Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity

Warning: The Following Post Contains Information that is Exceptionally Vain and Selfish

I am overweight. My BMI is currently 29.4, and anything over 30 is considered obese. For my height, I can weigh 169 lbs. and still be considered “normal,” which is a BMI under 25. This is new for me. I was very athletic growing up and never, ever worried about my weight or what I ate. Youth is wasted on the young.

This whole weight issue started when I had to take Prednisone for my colitis in late 2001. Everytime I would wean down my dosage, my symptoms would come back, so I had to stay on it for over nine months. I gained over 50 lbs during that period and have the nasty red stretch marks to prove it. My doctors were sympathetic but not concerned: it was better to be in remission and have stretch marks than be dangerously ill without them. I really thought (which is funny now!!) when I stopped taking the medicine that the weight would just come right off. I didn’t realize that it would take me over a year to lose 30lbs and the last 20 just refused to budge. This was okay, though, because I was still at a healthy weight.

When you have a D&C, most women are given antibiotics prophylactically to prevent infection. I was and took the 3-day course of antibiotics without even thinking about it. This was early October. In mid-December, I was hospitalized because I had C-diff (click here for more info on C-diff), which as best we can determine, was caused by this three-day course of antibiotics. (I took antibiotics after D&C #2, but they were specifically chosen by my Poop Doc because they don’t tend to cause C-diff.) I had a huge colitis flare. I was miserable and sick and did not even really care that they put me on Prednisone because it helped me feel better so quickly.

Now, as I sit here though, I care. I gained all the weight back from the first time I was on the steroids. I feel fat. I am tired of not fitting into my clothes. I am tired of looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. I am tired of feeling like my body is not my own. Sounds a lot like pregnancy, right?

Here’s the problem: I am already overweight and it is going to take me months to get back to my normal weight, even with diet and exercise, because of how the steroid messes with your metabolism. I am worried about starting out pregnant at this weight. Vain, I know, but if knowing how pregnant women describe their bodies at the end of their pregnancy, how will I feel then if I feel this now?

I got pregnant this last time and decided I would not let it bother me. Now that I am not pregnant again, it bothers me, even thought I do not want it to. Am I really this shallow? Would I put off trying to have a baby again because I don’t like the way I feel when I look in the mirror?

Can someone who has had two miscarriages even think like this? How can I be worried about my body image when I might not be able to have a healthy baby? If I am overweight now, will I increase my risk of complications later in the pregnancy?

My Diet Coke and I are going for a walk.

Maybe my internal angst will help me burn some more calories.

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June 23, 2007. Miscarriage #2, South Beached Whale.

6 Comments

  1. Artblog replied:

    I think its excellent that you’re even thinking about this and yes excess weight can cause you untold pregnancy problems so its never just vain to think about losing weight before you even get pregnant. I did the same, I wasn’t hugely overweight but i remember what that little extra padding did to me during my pregnancies and after.

    Seriously, good on you for even thinking like this, whether you put your mind to and actually keep up with a diet, is another story 🙂

    And Diet Coke, no no, full of crap and not good for ttc 🙂

  2. MommmyKnows replied:

    Sounds like we are about the same size, so I hear you.

    Eat properly, get some sleep and worry about the weight later 🙂 I never felt better than during my pregnancies because I always ate healthy and exercised. I can do it for my kids but not for me 😦

    Ok … now that I see that in print, maybe I need therapy!! 😉

  3. liz replied:

    Hugs and supportive thoughts.

    And I’m guessing that some of the way you feel may be anger at your body for miscarrying. Try to give yourself and your body the space to heal.

  4. Kath replied:

    Dear Missedconceptions, I just found you through Aliza at Babyfruit. I am so sorry about your losses, and hope your stay in Blogworld does you as much good as it has me.

    Body image is a huge thing — I would guess that we miscarriers are even more prone to problems in that area than most, because it’s all bound up with our (self-inflicted) guilt, our disappointment, our perceived failures, and our need for some control in our lives. So no, I don’t think you’re being shallow at all.

    As for the concrete problem, I would agree that it would be good to give your body (and soul) some time to heal. Your body has been pushed quite far with the colitis and the cortisone and the pregnancies and D&Cs and the aftermath, so maybe it would be good to be good to yourself and set yourself a gentle, manageable goal — to lose X pounds, or to reach a certain BMI — by your appointment in October. It seems like a long way off, but if you make the next few months all about healing and recovery in the broadest sense of the word, the time will be well spent. And it will be a valuable investment in your next pregnancy.

    Again, I’m so sorry about your miscarriages. I’ve been there too, three times, and will never forget what those experiences did to me. (Warning: I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant.) May the cause of your miscarriages be found soon and easily treated. Good luck with everything, my dear.

  5. kona replied:

    Body image issues are something I can soooo relate to. Even the process of normal aging on the body can be hard to accept, when the media celebrates airbrushed images of plastic, hungry, “perfect” eternally young women. Medically, it’s reasonable to be concerned about weight and how it affects your health and pregnancy. And most of us are somewhat vain- who doesn’t want to look attractive for Pete’s sakes? The key is probably to work toward your goals, but not be obsessed with them.

    When I was younger I used to dream that life would be perfect if I met XYZ criteria. Now I know, I can have just as much fun and more if I live life accepting my flaws and all.It takes work to accept yourself with your human-ness and stretch marks and scars. I am still working on the proocess of self acceptance. And now add to the list of things to accept…the new grey hairs coming in! Ack! and I’m only 36. But I hope if we can love ourselves, that it allows others to love themselves flaws and all, too. It seems like women are so harsh and critical of themselves.

    Kona

  6. Wendy replied:

    I forgot to mention that my oldest daughter (who your DH has met) has UC. Something else our families have in common. Let me know how things are OK?

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