Madam, aap pregnant hain kya? Oh no, Not Again! I am at the security check booth at the airport, and this is the umpteenth time the CRPF guard on duty has asked me this question before scanning me. Anyway, from now on, I will just have to suck in my tummy and hold my breath for the few seconds that she scans me. Apart from, of course wearing flared clothing that stays far far away from the body!
There! I have admitted it! Admitted to my ridiculous shape. Those who have been reading my blogs will know that I have been baring my heart quite a bit. But believe me when I say, that admitting THIS was tougher. Tougher, because I could have easily remained anonymous on this online blog. Many you have not seen me and many who know me, saw me ages ago. When I was really different.
I was not always like this (i.e. perpetually pregnant looking). In fact, majority of my life I have been underweight and used to being called names such as chhotu, chhutki, virus (I am assuming due to size and not temperament), hangar (clothes seemed to hang off me) and hearing jibes such as – are you from Somalia? or How do people even take you seriously (with this kind of size and structure)?! On top of that diminutive frame was a small face, which meant I never looked my age, often younger than my younger sister. And of course, not to forget the Just About 5 feet height.
But I didn’t mind. Not at all! While some of my friends of similar size and structure did not like being small, I just loved my small frame! I was in college when my cousin gifted me T shirts meant for boys aged 10-12, and I was delighted. I firmly believed that all good things come in small packages. So no body image issues, none at all.
Mind you, I loved flaunting my pregnant belly both the times I was expecting. It is just that when the baby is out, but the fat remains, things aren’t so sexy anymore! I was almost underweight when I conceived the first time, and after having Arnav, I slowly lost weight over the next year or so and settled at a decent weight, with a little bit of a muffin top. Yes, I did mind not being able to fit into pre-pregnancy clothes, but it wasn’t so bad anyhow. Plus, to go back to that level, one needs to be NON lazy, committed to working out and remain disciplined about it. I knew I didn’t have it in me. So I made peace with my body.
[While we are on the topic of work out though – let me digress and share with you my experiences of gymming. So the first one was, when the movie Road released. This was 2002 and I had just started my first job. I was Super impressed with Antara Mali’s flat Abs and decided I wanted one too. I stayed in a working women’s hostel at the time and joined the nearest gym that I found. I told the instructor my area of interest i.e. my abs. To my dismay though he instructed me eat bananas, paneer and milk – basically to gain weight. Needless to say the proposed diet plus the hard work ensured that I didn’t last long. The other two experiments with gymming were after the first baby, when I still had some hopes of coming back to original shape. But after losing money both the times, having taken membership for 6 months, attracted by discounted rates, and barely making it to the gym for two months or so, I decided to confront the truth. Gymming is NOT my piece of cake. Gymming saga ends here.]
Anyway, so seven years later, I conceived again, and twins this time. I looked up pictures of women pregnant with twins – and believe me their tummies were HUGE! My doctor told me that there will be a time when I won’t be able to look down at my feet! And it all excited me!! I took pictures of my growing belly every month and shared with friends and family! And by the time I delivered, I am not exaggerating, I pretty much looked like a beached whale. But it didn’t worry me. Of course, I will be huge, I am carrying two babies. It will go once they are out.
Unfortunately, it didn’t. I waited patiently over months, waited for the fat to reduce, but it didn’t. And, it looked different from the muffin top I had earlier. It was a weird, apple kind of a shape. so of course I googled. And found out about Diastasis Recti. This is a condition that affects pregnant women – mostly after second pregnancy or in case of multiples. Both boxes checked in my case. So what happens is this, the ab muscles, whose role it is to keep your guts from falling out, become weak and get pushed apart. See how. WARNING – graphic ahead.
This was a revelation for me. And for other moms facing belly fat issues – please check if you may be suffering from the same condition. It is important because regular exercises, yoga etc. may actually make this worse. To me this was a great piece of news – because now I could tell anybody who suggested a work out to get in shape, that it is not an option for me!! That trainers who know how to deal with DR are far and few in between (to tell you the truth, I haven’t bothered checking).
So where does that leave me? I am back to getting used to my current body shape, buying large, flared clothes and munching my cheese toast and bhujia. And of course I dream about a tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty, which seems to me the easier way of getting back in shape. Though I haven’t bothered finding about that either, given all the warnings I have received from everyone I shared the idea with.
But those who are more conscious and disciplined than I am, please do the following:
- Figure out what your body needs – fat reduction, muscle toning, or is it the specific case of Diastasis Recti. If so, please make sure you have the right trainer and doing the right exercises. (linking something here that I have not tried myself)
- Diet control – avoid crash diets, our bodies need all nutrients, including carbs and fats in the right proportion. Focus on a lower calorie diet, rather than omitting certain food types (e.g. fat, carbs) and Do Not try to lose weight too fast. Your body will get it all back eventually. You can look at this app, I found it interesting.
- Do a full body check up, including hormone levels and thyroid functioning. Sometimes, weight gain (or loss) can be due to those imbalances.
But those like me, sit back and relax, your body shape doesn’t determine who you are anyway.
Lotsa Love and Cheer!