By Erin K. Butler
Two months after I gave birth to my daughter Katherine I went to the wedding of a close girlfriend. The bride and her family gushed about how wonderful I looked and I was feeling very super model Heidi Klum-ish… until I saw a mutual friend of the bride and she asked me when the baby was due.
Ok, now the last time she saw me I was only three months along and not showing… and clearly she can’t do math otherwise she would have figured out I would have already given birth…and I was sitting down, behind a puffy tablecloth, in a black dress… and she doesn’t have any children so she doesn’t know the “rule” that you NEVER ask a woman when she is due unless she brings it up first.
It really sucked.
After that humiliating experience, I began to rethink how “wonderful” I looked. It took four more months of denial and a lot of ice cream (come on, it’s calcium for the nursing baby) before I was ready to kiss Ben and Jerry’s goodbye and embrace starvation, um, I mean a diet.
I decided to brave Weight Watchers. Stepping on any scale has always been torture for me, the numbers are never friendly. But what was really nice about this time was that I had my baby in tow. Translation: a reason for being fat.
Even though it was 25 degrees out I didn’t think twice about stripping down to my tank top and skin hugging black pants – which could almost pass for tights but I am shamelessly wearing them as leggings as they are the lightest thing I own. Hey, every ounce counts. I held my breath as Jane (who lost 48 pounds in 2005 says her name tag) weighed me.
As she wrote down the most horrifying number, I began to do the math in my head.
Ok…what I weighed when I got pregnant…plus the pregnancy weight…and now this depressing figure….hey, wait a minute! I am lighter than before I got pregnant? I am 15 pounds lighter? What the? How is that even possible? My clothes don’t fit, my stomach is jello, my endurance is crap, people are asking when the baby is due….and I weigh less? How could that be? And can I somehow convince Miss I Lost 48 Pounds to put that 15 pound loss on my chart?
As I sat in the drive-through line at McDonalds waiting for my milkshake (oh, was I suppose to start the diet today?) still stewing about my weight loss that has some how made me look fatter, I knew this was one of those silly life altering moments that could have me celebrating my daughter’s first birthday this summer in a mini-skirt or a moo-moo.
Then Katherine started babbling in the back seat, reminding me that it’s really not just about me anymore. And she’s right. My weight and the way I eat will directly impact her in the near future – how she eats, how she thinks about food and how she ends up thinking about her body. More than anything, I don’t want her to feel the negativity I have always felt about my weight and body. And in a very rare moment of strength, I drove away sans shake.
So the quest to find my waist line begins. But this time, unlike hundreds of times in the past (seriously), the reward is not just a smaller size and liking the way I look but rather the future health and happiness of my daughter, which is worth turning down even the yummiest of treats.
And really, if I can survive 19 ½ hours of labor, I can survive this.