I was 8 months pregnant and had gained 55 pounds so far.
I went for my check up and my doctor, said to me, “Deah Schwartz, WE don’t have 50 pound weight gains in THIS practice.”
I looked at him, half defiantly, half ashamed and said, YOU do now Doc.”
When I gave birth to my son on January 24, 1992, I had gained just under 65 pounds during my pregnancy….notice how I didn’t say just over 63. Even now it is ingrained in me when talking about weight to emphasize the “lower than, or under than, or less than” reference as being the more preferable comparison.
My son weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces, no over or under there, exact weight known and used.
My Aunt said to me, “Deah, you gained all that weight and your baby is only 6 pounds 9 ounces?”
I looked at her, (over the phone, she was in New York), stunned. Here I was with a redheaded baby boy all happy and healthy and her only comment was about my weight in comparison to his.
I said to her, half defiantly and half ashamed, “It was a helluva placenta Auntie.”
I’m going through menopause now. My son away in the Netherlands on an internship, loss is a huge issue for me right now. I’m losing everything, my keys, my glasses, my rapid word retrieval, my eyesight, my fertility, and to some extent, my child. What I am not losing, is weight.
I went to my new Ob/Gyn. My doctor of the 65 pound weight gain practice retired. She examined me and asked me how I was?
I started to cry, not unusual these days. I told her I cried all the time, and felt uber hormonal. She asked me if I had gained weight, and I confessed that I’d gained about 12 and ½ pounds in the past few years, since I turned 50. We both looked at each other, knowingly. There was no “about” about it. It was exactly 12 and ½ pounds.
I had all of the affect of someone who knew EXACTLY how much she weighed at EVERY point in her life.
She looked at me and said, “Some of it is genetic.”
This I know. I grew up knowing this. My first cousin was Mama Cass.
The rest of us, less famous members of the family came in varying degrees of fatness, but when left to our natural habits and inclinations we were a genetic load of fat.
I nodded to the doctor.
She added, “And some of it is your age, this just happens.”
I nodded again, and added half defiant and half ashamed, “But you are older than I am and you are thin, does genetics make THAT much of a difference?”
The doctor took off her glasses, looked at me with the wisdom of having probably had this conversation with hundreds of menopausal women struggling with self-acceptance based on the scale’s accusations of failure and said, paradoxically quite kindly,
“And you have to be a little mean.”
I got it immediately. The ability to be mean to myself. Refusing myself, denigrating myself until or unless I weighed a certain amount even though I walk the 3.2 mile trail around Lake Merritt EVERY DAY.
My eyes welled up with tears and I replied, “I don’t have a mean bone in my body.”
She put her glasses on and half defiantly and half ashamed, shrugged her shoulders and said, “There it is then.”
Be kind, be defiant, and don’t let your scale be the boss of you!!!