I Had So Much Body Confidence -- Until I Got Pregnant

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Cheyenne Gil

This article is part of a series dedicated to providing support and visibility to plus-size pregnant mothers. To read more stories, visit Plus-Size, Pregnant & Proud. To apply to join our private community on Facebook, click here

As an undeniably fat woman, I carried a weight that was inarguably worse than the number on the scale. I had spent the first 28 years of my life shouldering the burden of being ashamed of my body, hiding it behind ill-fitting clothes and punishing it for existing the way it did. That was until in 2015, when I decided I had finally had enough. 

Not enough of being fat -- enough of hating myself for the way I looked. 

  • It all started with a selfie.

    A post shared by Lauren Gordon (@laurengord0n) on

    I had always avoided photos as much as possible -- so much so that this millennial didn't even have an active Instagram. So in November of 2015, I decided I'd post my first selfie -- and I even showed off a sleeveless arm! For someone who wore cardigans in the dead of summer so she wouldn't "offend" others with her arm fat, this was a momentous victory. 

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  • This foray into the self-love spectrum inspired me to do more challenges. I graduated from selfies to full body photos. I began playing with my style. And I even wore a bikini, in public, for the first time in my life.

    A post shared by Lauren Gordon (@laurengord0n) on

    I started doing a "selfie a day" project and quietly documented pushing myself out of my comfort zones. And once I surrounded myself with positive people in the plus-size community, the sky became the limit. 

    Screeching thoughts like "I feel so fat" and "Ugh I am disgusting" grew much quieter. If it was 90 degrees outside, I wore shorts instead of roasting in jeans. I allowed myself to be seen and demanded respect -- it was truly the most liberated I had ever felt in my life. 

  • And then, I got pregnant.

    ultrasound
    Lauren Gordon

    My husband and I had been trying for a few months, and when I finally saw those two bright pink lines staring back at me, I was flooded with every emotion a person could feel. Once my mind knew my body was pregnant, it without a doubt changed the way I saw the entire world -- including myself. 

    More from CafeMom: 4 Women Reveal What It's Really Like to Be Plus-Size & Pregnant

  • As I carried around the secret that I had a baby in my belly, I felt like I almost immediately didn't recognize myself.

    So I began researching what it was like to be plus-size and pregnant, hoping to find solace in a community like I had before. But instead of finding moms baring their bellies or telling me how they felt about their bodies with babies in them, I was hit with a barrage of information that made me feel like the worst thing my fat body could have done was gotten pregnant. 

    Not only was I apparently single-handedly ruining my child's future at living a healthy life, but I was also doomed to a miserable pregnancy -- if my child survived at all.  

  • "Fat" suddenly became a thing to feel guilty about again. Not only was I going to look "less" appealing, but I was also evidently destined to be a terrible parent for it too.

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    There were many nights spent crying myself to sleep, running over all the things I was doing wrong and all the ways this body I had was betraying me. I couldn't wear T-shirts without a cover-up sweater again. I couldn't walk by a mirror without sucking in. I couldn't wear the clothes that had once given me confidence. I became a depressive shell, and worst of all, I felt like I was failing because I was incapable of loving myself. 

    I spent a majority of my first trimester in a frighteningly depressive state, entirely triggered by worry about how society was going to react to my fat, pregnant body. 

  • At 22 weeks pregnant and finally "showing," I found myself scrutinizing myself yet again in front of the mirror.

    I was pulling at the fabric of a fitted dress and asked my husband aloud:

    "Ugh! Does this dress make me look fat or pregnant?"

    And then it hit me. Before he could even answer, I found myself saying:

    "What difference does it make?"

    Does that make me a less lovable person if people can't "tell" if I am fat or pregnant? Does it mean I am going to be a terrible wife or mother to my kid if I don't look like a stereotypical mom? Does it mean I am any less an expectant mother who deserves to marvel at the wonder her body was able to house and create?

    No, it certainly doesn't. 

    More from CafeMom: Here's What It Really Looks Like to be Plus-Size & Pregnant

  • The truth is, there is very little support for plus-size pregnant mothers out there. We don't see ourselves in the media, we're told heinous statistics that do not apply to all of us, and we can barely find clothes that complement our already marginalized bodies.

    With a reported 67 percent of American women sizing at 14 and above, it is only fair to assume that there is just as large a statistic of plus-size pregnant women. But even being as immersed in body positivity as I am, I felt the impact of this isolation. 

    But then I remembered that my body -- especially my pregnant body-- isn't an issue of morality. As part of a growing majority, I deserve to be seen, respected, and loved just as much as any thin, pregnant woman is.

    While I can't make the industry change or totally shift the media tide, I can hopefully let other plus-size pregnant women know that they aren't alone. It's okay that you feel down about yourself today, but just know that you, your pregnancy, and your family aren't any less legitimate because of a number on a scale.