Maybe you’re just too fat to have a baby and other things no one said but I heard in my head

I’ve struggled with my weight for much of my adult life. I was very active in as a kid and through my teen years, and with only a few exceptions of the low-fat lifestyle trends of the 90s, I didn’t think all that much about what I ate. I started pretty steadily putting on weight in college, but for much of my early 20s remained only about a size or two bigger than I was when I graduated. I wouldn’t call myself a yo-yo dieter, but an slowly-moving, unmotivated yo-yo is a fairly apt description of my weight after 26 or 27.

Three years into fertility treatments, the scale isn’t too kind to me. It started to tick up when I started Clomid, then exploded during the transition from IUIs to IVF. Much of this was related to the hormones pumping through my body. It is also more literally tied to eating ice cream to dull the feelings of unsuccessful cycles, miscarriages and feeling like I’m completely broken. I can own that. All total I put on about 35 pounds in these three years and, in October when I met with the doctor offering a second opinion, was the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Over the course of that conversation, the new RE suggested that because of my weight, I was probably producing poor quality eggs, resulting in poor quality embryos, leading to lack of implantation. I wasn’t shocked by this assessment, but I was taken aback. This wasn’t a factor on the table with my Peyton Manning doctor. He never once said to me that I should consider putting the spoon down. I’d certainly read a bit online about BMI affecting egg quality, but if I’d asked and my doctor didn’t think it was the reason for three years of ultimately unsuccessful treatments, then it probably wasn’t… right?

In the moment, I left that RE’s office feeling absolutely deflated (like Tom Brady’s footballs… [I’m just going to keep running with these weird football analogies, so roll with it]). It was a deep cut to hear that my weight could be preventing me from achieving success. He’d told me that to take me on as a new patient, he’d want me to first lose 20 pounds. Twenty pounds caused by Clomid and ice cream and Estrace and pizza and watching everyone else become a mother.

Over the last four weeks I’ve used every ounce of brain space that I once reserved for progesterone dosages and ultrasound appointments to retrain myself to eat. Knowing myself well enough to know follow-through isn’t my strongest quality when it comes to a new routine, I joined one of the medically-supervised weight loss clinics that seem to be popping up on every corner. The staff has been supportive and has helped me address the areas of emotional eating that are the biggest triggers and challenges for me. I feel better, and I’m doing really well on their program. I’ve said goodbye to sugar (again), and have actually started to like the taste of Greek yogurt. I belong in a Dannon commercial.

I’m going to tick that 20 pounds off and keep going until we’ve pulled together the financials for another stim round. I can’t be the thing standing in my way of being a mom, so I’m not going to be.

Fatty McButterpants

I have a brother eight years younger than I… we’re the best of friends, and I really helped to raise him. He’s now an amazing, hard-working man that I am very proud to call my brother and my friend. When he was about eight years old, he started to put on some weight. This continued for a few years, and┬áthen he got into weight-lifting as a teenager. He got ripped. Still is. He’s won many weight-lifting competitions. When we look back at old photos of his awkward years, we call him “Fatty McButterpants.”

As a kid, I was the opposite. I was very active as a cheerleader (I can hardly even believe that now!) — jumping, tumbling, lifting and whatnot — and was always a thin, healthy size for my small stature (I’m 5’2″).┬áThen college happened, I discovered gourmet cupcakes and binge-watching DVDs, and the rest is history. Gone were my days of size fours.

I’m a big believer (pun intended) in ending the era of fat-shaming (one of my favorite bloggers, Brittany Gibbons, is an incredible advocate and a daily inspiration in reminding me my weight isn’t going to stop me from doing awesome things). Trying on a bathing suit is likely to send me to cry on the floor of my closet with a half-gallon of cookies and cream ice cream. I’m absolutely an emotional eater. My scale fluctuates depending on my stress level and if I’ve discovered a new flavor of pop-tarts.

I’ve asked my fertility doctor if my weight is negatively affecting my ability to conceive. She says it’s not (other than a low thyroid issue that I’m also on meds for). But there’s a lot of information out there that says it could be. My focus, especially since we started trying to have a baby, has been getting healthier, making better choices. Only spending half of my Saturday binging on Netflix and the other half taking my dog for a walk or heading to the gym. Eating a banana or a protein bar when 3:00 hits instead of driving to Duck Donuts. I succeed in this about half of the time. I admit I have a lot of work to do.

What has caught me off-guard, though, has been my weight gain on Clomid. While it may be working great in helping my body produce healthy round follicles, I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that it’s causing some roundness in other places too. Probably seven or eight pounds of round. Which means my pants no fit.

Other than the unfair pregnancy-like symptoms I’ve written about before, I thought I’d been experiencing Clomid relatively unscathed. One hears so many horror stories, after all. But now that I’m smack in the middle of month four, it’s become clear there’s some scathing. Another eight pounds on an already Umpaloompa-ish body is not cute. Particularly as swimsuit season approaches here in the South.

It’s difficult to rectify the feelings I have about weight gain with knowing that it’s caused for a “good reason.” I worry about how much harder it will be to take the weight off postpartum, when there’s a lot less time to think about being active and not grabbing for the Oreos, because, ya know, I’m then responsible for an infant. That’s going to be rough…

I pretty much just fat-shamed myself, huh?

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