The Long Weight

A journey of being pregnant with an eating disorder.
1st trimester vs 8 months

Cute baby bumps, pregnancy glow and luscious hair… WRONG. Maybe I have shitty friends, but no one ever told me just how miserable I would be in my first trimester. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom and finally in late February 2011 we conceived our first child. Immediately upon conception I started feeling really lousy. While my husband (Kevin) can argue that I am usually hormonal, I really am not. With pregnancy came a rush of crazy hormones that left me thinking very dark thoughts. Coupled with the dark thoughts came extreme exhaustion and morning sickness that occurred at all hours of the day.

It wasn’t glamorous.

As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for upwards of 15 years, pregnancy was a very conflicting time. Here I was, about to embark on a journey that would involve gaining more weight than I care to admit. Not only was I going to gain weight, I was throwing up multiple times per day. Kevin was obviously concerned as I wasn’t keeping anything down. I know he questioned the reason behind my purging and even I questioned whether I was throwing up because of morning sickness or due to my underlying eating disorder.

At my second prenatal check I was given the news that I had lost 9 lbs. Of course I was extatic, who doesn’t like losing weight? Well, that joy quickly turned to worry as my doctor was aware of my eating disorder and questioned whether I was taking my morning sickness as an excuse to purge. I promised I wasn’t practicing my eating disorder, but he didn’t exactly believe me.

4, 5, 6 & 7 months

By 18 weeks I expected to have some sort of a baby bump, but to my dismay I was not showing at all. 19 weeks, 21 weeks, 28 weeks passed and I still was not showing like the other moms. My weight had only fluctuated 5 lbs and my doctor expressed concerns. This was also the time when I made the switch to a midwives group in order to have the birth I wanted. You can read that story in the birth section.

I promised I was eating and wasn’t throwing up. I was telling the truth, but no one seemed to believe me. I felt bigger, but it wasn’t obvious that I was pregnant. People questioned whether my baby was OK and quite honestly I started to doubt whether he was OK. Growth scans showed that he was smaller, but not to be too concerned. We were told he would probably just be a small baby, lucky if he was 6 lbs. I was a small baby so I wasn’t concerned by the news. We continued to have growth scans as my fundal height consistently measured short and my son was measuring small.

By 30 weeks I finally had a little bump. I showed up to my baby shower and was fitting into a Forever 21 size medium. I felt good, but wished I had an adorable pregnancy bump.

The few people I confided in about having an eating disorder while pregnant told me how lucky I was to be small. Surprisingly, all I wanted was the famed baby bump seen around the world and mine was nowhere to be found. I didn’t care if it meant gaining weight, I wanted that damn bump.

Somewhere around 28-30 weeks I was put on a 3000 calorie a day high protein diet. I finally started to gain weight. It was probably a combination of the ultra high calorie count, 100 grams of protein per day and not being able to swim and practice yoga everyday that finally jump started my weight gain. I was told I needed to gain 45 pounds and while I never looked at the scale, I know I gained plenty. The key to surviving the insane weight gain of pregnancy I would highly recommend never looking at the scale. The scale is not your friend.

At 36 weeks, someone finally asked me if I was pregnant. I was ecstatic! It was the moment I had been waiting for my entire pregnancy, Woohoo! It was the one and only time someone asked me if I was pregnant though and I would be pregnant for another 6 weeks.

10 months pregnant

As I continued to go to my weekly appointments my weight kept climbing, although I refused to look at the scale. My midwives group had 4 midwives and while I primarily saw, Shirley and Mary the one day I saw one of the others my weight was mentioned. I felt gutted. She said, “You must have been itty bitty, you look fantastic for gaining 30 lbs.” I did. Not. Want. To. Know. That. My midwives knew not to mention my weight, it was in my chart in big letters next to my latex allergy. I’m still bitter about that day.

When I finally gave birth to Atticus at 42 weeks I knew I had immediatly lost a ton of weight. I promised myself not to look at the number, but like most old habits; I checked the number. I am now 5 weeks post partum and while I still haven’t been cleared to work out, I am determined to get back in pre-baby shape without stressing out. I will not focus on the number and instead focus on how my clothes are fitting. I know my eating disorder will always be there, but in order to be the best mom and wife I have to put it aside and focus on being healthy for my family.

About the author

Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Endsleysmama -  January 6, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    This is a story of success. You birthed a healthy and big baby boy! Loved reading this.

  2. Jenifer -  January 6, 2012 - 3:24 pm

    What a beautiful story you shared. Sorry for the struggle. As a mom that is told to watch my calories, it is interesting to hear your story. Proud of you!!!

  3. Amanda -  January 6, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    Loved reading this! Such a great story and such a great outcome–your beautiful little boy!

  4. Amy Kenerson -  January 6, 2012 - 7:55 pm

    It’s always such a topic for discussion.. Our weight during pregnancy.. We feel guilty and gross if we gain too much, but secretly proud and smug when we keep our weight gain low..Yet we are expected to birth a chubby 8 pound baby.. It’s such a unfair position forced upon us.. After 8 pregnancies I’ve found the key to be the old standard, everything in moderation focusing on packing as much healthiness into each bite..You did a great job Mama.. Your baby boy is perfection..

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