Weighty Comments

Weighty Comments

It has been two months since I miscarried in my second trimester. It is hard to believe I would be sitting here with a belly by now. Wow. I would be going on 6 months pregnant. Is that right? Time sure flies when you aren’t pregnant. At this point, I think I am less sensitive about sitting next to pregnant women. I do have to go back to my ob-gyn on Monday for my last test, so the jury is still out, but I think I will be okay. I did find out recently what still bothers me about the miscarriage….When people say something stupid.

 I was eating lunch recently and everyone was trying to feed me. “Do you want some of this? Look, it is too much, have some of this.” I had just downed my Smart Ones Lasagna Florentine (what I eat almost every day – 8 points on Weight Watchers). Did I mention I am having a love affair with my Smart Ones Lasagna Florentine? One person actually said something like, “You need to get healthy so what happened last time won’t happen again.” [I paused to reflect on this sentence] I responded, “You do realize that my health had nothing to do with why I had a miscarriage?” Trying to come in for a save, another person said, “She means you could use some fat. It wouldn’t hurt.” Hmmm. Is my nose bleeding? That felt like a suckerpunch backhanded compliment. On one hand I think they called me thin and yet that caused the miscarriage. Is that what I am hearing? Or maybe she was speaking sorority.

 It reminded me of being in our sorority during the olden days during rush. There were no cell phones, no computers, no instagram, no facebook, no phone cameras. We would have thousands of potential members come through our house in one week and we had to go through each name and try to remember who they were by giving descriptions. However, we could not use negative words like fat, acne, ugly, frizzy, etc. We had to use “positive descriptions” of potential members. For example, “Jane Doe has blonde hair, blue eyes and is from Westlake. She is very healthy.” Very healthy was code for big “bone-ded” (boned). It went the opposite way as well. One year when I was nominated for Pumpkin Princess (who wasn’t?), I had to step out of the room. I then heard this roar of laughter from the chapter room. I was told later that they were saying things about the potential Pumpkin Princesses and someone described me by saying, “Well, she’s definitely not healthy.” In sorority speak, that is very thin.

First of all, I am a woman. Pregnant or not, I don’t like my weight being talked about. Secondly, I am a woman. Pregnant or not, I don’t like my weight being talked about. Almost all of my life I weighed around 100 pounds (sometimes less). It was not on purpose. Have you seen my family? My dad, mom, brother and I are not big people, vertically or horizontally. In the words of Doug Heffernen on King of Queens, “Do you know why people were much smaller back then? No Arby’s.” Friends used to say I would disappear when I turned sideways, or yell to hold me down if the wind blew so would not blow away. One attorney even used to say I was “holocaust chic”.

I got married and put on 30 pounds shortly thereafter. It was a time of being married, happy and over 30. I remember when my mom was getting chemotherapy, my brother turned to me one day and said, “Don’t you wish Mom weighed about 300 pounds right now?” She was maybe 80 pounds soaking wet when she was sick and losing weight by the day. There is something to be said for a few extra pounds. When I was at my highest weight of 138, no one ever said to me at the time that I had gained weight….until I lost it. I joined Weight Watchers (WW) almost seven (7) years ago and lost 30 pounds. I stayed consistently at 105-108 until 2011. Only then would everyone say, including one of my close friends, “I won’t lie. You gained weight years ago.” Do they think I was unaware of it? That is why I joined WW. But, then, as the weight stayed off, those same people and friends started to sort of, well, get pissed at me. “You need to eat something! I could swear you keep getting thinner!” I was just maintaining my weight. I was not doing anything differently.

After the adoption agency went under in 2011 (we went through two more agencies after that) and we started the medical tests again to see if we could biologically have a baby, I put on about 12 pounds. My job was new, the hours were longer, the baby journey was stressful and my commute was twice as long. Is it an excuse? No. I still was on WW, but I simply did not have time to work out 4-5 days a week. It became weekends only. Then, during the pregnancy journey, I was banned at certain times from having exercise at all.

I know I lost weight during my pregnancy and especially right after it. At nine (9) weeks pregnant, I lost eight (8) pounds in three (3) days due to my very first migraine and what felt like food poisoning. However, I am fairly certain I have put back on a few pounds recently. I never liked the anorexic jokes or the weight gain comments. In the words of two very important women in my life: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” (Mom) and “You have no idea what is going on in that person’s life.” (Deirdre). The point is, sadly, almost every woman has body issues – even Gisele Bundchen (Well, maybe not, but she does have flaws. She did marry a man that went to Michigan.) I always feel like I have a giant trucking sign on my back that reads “Wide Load”. I am so preoccupied with my body that I would never think of making a weight comment of any kind to another woman. While pregnant, getting on a scale at my doctor’s office that was the same scale used by our vet for large animals did not go unnoticed.

This issue is deeper than weight comments. It is the weight behind the comment. To say to someone that has miscarried that she “needs to get healthy so what happened last time does not happen again” is not only completely inaccurate as in our case, but it is mean and insensitive. I know what happened with our baby girl. She was missing a chromosome. Although it is no one’s fault, we know exactly what caused it and why it happened. It had absolutely nothing to do with me or my body. Women who have miscarriages have enough guilt already. The first thought is, “What did I do wrong?” I know because many of you have opened up to me about your miscarriages and how years later, many of you carry that guilt that you could have somehow prevented it. I thought the same thing initially for about five (5) minutes. It is a normal reaction to have, but I had to let that go. So do any of you harboring such guilt. No one should have to feel that way after a miscarriage as it is difficult enough as is. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it. I like to believe it is nature’s way of taking care of something that was not meant to be. This whole experience has made me more aware of thinking before I speak.

A person’s comments can carry weight long after they have been said.

Thanks for sharing, reading and hopefully enjoying. Until next time, socks.

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Photo by Ronit Shaked on Unsplash

First published on Thursday, August 23, 2012