Pregnancy After Weight Loss is Really Freaking Hard

Yeah, my title is not creative today. I’m not really feeling creative right now. I’m struggling. Because, like the title says, pregnancy after weight loss is really freaking hard. I’ve promised to be honest with you (perhaps too honest), and so I will be…even if it means opening myself to criticism.

First: an outright update. Here I am in all my pregnant glory, now 22 weeks along:

18 to 22

Our little girl, Emma, weighs nearly a pound. She’s healthy, and I can feel her wiggling around every day. I’ve gained 18 pounds and have zero pairs of pants that comfortably fit. The maternity pants I ordered also don’t fit, though, so I mostly live in leggings. To try and reduce my mounting frustration (and, honestly, depression) related to gaining weight and my changing body, I purged my closet. I packed away clothing I hope to fit into again someday and donated a ton of clothing that I will likely never wear again. What’s left are outfits that look like this:

Christmas pic

Because I’m not comfortable “showing off the bump.” Also, have I mentioned that I have zero pants? I have zero pants.

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed, though, is how different my mentality seems to be compared to my fellow pregnant compatriots. I belong to a few groups of ladies who are pregnant, and I have to admit that my brain just appears to be in a completely different place than most of theirs. While they fawn over nursery decorations, I fret over my caloric intake. While they show off cute little bump pictures every week, I find myself taking my picture and using it to compare where I’m at versus others at a similar stage as me (probably the worst thing I could do, really, because I never realized just how extremely different women look compared to one another while pregnant…every body is just so different). I glow when someone says I’m “small” for how far along I am, and I get frustrated when people tell me the weight will “come right off…at least if you’re breastfeeding.” (That’s not how my body works… weight does not “come right off” of me… ever.)

When my blog went viral, a lot of people called me inspirational. Now, I feel like a drag…constantly criticizing my own weight, menu, and appearance. Instead of focusing on growing a healthy baby, I’m really a lot more focused on not gaining too much weight, not using my pregnancy as an excuse, and not breaking my food-tracking habits while pregnant. I worry all the time about what people are thinking about my weight gain: do they think I’ve already gained so much more than I should? Are they judging my food choices? What will they think if the weight doesn’t “come right off” post-pregnancy? …I’m fairly certain that I will never weigh 120 pounds ever again. And that matters to me. And I don’t want it to. I really want the other parts of my life (you know, like my family) to matter more than the number on a scale.

In the last week, I’ve started telling myself to view this as an opportunity to try again. When I lost the last 50 pounds of my weight last year, I did so without allowing internal issues like those above to be resolved. I lost the weight, but the weight was only a symptom, and the underlying disease (self-hatred) did not resolve. This time, I would like to change that. I would like to re-focus on learning to love myself and allowing my weight to settle itself at whatever number that might be: 120, 130, 140…just something healthy. It’s supposed to just be a number, after all. I really hope that, someday, it can just be a number.


45 thoughts on “Pregnancy After Weight Loss is Really Freaking Hard

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head: for most of us, our weight issues are only a symptom of the internal struggles we face. Recognizing that is half the battle! You’re doing great. Keep hanging on!

    • I agree with the nail hitting and….you are doing great! Hang in there and remember to love your self as much as you can. One day at a time, one hug or smile or gentle pat on your heart. Emma totally understands! As you care for yourself you will be caring for her. But yourself first.

  2. Please look up James Holmes and Sue Peckham’s Easyloss Hypnosis – you wouldn’t have to do the hypnosis while you’re pregnant but you could follow the guidelines which is basically eating ONLY when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re no longer hungry. I’m not affiliated with them and the ONLY outlay for it is an app for your phone that costs about a fiver. It could end your turmoil with food and free you from you’re constant battle with what you are eating and when. Look on Facebook for the easy loss VGB support group it’s full of friendly, helpful members and ione of the most successful members is pregnant too. Hope this helps and good luck with the pregnancy. Xx

  3. I never had children (I raised my niece & getting ready for her wedding) so can’t relate on that part BUT I think we all can relate with the self image issues But I have learned to LOVE myself for me all my quirks & all 🙂 am I still a little hard on myself sometimes ? Sure am ! But I have learned to accept that 1. I really don’t like those wrinkles (I am 53) or that sun spot on the side of my cheek (use sunscreen faithfully) & where did all this grey hair come from (gotta highlight not ready for that !!) Just take care of yourself & that little Emily eat right and join some groups on Facebook like suggested inspires me ! Bless you on this new faze of your life because when that little girl gets here nothing will be the same ! Lots of wonderful memories coming your way

  4. You have gotten below the symptom level, to approach the core issue that you’re dealing with, which is a huge step forward towards transformation. Remember that you’re not alone. You’re loved for who you are, beyond how you look. But it can feel lonely at at times, and pregnancy and post-partum hormones are tricky characters. Rest often, ask for help. For me, giving birth and loving my children helped me grow in my capacity to love myself as I loved them, and they loved me. And yes, nursing did take the weight off like nothing else before or since. But it also helped in that loving myself, love my children, love myself loop of giving and receiving. Blessings on all that’s up ahead for you.

  5. I think the best thing you can do for you and your baby is relax. I always worried that if I was stressed out while I was pregnant, I would have a stressed out baby. There is nothing I hate more than throwing up. While I was pregnant, I threw up pretty much every day. I stayed relaxed and focused on my baby and so happy I was finally pregnant. He turned out to be a very good baby and a very easy child to raise. Be happy and the rest will fall into place. Best wishes to you!

  6. I can only imagine how difficult it would be when you have come so far in losing weight and then to deal with gaining again. I started on my weight loss journey about a year ago. I wont have to worry about being in your shoes as my children are (and the last one “almost”) grown. Keep up the good work!

  7. Keep us the self work! Since your ready to tackle some deeper issues perhaps you should consider enlisting the help of a professional counselor or social worker. Not only are you deepening your own journey but embarking on teaching your daughter what to see in her own body and life (sooner then you think!). Sometimes help is needed to break those cycles for ourselves and our kids.

  8. Thanks for posting. You absolutely GLOW!! We get a glimpse of Emma through your radiance. When I look at your photos I see a vibrantly healthy young woman and two people that are thrilled to be becoming parents. You have chosen to nurture yourself to a healthy place in life and give the world the gift of a new child that will be well cared for. BRAVO!!
    I like the hypnosis suggestion above. Learning hypnosis can assist you on many levels. I learned hypnosis for childbirth in the 1980’s. I used it during delivery for all 4 of my children. Search Hypnobirth on the internet.
    I am looking forward to hearing about your continued path.

  9. Been there, done that, so I can relate.

    After losing a LOT of weight I was determined to gain as little as possible during my first pregnancy. The doctor was worried when during my first monthly checkup I lost two pounds, but of course I was over-joyed! But he reprimanded and caused doubt in my mind as to what was best for my baby, and so eat I did, and by the time I gave birth I was 70 lbs heavier. I know you know where I’m going with this… The weight did not “just drop off” even though I breastfed. That only seems to work for naturally thin women and it did for everyone in the Mom’s groups except me.

    Fast forward to pregnancy #2. It was an uphill battle, with much struggle much but not all of the weight had come off and damn-it, I was going to be careful. Sooo to satisfy the natural appetite increase that comes with pregnancy I filled in the hunger gaps with plant-based foods (all manner of fresh veg including starchy veg and fresh fruits, because ounce per ounce they are significantly lower in calories and MUCH higher in nutrients, so in doing so I was taking the very best care of myself AND my baby. And when I simply HAD to satisfy a random weird craving I did so sparingly, and it worked. I had no guilt from over-eating fruit & veg, did deny my physical hunger and fed us both really well. And weight gain happened, but it was reasonable.

    Hope this helps!! 🙂

  10. I have the same fears for when we try for a baby in about a year, that pregnancy will feel like an undoing of all my weight loss efforts. I found your blog when that post went viral, and I still find your inspirtation for being able to be so honest about your feelings, many of which I relate to and think I will feel too in the future. For what it’s worth, I think you and your belly look adorable! I really do. Perhaps if enough of us who think that actually say it, sincerely, it would help with the self judgement.

  11. I had just joined a gym and started working out to lose weight (I weighed 110 in high school and five years later I was up to 175) when I found out I was pregnant. Since I wasn’t used to the workouts, I almost fainted one day and finally called it quits. And then I gained around fifty pounds during my pregnancy. It’s taken about 16 months for me to lose the weight, and amazingly what helped more than anything was getting a job at Sears where I was not allowed to sit, and I walked constantly. I had lost about 25 pounds just after having my son (some of it does just go away, and I know several people who have breastfed that say it helps immensely but I couldn’t do that), and the walking helped me lose another 25. I weigh a little less than I did before I got pregnant but I still want to lose about 20 pounds.

    I know that gaining weight can be hard when you’ve lost it, but remember you have to gain some for that baby to healthy. Eating healthy is also great for your baby but don’t starve it! And remember, you are NOT eating for two, so don’t let people talk you into eating more. As a woman fixing to become a new mom you are going to see all the “issues” people may judge you on like breastfeeding/bottle, and just… about everything. Learn to ignore them and embrace being the best mom you can be. I don’t think we ever can completely ignore people but once you see your child, it’ll help 🙂

  12. I have not had children but I love kids and also plan to have a bunch someday. but I have struggled with weight issues all my life and now that I’m getting to what society views as “about time” to think about settling down and having kids, I have been worrying not about how to get ready mentally, financially or psychologically. Instead, I have been thinking: “Oh no, this time I FINALLY managed to lose weight again (it’s been the 5th cycle of major weight gain/loss), and I don’t think I can do it again. Will my baby really be affected if I don’t eat as much during pregnancy? Can I exercise vigorously enough to not put on so much weight?” And I haven’t even crossed the boundary yet…

    I weigh myself daily, sometimes more than that, and I always bring my weighing scale on my overseas trips to use the same “ruler” to measure my weight. I have had ED on and off since I was a teen, and always had body issues. Reading your blog and all the struggles you go through – I really can relate to your thoughts and struggles! You give me hope and encouragement that I am not alone and that I’m not a weirdo. Please keep sharing!

  13. I wish you the best of luck in your pregnancy. Thank you for sharing all of your fears, wishes, hopes, dreams, thoughts, whether negative or positive, and you are definitely not a drag. The biggest thing to keep in mind, for your and baby Emma’s health, is to try and remain as stress-free as possible. Stress hormones actually can affect baby’s health. So eat in relative moderation, exercise when you can, and enjoy the moment, your During, and love and congratulate yourself, your mind, your body, your health, as well as baby Emma’s. I wish you all the best!

  14. This is my first time reading your blog, so if anything I say doesn’t make sense to your situation, I’m apologizing in advance. 🙂

    You’re right , the weight won’t just come right off from breastfeeding. What breastfeeding does is burn as many as 600 calories a day. So it acts as a great helper, but you still have to put in the effort in terms of calorie intake. It sounds like you are already doing that and right on track there. I had the same concerns about not being able to lose weight after pregnancy as you did. You hear so many woman saying they never lost the weight. I was terrified, but I am actually skinnier than I was before I had kids. I had a food journal and stuck to my calorie intake, and the breastfeeding helps burn extra calories. Also, I was so busy and happy to have my baby that it was pretty easy for me not to eat. A lot of nights I found myself looking at my food journal and realizing I hadn’t eaten enough that day and pouring myself a bowl of cereal before bed. It’s all about the focus and the mindset and you seem very focused.

    In terms of mindset, what if you framed your goals differently? Like I said, I haven’t read your blog before so I apologize if any of this doesn’t make sense for you. But if you frame it in terms of continuing to put good things into your body (while watching your calories so you maintain the body that you want) and strengthening your body. I don’t know if you do any strength training, and that’s not something you can do immediately after pregnancy, but maybe focus on what you can do for your body in terms of health and sculpting. This may help in your goal of the “self hatred”. And then look at where the self hatred is coming from and when you are well on your way in your weight loss goals add some goals or habits into your life that focus on improving some of those things. I do think sometimes we tend to think weight loss will solve everything in terms of confidence (I know I did) and then we lose the weight and we’re happy with our weight but still kind of feel the same about ourselves. For me I then had to examine what other things were the root of my lack of confidence and happiness and set up little goals and habits to work on those areas of my life.

    Another thing that may really help you is helping or coaching others. You’re kind of already doing that by inspiring others with your story, but if there’s a way you could directly help even one person to do what you’ve done I think that would go along way in terms of the other feelings about yourself you’re trying to work through. Not only does it help take the focus on yourself, but it will make you feel good to help someone else improve their life and in turn I think grow your confidence and happiness with yourself.

    Good luck, your baby bump pictures look great (I wasn’t big on showing off the bump either) and I hope that your weight loss journey does positive things for your life this time around!

  15. I went through a period of self loathing. It was horrible. To bring myself out of it. I made myself, every day, list 5 things (and each day 5 new things) I liked about myself. I would say them out loud so that I had to listen to myself. After about a month and a half I decided there were things I wanted to change, sure, but for the most part I had a lot of good qualities that were worthy of loving myself again. Not sure if that sounds stupid, or if it would work for anyone else but it brought me out of depression.

  16. I lost a lot of weight before child #3 came along. I’m in the UK, my dress size went from a 22 to a 10 (24 to 12 I think in the USA? not sure) but I was miserable. I lost all that in about 6 weeks. Then 12 months after my daughter was born he went off with a friend! I did pile on weight, but I came to the conclusion loosing the weight didn’t make me happy. I’ve left it till now (shes 14) to start shedding it of my own choice.

    I did loose it faster after my first child than the others (the massive rapid weight loss was due to bike riding and depression) because I never realised just how active the little monkey would be! He is 20 now. Concentrate on enjoying the pregnancy, the weight you can deal with after. Good luck, and hope it all goes well xxx

  17. I think media has set standards that just aren’t attractive. To look at man or woman that has bones showing is just not attractive to me. I would rather see some meat on the bones. Yes, I’m over weight, but I would have said the same thing 5 years and 90 lbs ago. I don’t like skin and bones.

  18. Always remember, there is nothing more beautiful than a baby bump and the mom with the baby bump! You’re doing great. You’ve done great, and you’ll still do great once the baby is here! I’ve always been critical of my own weight and body, but it wasn’t until after my baby was born that I decided to do something about it. Now I’m a MILF (Mommy In Love with Fitness.) I used my post-baby body as inspiration to get back to where I was. And you will to!

  19. First, congratulations on the new life in your family! I just discovered your blog and want to commend you for sharing your process. I am borrowing the quotation: “this blog is not about weight loss…it’s about life gain” for my husband who is currently struggling with finding the motivation (and for myself, of course).
    My daughter, who is 22 weeks into her pregnancy, is also focused on weight gain even though she has never been overweight and this surprises me, so I was interested to see that she is not alone. We live in such a weight-obsessed society – weight loss is big business – that we are constantly bombarded with messages that we are not good enough – sad really.
    There is so much here of value that I will be following, so that I can check back and read more.

  20. Your honesty and willing to share yourself with others is amazing. Thank you. Sincerely. I mean that. Thank you.

    I have never been pregnant, nor a mom, but it sounds like you and your husband have created an amazing circle of love. I predict adding Emma to your family will increase the love exponentially.

    Are there things that you are doing specifically related to loving yourself? Do any of those things need to be “changed up” a bit? These are meant as rhetorical questions as they are so personal. And questions that I am asking myself in my own situation. I think back to the pictures where you “re-viewed” for positive aspects — what a great exercise!

    A Mighty Girl is a good website (and Facebook page) that you may enjoy and support positive dreaming of all of the wonderful ways that you will love, nurture, support, and raise your daughter.

    All the best to you on your journey.

  21. First of all: Congratulations on your present state. I wish you all the best.
    I can perfectly understand that you are uncomfortable “showing off the bump” (I am the person who cannot sit down in public without puting something on my lap – a jacket, a bag – in order to hide my belly ), but : Before I was pregnant, my weight was about 200 lbs. And when I was pregnant, nobody noticed. I never was that happy mother-to-be. I still was that ugly, fat Lady, not worth a second look. People actually were very surprised, when I told them about my baby. In our society pregnancy is the only time of your life when a big belly is seen as nice and you get smiles for it. I hope you will be able to enjoy this time and don`t worry too much about gaining weight. Greetings from abroad.

  22. When I’m fat, I feel thin and when I’m thin I feel fat and fret over every calorie too many, every pound gained, etc. A large part of that for me comes because when I’m fat, people don’t comment on my weight very much because they’re afraid of offending me, or they just don’t notice me, but as I lose it, everyone starts complimenting me, and then I’m like “Oh…they’re watching me…they’re going to see every little gain…” and it becomes about looking good to others instead of feeling good about myself (and I gain faster because I’m stressed about it). :-p It’s terrible! This year I’m leaning hard on God in this area and focusing on how He sees me and letting Him weigh in on my food decisions and guide me through the maze of crazy that has been created through past experiences. Just in the last month He’s taught me to have a better relationship with food and myself that hasn’t brought a lot of weight loss, but has brought me back from the brink of crazy stress, and I feel a lot more grounded and capable of having control over food instead of it having control over me. And for me, that’s the biggest step I’ve needed to take. I’m now more focused on “Am I healthy?” than “My scale must be broken!”

    You will make a great mom, and I’m praying for God to reveal to you who you are in His eyes. As we get His perspective, it makes it a lot easier to reject the world’s perspective which is quite skewed.

  23. You’ve explained that exact way I am feeling. One day I am fine and the next day I think how will I feel about my body after I give birth to my wonderful gift from God. Thank You for sharing.

  24. People normally don’t open up about stuff like this. Women especially, with changing bodies and motherhood, should feel free to feel how they feel and express that as they desire. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. But it’s true, that cliche–we really do need to love ourselves before anything really real can change. Happy Pregnancy though!

  25. I’ve gained 44 pounds while pregnant and it isn’t very easy for me to loose weight. I felt the need to lie to people, so they won’t think I was eating too much (and become even more fat after the delivery). I never used pregnancy as an excuse to eat more (or unhealthy food), on the contrary I was focusing on the baby and tried to do what was best for him.
    I breastfeed, and after a few months I lost almost the whole weight I had gained. I’m still loosing weight (I was 149.6 when I became pregnant and now, after one year the baby was born I weight 142.1 pounds). I’m still not on my desirable weight, I want to reach 130 pounds, or at least 132. But more about your hormones and the baby. Once Emma is born, you’ll have a lot of other stuff going on, and it will drive you crazy. You’ll feel insecure so don’t let your body be one more problem for you to deal with.
    Focus on your well-being, on your partner and on your baby. You’ll face a big change and only love will help you.
    Take care!

  26. I so appreciate your raw honesty in your posts. I personally have not experienced this – 1) I have not reached my weight loss goal and 2) I have been unable to conceive. While I cannot understand exactly what you are going through, please know I (and many others) understand the pain of the core issues you discuss. You are an amazing human being. You are worthy. You are healthy. You are growing another human. Try to give yourself the grace you give others. Lots of love dear friend… you’ve got this 🙂

  27. Dealing with a changing body and hormones during pregnancy is trying enough without the added baggage of weight issues, yet our culture pours those issues on us so we nearly drown in them.

    A close family member, who lost weight similarly to you before (and, I might add, also after) her first pregnancy, is suffering with just such issues right now. She’s pregnant again and worried about the weight gain. She seems to feel it’s her fault that she’s gaining weight, yet she’s excelling at a stressful full-time job, taking care of two other children, maintaining a wonderful relationship and trying to keep it all together while enduring unending morning sickness issues. She’s heroic in my book. As are you.

    I hope for you what I hope for her: That you find comfort and ease as you navigate your pregnancy and deal with the mental, emotional and physical changes. May you also find strength and courage each day and every step of the way. Most especially, may you enjoy the thrill of feeling this new person growing inside you and as you plan to welcome little Emma into the world.

  28. I see myself so much in your post. I lost 100#, and had my ups and downs for 4 years until I got pregnant with my daughter. The beauty and the challenge of this is, that it has forced me to see that if I want a daughter who is healthy and loves herself, then *I* need to push myself to BE that person. I am far from perfect–I still struggle some days–but my daughter has given me a strength I did not know I had. You’ll get through this and find your way…I promise. It ain’t always roses, but there is beauty in even the toughest days. Congratulations to you. I will look forward to continuing to read your blog, and watching your journey unfold!

  29. I was obese when pregnant and people were crappy to me about it. I think pregnancy is hard, period. I give you a lot of credit for staying healthy. And being honest when so many people are not about what a mental and internal struggle weight loss in large numbers can be. Thanks!

  30. It will, self love is hard. Crash the Chatterbox is a great book..core belief cards have also helped me switch the tape in my mind.

  31. just found your post after a quick search on pregnancy after weight loss. I’m not pregnant (yet) but am planning on it next year and after losing 160 pounds …so I feel like I can relate to what you’re saying. so thank you so much for putting in to words what I am already stressing about!! Thanks for your honesty about your struggles and congrats on the pregnancy!

    • Good luck 🙂 at some point I will write a post about some of the pros and cons of pregnancy after weight loss. There are definite pros. I kind of feel like my body is more prepared for being this big, for instance. It’s definitely different – your uterus doesn’t bend/isn’t squishy – but there are some similarities. I fret over gaining weight, but I don’t worry at all about “my body returning to its shape”…because my body was already quite covered in loose skin. Also, that loose skin has made expanding more comfortable, heh. Anyways – pregnancy is so different for everyone, but that’s been my experience. I had been SO curious before getting pregnant if it might be different for me because my body had been big before.

      • Oh not to mention that I already had bunches of other sized clothing laying around — saved money before I needed maternity pants 🙂 ha

  32. I was 275 and lost 140 pounds. I went from one extreme to the other. I first read your blog a year ago today when I was hiding the start of my eating disorder battle. I’m still battling and it’s much worse than a year ago. You are beautiful and inspiring (and I HATE when people say that to me) but I can urge you enough for your daughters sake to seek help if you can’t get past the number on the scale post-partum. Look up your local eating disorder coalition and get hooked up with a specialized therapist or dietician. Do anything it takes. This is a miserable existence living by my scales. I never saw this coming in weight loss. I never expected there to be no end in site because I can’t stand what I see in the mirror. I can’t seem to see the 5 babies I carried or the loose skin from losing an entire person worth of weight. I still look in the mirror and see a horrifying image.
    Best of luck to you in your new journey as a mommy!

  33. Very inspirational. I thought I was the only one obsessing about the weight gain and hating myself and not enjoying my pregnancy.

  34. I one hundred percent understand this. I am currently 14 weeks pregnant and have lost 42kilos in the last 10months and now I feel like I look stupid to people. I posted about my success in weight loss and no I am going to be fat again 😭 I really want to be one of those girls who “is all baby” or can just lose it as soon as the baby is born. But I am so scared.

    • I promise that you do not look stupid to anyone. Pregnancy requires weight gain, and, no, it’s probably not going to just poof away afterwards. But, you might be surprised to find that it doesn’t matter so much – at least not for a while. And, anyways, my daughter is 3, and I’m 20 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. 🙂 it’s all going to be ok.

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