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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.

It sucked.

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.


13 Responses to body by baby

  • Abby Siegel says:

    Great post Erin! Best of luck, you'll do great. I have my YOUNGER brother's wedding coming up in May so I am going full force with the exercising and diet in April after my vacation. I work out a lot and am not really seeing the results I want because of my dietary habits. In a few weeks if you need a diet buddy let me know!

  • Laura says:

    I loved your story! It felt like you were talking about me! 3 years after my baby was born I'm still battling the bulge. I need to stop this runaway train! You inspired me to get on track.

  • Mary says:

    Loved this Erin! You are a great role model for Katherine and she is lucky to have a wonderful mommy like you!

  • Sarah says:

    Ering what a great post. As I sit here five months along eating a bag of jelly beans for lunch I am now wondering how I am going to face everyone at my brother's wedding three weeks after this little peanut is born. AGH – it is so hard to stay on top of all of it but so refreshing to know that others are in the same boat!

  • Angie says:

    You know how much faith I have in you!!! And sweet Katherine will love her mommy no matter what!!! However, we are still on for ice cream and a movie……sorry to be such an enabler.


  • Tully's Mama says:

    My girl EKB, thank you for this excellent piece. I loved your post and it has hit home. Show little K that you are a strong, healthy mama that makes good food choices and she has no chance but to follow suit as she grows older. I heart WW, by the way. I'm a point counting savant and have finally found the program for me!! If you need a diet buddy, I'm there for ya. Maybe time for another marathon…this time in Hawaii instead of Ireland?

  • Mom says:

    Hey, this is my baby I'm reading! You are good, my little girl. You really made me laugh with you. You have delivered a powerful message in a delightful way and I am so proud of you!

  • Milena says:

    Really enjoyed your post Erin. Here's something a friend told me the other day which she supposedly heard on a Saturday Night Live skit. One character tells a group of others who are in a weight watching program, "Remember, nothing tastes half as good as being thin feels." That about sums it up, don't you think? Now If I could only get my mouth to understand this.

  • JLB says:

    I have watched you spend so much of your life helping others and unselfishly giving, giving, giving (more times to me than I could ever count) without ever expecting anything back in return. Now, you are tackling this not only for yourself but for your little girl's future. That is wonderful and a powerful measure for her to see. She will be forever grateful and I am beyond proud of you. We all support you SO much and will do anything to help you reach your goals. Keep counting those points and leaning on us for support. Knock 'Em Dead. I KNOW you can do it.

  • Renee says:

    Hi!!! You are hysterical. I feel like I'm siting in your living room hearing the story in person (which I miss by the way). I am so proud of you for thinking positively about your weight and setting a good example for Miss K. You look fantastic. Keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to all of us who have struggled with our weight. 🙂

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