As those of you who’ve been pregnant (or around a loved one who’s been pregnant) know, no matter how much you might be looking forward to your pregnancy, there are several downsides that pretty much every woman has to deal with while baking her bun.
Now, you might think this is silly, but I honestly thought I’d have a distinct advantage (in some areas) over skinny-their-whole-lives women. And I probably do, though the single biggest thing I’ve learned is that NO two pregnancies are the same – not even in the same woman. There have been, however, several areas where I thought I’d have an advantage that I definitely do NOT – I don’t think I’m necessarily at a DISadvantage, but being fat all my life hasn’t been nearly the buffer/training I thought it’d be.
We all know that pregnant ladies, in the last half of their term, tend to waddle. There are also entire sections of the web devoted to woman consoling each other/complaining in frustration about how going through everyday life with a basketball in your belly complicates even the simplest things. How do you get off the couch gracefully?
How do you push a grocery cart?
How do you WIPE?
But wait just a minute. I’ve had a BEACHball in my stomach my whole life. I’ve looked 9 months gone for DECADES. This stuff is all old hat to ME. I already have easy, fast workarounds for all this stuff, and more.
My muscles won’t have to adjust to a really off-balance, heavy front load – already trained! No worries about posture – already trained! Putting on socks or tying shoes – already got it down! Picking stuff up off the floor – done and done!
And so I plodded my way through the first half of my pregnancy, ignorant of the challenges ahead.
Super-sized friends, allow me to share something that NO site makes clear enough: carrying a beachball’s worth of fat between your abdominal muscles and skin IN NO WAY prepares you for carrying a WATERMELON between your spine and your abdominal muscles. Oh, and watermelon is a much better metaphor for a pregger-belly than basketball – in addition to being rigid like a basketball, watermelons also come in more shapes and sizes, and they are HEAVY.
What I was astoundingly not prepared for was the cumulative difference between a (very thick) layer of squishy, flexible fat and a hard, immovable lead weight mere inches from your center of gravity.
In every pregnancy book, they warn you that dizziness is common for pregasauruses (pregasauri?). The average woman increases the amount of blood in her system by nearly 50% over the course of her pregnancy, and, because Mother Nature can be a heartless demi-god, that blood isn’t made until there is room for it. Which means you’ll pretty much spend the whole time having not-quite-enough-blood, which makes for a lot of light-headedness.
But wait just a minute. I’m 2-3 times the size of the average woman, which means that I’ve got 2-3 times as much blood ALREADY zipping around. Dizziness will clearly NOT be a problem for me.
HA! That logic totally works IF you assume that a pregnancy needs X pints of blood and no more. Then yeah, you’re totally golden. The average not-pregnant woman has about 8 pints of blood in her body, which means that she’s going to need to produce 3-4 more pints over the course of 10 months. Shoot, I can donate 3 pints in an HOUR and not even feel a little woozy.
But, if the equation is more along the lines of, “Screw the baby, I’m gonna double your blood whether it’s needed or not,” then you, my extra-blood having friend, are going to be blasted by dizziness you cannot fathom.
Turns out, it’s the latter.
As excited as I was to FINALLY be pregnant, I was also curious as to whether I’d show eventually. According to the hallowed internet forums, it’s about 50-50 if a big lady will show, and, as usual, depends on a lot of variables as well as that particular pregnancy. If I DID end up showing, I knew I’d love all the attention that a pregnant lady garners – I’ve been a limelight-seeker since I was knee-high to a small grasshopper.
If I ended up NOT showing, I knew I’d be relieved to not have to endure stupid-but-well-intentioned advice from everybody on everything I ever did anywhere, and I wouldn’t have to deal with random strangers wanting to touch my belly ::shivers:: Either way, a win, right?
Wrong! I’m 5.5 months along, and while I look slightly different to me, Fat Hubby, and local friends that know us really well, no one thinks I look overtly pregnant. Fat Kira says she can tell because she knows I’m baking a baby and “because your fat rolls are different, in a making-room-for-baby kinda way”. But if she didn’t already know I was pregnant, I doubt that would be the first thing to occur to her.
So what’s the problem? There are a lot of things that a pregnant lady ought not to do/have done to her, and pregnant ladies are very distracted/distractable. Lately, I’ve started spacing out regarding stoplights, which is never a good thing. What if something happens and I get into an accident where I’m knocked unconscious? None of the medical staff are going to go, “She totally looks pregnant – we should NOT do Xrays.” And that’s some serious baby-messing-up stuff.
So, I hope you all take to heart the fact that being pregnant is exactly as complicated as everyone says it is, and don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ll be better off or better prepared just because you’ve been fat for so long you don’t know anything else. ‘Not knowing anything else’ is no advantage over skinny women who don’t know anything else, you silly, adorable, pregnant hippo. That just means you’ll be more surprised than the average woman when all the typical pregnancy stuff starts happening.