Tuesday, 2 September 2014

10 weeks, body image, and my life with a FUPA

My little brother was the first person to ever call me "fat".  He was trying to get under my skin, and boy oh boy did it ever work.  I was about 12 or 13 at the time, and I'd already been noticing that my body had lumps and bumps where other girls didn't.  Most noticeable (to me, anyway) was my lack of a flat tummy.  I thought about it in ballet class, using the full-length mirrors to surreptitiously check and see if any of the other girls in my class had the same little pooch below their belly button.  I thought about it at the beach, lying on my back and noticing the concave dip between my friends' hipbones while my belly stubbornly curved outward, despite the assistance of gravity.  I thought about it more and more as I got older and gained a few more pounds, most of which seemed determined to concentrate itself in the real estate directly beneath my navel.

Fast forward to university, I'd figured out some basics about nutrition and fitness and had managed to drop most of the excess weight I'd put on in high school.  But try as I might, no amount of step aerobics (ah, the 90s!) could entirely get rid of what my mother (who carries her fat the same way) referred to as my "pot belly".  Such a cutesy name for the bane of my existence!  Let's just call a spade a spade.  I have a Fat Upper Pubic Area (FUPA).

I know.  You don't need to remind me.

Given the inordinate amount of time and energy that I've spent lamenting and trying to get rid of the FUPA, it stands to reason that I've always wondered how I'd deal with weight gain in pregnancy.  For a while there it looked like it wasn't going to be an issue I'd have to deal with at all.  Except now it is, and I'm not sure I'm doing very well so far.

After my last post, the lovely Amber commented that the first few months of pregnancy "when you just feel fat and not really pregnant" can be hard.  I'm learning that this is absolutely true.  In the past when I felt my pants getting tighter, there was always a solution: I'd either been indulging too much and needed to cut back, or I'd been slacking on working out and needed to move more.  This time there's nothing I can do about it, and it's only going to get worse.  Don't get me wrong, I know that this is what we've been striving for and I wouldn't have it any other way!  But after 38 years of mentally conditioning myself to avoid gaining weight, it's really really hard to flip that switch to the off position.

The more I think about this stuff, the more I've been realizing that this is definitely an attitude that I don't want to pass on to our baby.  Whether we have a girl or a boy, I don't want our child to live in a house where its mother teaches it that a woman's worth is based on her weight or body shape.  I want our child to see that eating well and being active is good because it's healthy, not because it affects how you look.  Society and pop culture will do a good enough job sending those other messages anyway; I want our child to have a solid base of confidence from which to contradict them.

In the meantime, I've been trying to do a better job of choosing healthier snacks (because STILL SO HUNGRY) and getting out for more long walks with Buddy.  I even fired up my prenatal workout video again and am looking forward to starting dance class when the studio opens next week.  I'm not gonna lie; I'm still terrified about gaining a ton of unnecessary weight and having to deal with a saggier, flabbier FUPA when this is all over (at which point I've learned it gains the horrible, terrible nickname "mother's apron").  But even if I do, this baby isn't going to hear a single word about it.  Which will probably be good for both of us.

17 comments:

  1. I struggled with this in a big way. Not do much during pregnancy (the whole twin thing kinda made me flip a switch), bu postpartum really threw me for a loop because I not only gained weight while breastfeeding, but my stomach seemed to expand, not shrink, following delivery. Thankfully a lot of that has now reversed (13 months out and no longer breastfeeding), but not without quite a few tears being shed.

    I think the only piece of advice I got that helped was to acknowledge your fears and own that it's okay to worry. I think so many women beat themselves up for feeling this way, but it doesn't mean it's any less of a worry.

    Happy to see you are reaching the end of the first trimester.

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    1. I do feel kind of guilty for worrying about weight gain when figuring out how to get pregnant has basically been my second job for the past three years. I knew this was coming, right? Thanks for the positive reinforcement that it's ok to feel this way.

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  2. As someone who has seen a lot of pregnant women and more naked women than a porn director, it will get a little worse...it's so hard around 14ish weeks when your uterus is pushing on your intestines and if you're feeling bloated -you'll look a lot more pregnant that you are. But then comes twenty plus weeks, and twenty plus weeks can hide a FUPA. It will get better.

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    1. LOLing at "more naked women than a porn director"! I bet you'd have a ton of great insights on things like pubic hairstyles, the varying sizes of labia, and fun tattoo placement. We need to drink together sometime.

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  3. I'm the same way--fat goes right to my belly. Although you have impressively kept it under control. It's hard, too. There's a skinny minnie in my office who didn't show and didn't show and then all of the sudden had the cutest, roundest bump ever. Hate those girls. Too bad she's so nice. I'm going to refer back to Jane's comment frequently when/if I'm ever 10-14 weeks pregnant. Hang in there, you'll have that cute baby bump soon enough!

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    1. I totally want to be one of those women with the "basketball under the shirt" bump, but genetically (based on my sister and several cousins) I know I'm going to pack on extra pounds in places I don't want to. I just hope I have the same willpower to get back in shape when I'm exhausted and haven't slept properly in weeks!

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  4. I gain weight pretty much only in my middle. I have thought many, many times over the years, "I just want to get pregnant so I can stop sucking in my stomach all the time!"

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    1. One of the beanpoles in my dance class once commented that she loved being pregnant because it was the first time in her life she didn't have to worry about holding in her stomach. I wanted to punch her in her skinny, perfect face.

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  5. I had a hard time in the beginning of this pregnancy. I didn't want to eat healthy foods and seriously craved carbs like there was no tomorrow. I am sure the high doses of steroids didn't help either and I was showing about 8 weeks. Not showing as in the public knowing I was pregnant verses eating way too many donuts. Now I get upset because people tell me how huge I am :) The grass is always greener on the other side, huh.
    So happy for you!!!

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    1. I try my best to fill up on stuff like grapes, carrot sticks, low fat yogurt and all that good stuff, but after grazing all day and still being hungry the only thing that seems to make me feel satisfied is a big meal. I definitely do most of my damage at dinner because I never seem to feel full. Now you've made me crave donuts too!!!

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  6. I love how just the titles of your posts make me crack up. No, please not the FUPA! (I totes have a FUPA right now).

    Personally I'm more like a pear and gain in my hips/thighs. There was a point where I convinced myself that my fat legs were all "swollen" and I'd just "flush out the water weight" after delivery. HA. HA HA HA.

    I'm not gonna sugarcoat this - I got fat. Real fat. I gained 60 lbs and I still look like shit and feel disgusting. Sometimes that really bugs me. Then I feel guilty for being annoyed by it. I think my best advice is to keep it under control (which it sounds like you're doing) and keep it in perspective. Yeah, your body will probably never be the same again... unless you're one of those rare, genetically blessed people, in which case I hate you. But if it isn't....I promise you won't care as much as you think you will right now. And this is coming from a former borderline anorexic diet pill addict who freaked out if she crossed over from 00 to just 0. A fat, ruined body is a small price to pay, as it turns out. I promise :)

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  7. Ha ha ha! Ok, I totally have a FUPA too, and it's definitely gotten ZOMG! bigger in the last year with these treatments and becoming completely lazy. You are almost to the end of the 1st trimester!

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  8. That first part of pregnancy is totally hard!! Especially when you're so sick that all you can stomach is bagels and ice cream :). Hang on there!! Every pound gained is immeasurably worth it mama!! xo

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  9. Thankfully I haven't really been sick unless I let myself get overly hungry. But my OB said he wants me to gain between 30-40 pounds. If I gain less than 20, he will be worried. That seems like an awful lot to me. But it kinda allows me to eat whatever I want so I'm taking advantage of it.

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  10. Oh the FUPA. I've always had the same trouble, only I just recently last week even learned what a FUPA is! Once you get past the "feeling fat" part of pregnancy, and actually feel pregnant, it is kind of cool really because then your belly just feels hard and pregnant. However, my post pregnancy FUPA is something I'm not really fond of and is definitely more than ever before! I don't like it, but I also don't seem to mind as much because I've got these babies to show for it.

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  11. Oh, internet, I learn something new everyday. I totally had/have a FUPA. I once, while slouching at my desk many, many years ago, had someone ask me if I was pregnant. Um, no, but thank you for making me feel fat.
    Maybe it was because of twins, but I feel like I went straight to baby bump and passed over the fat stage. I was showing at 9 weeks in a very baby-bumpish way. I don't know how I skipped the feeling fat part of the first trimester. Maybe I was too nauseous to care. Or maybe because I barely ate anything because of said nausea. Once it looks like a pregnant belly, you might not be as worried about it. I hope that's the case. You should enjoy the belly you worked so hard for and not worry about being "fat".
    As for after, I agree with the others. I don't care as much how my body looks now as I thought I would. Not that I'm happy with the saggy FUPA and loose skin. I mean, I would love to get back into better shape, but I don't care as much as I used to. Try not to stress about it now. Worry about nurseries and baby registries - not your post baby body.

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  12. I think it is the way weight reduction is depicted and the trepidation of the procedure that makes it entangled. In addition, the DIET GURUS utilize that trepidation and inconvenience to make the procedure appear to be hard. That way individuals must utilize their administrations to conquer that tall tale difficulty.
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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!