Ugh, I gained 5 pounds over the weekend. After indulging in pizza, ice cream and crepes I really can’t feel too badly for myself. I gain weight really easily. It’s just the way I am. Although I run 6-10 miles nearly every day and watch my diet carefully, every time I indulge the pounds just pile on.
When I am pregnant the weight gain is ridiculous. My doctor literally puts me on a diabetic diet and yet I still gain way too much weight. One month she made me write down everything I ate (I think she suspected I ate doughnuts for every meal), but she apologized after seeing my food journal.
I’ve come to accept my slow metabolism but it took a rather shameful incident to reform me.
I was pregnant with Hans, my third son, and my doctor was lecturing me about gaining 7 pounds in one month. Still in the throes of morning sickness I had been exercising every day and was so careful about what I ate. I was incredibly frustrated.
After the appointment I called Erik in tears, “What’s wrong with my body? Why is it so horrible? I can’t stand this!”
Erik calmly and gently replied, “There’s nothing wrong with your body. You’re pregnant and you need to gain weight. You’ll lose it later. Now, if you want to see someone whose body is going wrong, turn around and go up to LDS Hospital. Go and see Anne and count your blessings.”
My friend Anne was dying of brain cancer. She had a loving husband and a 3 year old daughter. For two years Anne had gone through chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and several surgeries– she was not doing well.
I told myself that her family didn’t want me to intrude, that I needed to get home to the babysitter and honestly, that I just wanted to feel sorry for myself today. Tomorrow would be a better day to visit Anne.
I went home and shuffled through the day taking care of my kids and shedding tears over my fat body. I missed my chance to see my friend again. Anne died the next day. She was 27 years old.
At the funeral I wept and wept. Usually, I feel most sorry for the family left behind at a funeral– parents missing their children, families sorrowing for grandparents– but at Anne’s funeral I wept for her losses. She left behind a daughter that she wouldn’t get to raise, a husband who would go on to find someone else, a life only half-started. No mother, no matter how ill, wants to leave her children in someone else’s care.
I wish I could say I never whined about gaining weight again. I still complain. But I am grateful, so grateful, for a my life and health and every day the profound privilege of holding my children.