accompanied by horrible nausea and fatigue, I just felt awful in my body, and could feel the echos of those messages from the overculture, like the weight gain was "wrong," an aberration of who I am supposed to be in the world.

The second is that I came to see how thinness for me - and in my body thinness implies a certain amount of non-genderedness, as I have narrow hips and small breasts - is a way of not being seen, in the way that some larger women find their largeness to make them less visible. I felt exposed in this new presentation, and waaaay to womanly, in ways that elicit all the fear and vulnerability inherent in the need for the #metoo movement. It was interesting to unearth this in myself with such clarity. 

But here's what's really remarkable to me: When it came to movement, to carrying this body through my life, I would never have guessed that I'd gained THAT much weight. That's why I was so taken aback in my midwife's office!

Gaining 30 pounds in such a short period of time is no small thing. It creates an entirely different set of loads on all the tissues of the body, whether it's the feet, the pelvic floor, the lateral hips,  or the arms (and actually, a sudden decrease in the ability of my arms to support my body weight - as in push-ups, eg - was my primary indicator that the weight had dramatically risen).

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I still get up and down off the ground a bajillion times each day. 

I hike for hours with my family. 

I haven't once peed my pants when sneezing or running or jumping or dancing. 

I have no pain - my knees are good, my back is good, my hips are good.

My core is doing it's thing. 

I squat for rest. 

Sure, I know all the stuff that is "off" in my body. I could tell you the ways that I don't have as much mobility or strength as I'd like. I could highlight my hyperkyphosis and my hypermobile finger joints and my limited hip extension and the way my lateral hip strength isn't optimal. 

I could tell you those things any day of the week. I am a student of the body, a student of movement. This is just part of my awareness, not a judgment. 

And yes, things are different and I move more slowly and I find that sitting calls to me more frequently.

But I truly didn't realize I could pack on 30 pounds (and change my center of mass with a big belly) and function pretty much the same (full pull-ups will have to wait until I am postpartum, though!). 

To me, without even knowing how things will evolve over the next 4-5 months, this is incredible. 

This work - this showing up to myself in so many ways and this changing of how I think about and relate to the movement of my body through my environment - has had a profound impact on the way my body can handle such massive changes. 

The exercises I have been doing (and teaching) for years have been crucial components of my body's ability. But it's also been the rest. The getting rid of the couch and the moving of the bed to the floor. It's been the insistence on longer walks and chopping wood and climbing trees. It's that movement is no longer so on the periphery of my life, a thing to be done during my exercise half hour; rather, it's become something that keeps asking to be brought into the center. 

I shared on social media the other day how my #movetochange essentially started with a calf stretch and led me to uprooting my family from our urban East Coast lives and moving to New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment. 

In case you're wondering, if 30 extra pounds are in your future, the calf stretch can lead you here, too.