don’t fat-shame the pregnant ladies

one of my esteemed blog readers is just about as pregnant as i am (eleven weeks today! almost out of the first trimester!) & asked me if there are any websites or messageboards that i recommend for pregnant ladies who want to obsess about their pregnancies via the magic of the worldwide web. i didn’t really know what to say because i haven’t really been dicking around online much since i got pregnant. i spent a lot of time on trying to conceive messageboards while we were trying, but once i got pregnant, things changed. i feel like i know a lot about being pregnant & anything i don’t know i will figure out through experience. i didn’t know much about struggling with infertility & merely experiencing it was stressful & isolating. i’m excited & happy to be pregnant, so i can’t really say that it’s isolating or a condition around which i particularly require support. well, beyond the support jared offers by making dinner & washing the dishes so i don’t have to.

anyway, i started posting on a pregnancy messageboard in order to do some on-the-ground research for this reader. & you know what? BIG MISTAKE! don’t do it, ladies! not unless you’re a glutton for punishment or hate yourself or something!

i was posting in a “due date club,” for ladies whose babies are due in january 2013. one of the threads was about weight gain, someone asking how far along everyone was & how much weight they had gained thus far (or lost). literally every response was something like, “i’ve only gained three pounds so far!” “i’ve gained five but my doc says it’s okay because i was underweight to begin with.” “i’ve actually LOST ten pounds because my morning sickness was so bad!” “i lost twenty!”

i posted & wrote, “i’ve already gained at least ten pounds (i don’t know how much for sure because i don’t have a scale–i’m just estimating based on my weight at my last pre-pregnancy infertility appointment & my most recent pre-natal appointment weight). but i’m not sweating it. my doc says it’s fine to gain like thirty or forty pounds during pregnancy.”

numerous women then proceeded to FLIP THE FUCK OUT & post things like, “forty pounds? that has got to be a typo. no way is it healthy to gain that much weight.” “you’re only supposed to gain like twenty pounds the whole time you’re pregnant! you’ve got to be really unhealthy if you’ve already gained half of that or even more just in your first trimester!” etc etc.

ARE YOU LADIES FUCKING KIDDING ME? you’re seriously going to fat-shame me while i’m pregnant? who the fuck cares how much weight i gain while i’m pregnant? it’s not like the baby is going to be born an iowa state fair butter sculpture if i gain more than thirty pounds. & the way these women were saying, “i’ve only gained three pounds so far!” “i haven’t gained anything!”…it’s like they were actually competing to see who could stay skinniest DURING PREGNANCY. it’s sick enough that (some…many, even) women compete with each other over weight stuff when they’re not knocked up, but to do that shit when you’re pregnant seems especially sick.

the other weird part of this is that all these women that are like, “oh, with my morning sickness, i’ve lost seventeen pounds,” etc etc, are also posting baby bump photos & all these comments about how they are already wearing maternity clothes. some of them supposedly moved into maternity wear at like six weeks. which is it, ladies? are you wasting away, or has your girth rendered all your pre-pregnancy clothes mere rags that couldn’t begin to cover your ripening womb? because you can’t really have it both ways.

as for me, yeah, i’ve gained like ten pounds. maybe more, because i haven’t been to the doc, & hence near a scale, in like three weeks. i go swimming like three times a week for pregnant lady exercise & probably have more muscle tone in my arms & legs as a result than i did before i got pregnant. i still fit into my pre-pregnancy summer clothes. i might have to upgrade to a maternity bathing suit soon, because my usual one is really starting to feel the strain, but i’m not going to sit here & pretend that i’m exploding out of my clothes at eleven weeks. i am not going to compete with anyone over who is having a skinnier pregnancy, & i’m not going to sit around & let anyone fat-shame me or try to tell me that some numbers on the scale mean i’m doing my pregnancy wrong. fuck anyone who does that shit! women are pressured to let numbers dictate their self-worth from the cradle to the grave. if i don’t cotton to that shit when i’m not pregnant, i sure as hell am not going to have any part of it when i am!

moral of the story: any rumors you may have heard about pregnant ladies trying to shame & one-up each other, like you can somehow do pregnancy better than the next guy by somehow maintaining your pre-pregnant weight but also needing to move into maternity pants at three weeks, are all TRUE. & that shit is misogynistic fucked up nonsense. i wouldn’t stand for a close friend giving me shit for gaining ten pounds already; i’m not going to put up with it from a bunch of strangers that just happen to be pregnant at the same time as me. if you’re pregnant, just try to eat when you need to & eat as healthfully as you can manage (i know food aversions & nausea can complicate this), find a nice pregnant lady physical activity you can do (swimming or water walking really is a great choice for someone who wasn’t terribly athletic before they got pregnant), & don’t waste your time comparing your body or your pregnancy against anyone else’s. you’re growing a person. that’s awesome & it’s hard work. you don’t need to make it harder by letting people try to bring you down to make themselves feel better.

take it from me & my lovely baby lumps!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “don’t fat-shame the pregnant ladies

  1. The Post Punk Kitchen’s sub board for pregnancy and childrearing, The Playground, is a super supportive community of people of lots of sizes and situations. I’m not even pregnant but I read it all the time because I’ve learned so much there about parenting and birthing and all that jazz. It’s part of a vegan messageboard, but they’re not aggro about it. Anyway, I’d suggest that board.

  2. Ciara, thanks so much for subjecting yourself to pregnancy forum “adventures” for the sake of research. Sorry about the ridiculous fat-shaming. On an unrelated not, reading this post, I realized I am literally ONE DAY behind you!

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