Monday, April 23, 2012

From Fit to Fat


This Blog post was written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother
Currently 6 weeks pregnant


This is my fourth attempt in the last month to talk about my pre pregnancy weight gain. This is really hard for me to write.  I have typed this out for several weeks and then stopped, erased, restarted. Every sentance I type I think how much people will judge me, remark on what I have done wrong, or remark on my current looks. If you are reading this post, it means I got enough courage to not care what bad things others say or think about me and to just post the truth.  I have been wanting to write about the reality of the situation, that this is a challenge I am currently facing and have been for a while.


I have always been a slender person.  Not necessarily "fit," as the word "fit" to me, would describe someone who could compete in a physical challenge in Survivor, winning individual immunity.  Ya, that is not me.  However, I still always felt fit.  Being "overweight" has never been a challenge with me.   I have packed on a few lbs here and there  as I have gotten older and always been able to lose weight with simple diet and exercise fairly quickly. Standing at a lovely 5'9 (okay fine, 5'8) I was a healthy 135 lbs when I met my husband in 2007.  I had already had my first baby by then and bounced back perfectly to pre-baby weight and body.  Before we had our second baby in 2009, I had gained a little "pre pregnancy weight" and pregnancy weight, therefore, had a little more to lose this second time around.  By the time our baby had turned two years old,  last August, I was 150 lbs and pleased as punch.   Being 30 years old, two children and a size 8 seemed lovely and healthy to me.   Of course I would have loved to shed a little more, maybe hit 140, but I was fine the way I was and I was all into myself "heeeeeeey!"


Then came the medication for the surrogacy.   I am the type of person who gains an instant 10 lbs from birth control (and an instant 30 lbs from NO birth control hahahaha).  So when my IUD came out, I gained 10 lbs very quickly after going on the nuva ring in November.  In December we started new medications and I have been on hormone medicine ever since with the exception of having a natural cycle after the last embryos did not take. The Lupron, Estrace, Progesterone, and Vivelle patches all had a side effect of weight gain or bloating or water retention.  I got up to 187lbs.   I am a healthy eater, my husband is an organic, vegan, health conscious and he does all the cooking in the house.  I eat normal portions currently, and even more currently I am not too hungry.  However, my drive to work out completely vanished so I know that is a poor mix with the medication.  Now that I am still currently on three of these medications and of course, pregnant, I don't anticipate a huge drop in weight anytime soon. Although I finally got down to 179/180 lbs and stayed there, it just is not the same. I am stuck.


I have suddenly become that person who does not want her photo taken, who positions herself slightly behind another person in pictures to hide some of my body.  Why?  I wish so much it did not bother me that I have gained such a large amount so quickly.  It affects me in every area. I feel more tired and less motivated, I don't feel like attending large social events, I don't feel as in love with myself when I look in the mirror.  God forbid I see a picture of myself!   I always think I look skinnier than I am until a photo pops up and holy cow (no pun intended) my day is shot after that.  I do not feel as confident, especially around my skinny friends. I feel whenever I see someone that has not seen me in a while, I have to quickly justify why I look so different, as if to tell them I am aware, before they can think it or go tell their friends how big I got. It really is like being in a new body. No clothes fit anymore, I have to fill the bathtub with a little less water than before (don't laugh it's true! Okay fine laugh, it's funny).    Here is what my biggest problem is; my biggest problem is that I HAVE a problem with it.   I wish I could just think I am fabulous while being chunky and rock the crap out of it and know that in one year my body will be back.  Funny thing is, I don't mind gaining weight while pregnant and getting bigger at all.  I always think I am "all belly" and look like Heidi Klum when she is pregnant.  When in reality, towards the end of my pregnancies, I am so pudgy from ankles to cheeks (face cheeks people.  Okay, let's be honest, butt cheeks too) it looks like a thousand bees stung me!  Also, I have friends who are my weight and I think they are just beautiful.  which makes me realize how mad I am at myself for not loving myself the way I used to.  I love my friends so much and it breaks my heart when they don't love themselves the same.  Now I am in their shoes, not loving myself enough.


Here is my "fit to fat" photo.  This photo on the left is my body before medications at 150 lbs, and then second photo was taken the day of the second transfer, just a few weeks ago at around 180 lbs (give or take an embryo).




Now I know some of you will look at this photo and not see the weight gain, or say nice things to me still. Or say how silly this all
sounds.  Or try to convince me that I still look good.  However, I am the one living with it and I think most of us can relate when we are not happy with our bodies and what kind of affect that has on us.


With all of this being said, I want it to be known that I would do this again in a heart beat if the outcome meant a baby for my brother and his wife.  In hindsight, does it really matter that I packed on a few pounds (especially during winter, most likely resulting in a nice money saving tactic for our heating bill) in order to produce the greatest miracle out there?   I don't think it matters, and I don't think the world will judge me harshly that I look this way currently.  I don't think any of you will think of me as a lesser person because I gained this weight.  Now if only I could convince myself, all would be as it should.  In all other areas of my life, I accept who I am.  I accept I talk too much, I laugh too loud, I crack inappropriate jokes too much, I pee my pants every few years, I think farts are funny, I cry when no one is looking, I am disorganized, I am motivated, I am a great mother, I am an imperfect mother, I am a loving wife, I make mistakes, I am imperfect and I love who I am because I am constantly growing and trying to be better.  I need to love what I am, all that I
am and that includes this body.  


This is not a solicitation for compliments.  There are times I still think I am fabulous, and I have the best friends and family and husband who feed me till I am full with compliments. This is simply a share, an honest share about the struggles I am facing and perhaps other women, not just on fertility drugs, can relate to weight gain, body changes and adjustments.  I hope maybe we can all ease up on each other, but mostly on ourselves.  Eat healthy, exercise, take care of our bodies and if we are slightly imperfect, find out how to be okay with that. To genuinely love our bodies, our shapes, our sizes.


Overall I am doing well with the pregnancy so far.  No morning sickness yet (knock on wood).  I don't "feel" pregnant because the hormones have made me feel pregnant for so long.  I do feel REALLY tired in mid afternoon, I would love to take a lovely spring nap every day if possible.  I cannot wait for my belly to start growing and to feel some movement in there!   The ultra sound is next week and I know I am going to cry when I see that tiny flutter of life, that tiny white spec, that little baby heart beating swiftly. And soon, this weight issue will be a thing of the past.  Soon as in... not really any time soon, but know what I mean.


As always, thank you so much for reading and supporting our journey.  We have some exciting news coming soon, so stay tuned. 


Don't forget to like our movie on Facebook www.facebook.com/ABellyForMeABabyForYou to stay up with all the news about the documentary.




"Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise, you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it - you will feel you are not deserving." Maxwell Maltz




Warmly,
Tiffany

72 comments:

  1. Wow, just wow.. I felt like I was reading something I would have posted when I was 6 weeks pregnant with a surro baby, after gaining 20+ lbs in less than 45 days. 3-1/2 months post, and I am still struggling with it, but soon you will have a little face (or two.. or three.. or four.. ok, maybe not four, but you never know) to look at and it will be all worth it. YOU ARE STILL and ALWAYS will be BEAUTIFUL. 135lbs or 235lbs! No one can ever take away your amazingly bright smile, your caring, giving heart or that personality that is one-in-a-million. So, even though I am telling you to look at all the positives, and continue to be who you have always been, regardless of what the scale reads, also know, you're no where close to being alone in your feelings. Hope that provides a little comfort. HUGS!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I sit here after baby #3 and back to 150 pounds and thinking I am fat. I deal with separated abdominal muscles from having very big babies and pair that with a spinal injury that prevents a lot of abdominal exercises. I feel horrible about how I look. My husband tries to tell me how beautiful I am but I can't seem to see past that. I totally understand how you are feeling. I am now in the midst of dealing with a 1 year old with asthma and ear problems and no time to take care of getting me back either. It really does come down to accepting that what I look like isn't the priority in my life and cutting myself some slack. I tell myself that it is more important to my sick baby that I am there for him and the extra cushion around the middle is much more comfortable anyway. HA! Hang in there and keep your eyes on your "why". You have a pretty good reason for this temporary padding.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for admitting the way you really feel. And, whilst I do indeed think you look beautiful, I understand you not feeling that way. I have had 4 kids, one with a terminal disease (he's now 7), and I have put on 35kgs since my first pregnancy. My husband still says I'm beautiful, and my kids tell me all the time, but I really do hate myself, I hate how I look, and I hate having my picture taken. Lucky for me, I'm the photographer in the family and always behind the camera, but it doesn't change how I feel. And i haven't even had hormone injections - I just ate too much toast with vegemite, and chocolate (the grieving person's coping mechanism).

    At the end of the day though, you are doing the most amazing thing and that is the beauty that you can focus on at this very moment. If you need a "silver lining", then just remember that once you have had this already much-adored baby (or babies), you won't have to worry about lack of sleep or sore nipples, or nursing - you can jump back into working out and getting yourself back. If you want to. And if you don't, then that's fine as well.

    You're amazing, and I'm so glad I found this blog and can follow you each time you post. I'm a blogger myself, and I love reading others' stories. People like you inspire me, and those around me. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am glad you are adressing this. So many women, especially post fertility treatments, feel just horrible about their bodies. In our quest to have a child, we put our bodies through so much. The hormones really do a number on our weight. Most of us don't talk about it because it's embarassing. I think I put on about 25 pounds since I started trying to conceive almost three years ago. I am trying to be okay with it and know that my weight and salf image can take front seat after the baby comes. I can't try to control both right now. It's too much.
    I am thankful that you had the courage to open up about this side of fertility and pregnancy. For what it's worth, I think you are both beautiful physically and as a person.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I commented on Facebook already, but I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing! I was not skinny or fit before starting fertility meds for this surrogacy pregnancy (I'm 8w6d w/ twins) and I had a bit of happy-life-post-babies-I-love-food tummy gut going on. Having the extra weight for some reason made me feel like added pregnancy lbs would be easier this time. But that's so far from the truth! I feel more bloated and saggy than I feel like I've gained. I am on limited activity so I cannot go crazy yet and I will gladly wait until I can. Gaining weight just isn't easy any time. I don't even know where I'm going with this, so thank you for sharing because I'm there here with you right now! Pray that we both get through it without too many tears and we can enjoy the beauty of pregnancy! Many happy wishes to you<3

    ReplyDelete
  6. I understand what you mean about constantly being uncomfortable in your skin. I have always been fat and I wonder sometimes what it would be like to not criticize myself so harshly with each glance in the mirror, to feel proud of my body. I have PCOS and generally crappy eating and exercise habits - I gain weight easily and lose it so slowly. Sometimes after a really bad day bathing suit shopping or something, this song makes me feel better:

    Present/Infant

    lately i've been glaring into mirrors
    picking myself apart
    you'd think at my age i'd of thought
    of something better to do
    than making insecurity into a full-time job
    making insecurity into an art

    i fear my life will be over
    and i will have never lived it unfettered
    always glaring into mirrors
    mad i don't look better

    but now here's this tiny baby
    and they say she looks just like me
    and she is smiling at me
    with that present/infant glee
    and i would defend
    to the ends of the earth
    her perfect right to be

    so i'm beginning to see some problems
    with the ongoing work of my mind
    and i've got myself a new mantra
    it says: "don't forget to have a good time"
    don't let the sellers of stuff
    power enough
    to rob you of your grace
    love is all over the place
    there's nothing wrong with your face
    love is all over the place

    Ani Difranco

    I'm reading, and rooting for you,
    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much for this post! I have a three and a half month old. My fourth baby. The most difficult thing in having babies are the first months of gaining weight when you don't have that big pregnant belly and those first postpartum months. You have articulated what I could not, so thank you. I do love that with the added weight you still dress well to accommodate those changes--I think that is key when our bodies are in flux. And bless you for your sacrifice! I cannot imagine the joy you are bringing to another. I tear up just thinking about it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have read all of your blog posts and to be honest this one made me cry the most because I can relate. I have always had body image issues and I totally get looking in the mirror and not being happy - even if you know your weight gain is for something amazing. Whether we like it or not our bodies are a part of who we are and while many of us don't want to be defined by how we look, if we are honest we do care how we look. Which is not a bad thing. When we don't look like "ourselves" it can be a shock to our system. It's like coming out of a beauty salon with a bad haircut - you suddenly look nothing like yourself and it drives you to tears, even though you know it's just hair and it will grow back. When your entire body changes in such a dramatic way and you didn't do anything to cause it (like eating a carton of ice cream every night) you have to feel like you suddenly aren't in control anymore. That's scary.

    Bravo for putting it all out there and putting into words what I have struggled with for so many years. Somedays I feel beautiful other days I feel like I look like an elephant. When I see pictures of myself I never look as good as I think I do. It's so hard to come to terms with who we are inside and out. I loved the fact that you said you feel your friends who are the same weight are beautiful, but it is difficult to see yourself the same way. SO TRUE. It's your body - it's harder to love yourself than it is anyone else in the world. You are making a huge sacrifice to carry this baby (babies?) - your body is important and so is your mental health. It sounds like you really do have a good grasp on this because you are thinking about why you feel the way you do. Awesome sauce. Go you!! Don't let anyone tell you it is wrong for you to feel strange and upset by your body. You feel the way you feel and I'm sure each day will feel differently.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I know exactly how you feel, Tiffany. I was a happy 140lbs before embarking on this surrogacy. I've had 6 children of my own and always managed to shake the baby weight off( give or take 10lbs)!
    On all of the fertility treatment I took over the last 12 months, we had two failed transfers before our third one took, I gained over 40 lbs. We're at 24 weeks pregnant and loving my bump, but I do worry about afterwards. My husband still makes me feel attractive and sexy but I can't help feeling that he's just saying that to make me feel better. Hang in there and just remember that you are doing a wonderful thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I commend your honesty and humility. It is so hard to watch your body change and it is such a gift to do this all for you family. What an amazing woman you are. An inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I understand how you feel. It's really hard to watch your body change and know you are doing the right thing but feel you have no control over it. You have temporarily given your body to someone else and that is an amazing gift. Once you get your body back I bet you'll be down to "fighting" weight in no time. You'll also have a cute little niece or nephew who will thank you for that wonderful sacrifice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tiffany, no need to be so hard on yourself for "not accepting it"....I don't think that means you are critical or unloving toward women who are bigger. Even though you obviously do love yourself for who you are, you know this (your current body) doesn't feel like YOU. Different and unfamiliar is hard for anyone to deal with. So it's ok to feel a little crappy about it sometimes...but then remember that your current appearance is also a reflection of another awesome thing that (I hope) you love about yourself: your incredibly giving heart. Don't hide from the camera, because if you do, you will miss documenting this amazing gift you are giving to your brother and his family. And when you and others look back on the photos of this time in your lives, what you will focus on and remember is not the bigger body, but the big smile and the even bigger heart.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for your bold honesty - it's raw and incredibly refreshing.

    I think we begin to heal both as individual women but also as a community when we share our truths - the ones that make us afraid to share and afraid to look in the mirror. <3

    ReplyDelete
  14. You are so amazing... You are giving such a precious gift that is so pure and selfless!!! There are reasons that women aren't lining up to be surrogate moms. It doesn't sound easy at all. Anyone that matters is looking at you, and every single pound gained, with admiration and so much respect knowing that you are sacrificing so much to give an amazing gift filled with so much JOY!!! You will bounce right back, Tiffany. Medication and a few pregnancy pounds have NOTHING on YOU :) You are incredible.
    *A little side note... Remember when I lent you my "skinny jeans" so you could wear something comfy when you were pregnant with Holland!!! You will bounce back....

    ReplyDelete
  15. take it from someone who is and has been overweight for more years than I care to remember, and who hates to have a picture taken and is not pregnant...your current picture is beautiful, in fact, maybe it is the pregnancy but you are glowing and I find you look much healthier than your before pic. Actually, after a second look, you are prettier now than before the pregnancy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Tiffany! I think you look beautiful and you are doing an amazing thing. You should be very proud of yourself! So happy to have found you and see how well you're doing!

    :)
    -J.Burke Nardin '87

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Tiffany! I have carried 2 sets of twins for a wonderful family as a surrogate and am currently on meds (again) to try one last time for them. I totally relate to your frustrations. We had two failed frozen transfers this year and the cycling put on 10-15lbs EACH time!

    I wanted to share with you something that may come up after delivery and give you a heads up on being mentally prepared. The hardest part of the surrogacy process was dealing with my post-pardem body without a baby. When it's your own baby, everyone sees the baby and doesn't think twice about you looking 'belly pudgy', but with surrogacy, you don't have the baby and not everyone knows you just delivered. I always felt like people just saw me as 'fat' without knowing it's really the result of something amazing. Now I recognize that not everyone is judging me and it certainly wasn't a good enough reason to not pursue surrogacy, but it wasn't something I had expected and anticipated.

    Enjoy the rest of the pregnancy and enjoy the changes and differences that come with a twin pregnancy. It's incredible what the body can accommodate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cyn- I can so relate to this- the twin surrogacy, the gaining with cycling, the being "fat" after birth with no baby to show why I'm "fat". I design shirts for IPs and surrogates and wanted to make one that said, "I'm fat for a good reason!"
      :)

      Delete
  18. Tifanny- I weigh around 175 and you look better than me. I did good to lose 39 pounds in 2003 when I had hit my highest weight of 181 and got down to 142. My husband was on deployment and I had lost the weight while he was gone. I instantly got pregnant the moment he returned. I did good to stay around 150 after that, but then did my first surrogacy in 2005. The meds made me gain weight too. Luckily during the first trimester I shed it all again and stayed small with a small baby (due to the IPs stature) However, since being a surrogate, the weight has been harder for me to get off, especially after the twins in 2009! I'm still working at it. I wish I had kept at it. I've gotten off track for various reasons here and there. I am back on track now though and doing good, toning up and slimming down. I would like to lose at least 5-10 more pounds before starting my next journey which is already on course.

    You look great and I'm sure you'll do good to be back to slender soon after the babies are born. I know that I don't know you very well, but I am so proud to know you! I am so glad that you represent such a positive surrogacy story. I try to surround my blog with the positive stuff, so thank you for letting me add you to that. :) ~Jill

    ReplyDelete
  19. IT"S NOT JUST ME!!!!!! Thank you so much for having the courage to post the pictures of your infertility drug weight gain. It took me 7 cycles to conceive my first daughter and I went from a healthy 5'8" 170# size 12 to a 230# sized 18. I also lost a lot of my hair. I used to joke that fat bald and infertile was no way to go through life. Well the hair is mostly back, I have 2 beautiful kids (which included 2 more IVF rounds) and I am down to a size 16. I wouldn't trade it, but I mourn my old prettier self. I feel this internal need to explain that I did not eat myself to oblivion and I only gained the weight of each baby with my pregnancies. What you are doing is the ultimate gift and I truly commend you for that but I get it......Leanne

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mama,
    I turbo-charged hear you on this one! I know that we cannot change how it feels to be on the inside of you... but I want to say on the record that you are a beeeeeautiful girl! Pointier or rounder...it's all gorgeous from here! And if it is even possible...you are even a million times more beautiful because of your loving heart. I so believe in what you are doing!

    Lo
    Another Bellinghamster Mama :)

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