Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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A Weighty Subject

It's hard to write about being fat. Especially when you've never been fat before or when you're fat because you're pregnant.

"I'm fat". I'll say.

"You're pregnant." Someone will respond.

As if being pregnant magically means you didn't gain ten pounds in each thigh and a good twenty in your ass. To me, overweight is overweight and my ass isn't going to shrink after I push this kid out so I don't feel like I need to be all sensitive about the issue when I'm talking about myself. Still, people get all sorts of worked up about weight and I understand why, I do. I hate when skinny girls bitch about being fat. You assume they have an eating disorder or are fishing for compliments.

I don't have a body image issue, I don't have an eating disorder, it's just really hard to gain a lot of weight in a short period of time, whatever the reason, and the thought of losing all the weight really scares me. I am SO out of shape. Have never felt this terrible in my life. It's going to be hard.

In June of 2009 I weighed between 130 and 133. I never lost the last five pounds from being pregnant with Violet. I currently weigh 185. Fifty-five pounds in nine months. That's like, seven pounds a month or something.

Now listen. I know gaining weight comes with the pregnancy territory and it's not fashionable to call yourself fat while with child but I can tell you that I'm fat. I become so sick during pregnancy that the only way I feel better is by keeping food around at all times. And healthy food doesn't seem to do the trick. Cheese and bread work. Mashed potatoes help a lot. Burritos are indispensable. So I overeat and now I'm fat. And also pregnant.

This has resulted in me not taking as many photos of myself as I did when pregnant with Violet. I feel terribly guilty about this. I mean, like, when my son asks why there aren't as many photos of him in my belly as Violet what do I say? I'm a vain, selfish bitch who was more concerned about what I look like than documenting the beginning of his existence?

Guess so.

So here's what I'm going to do. Post a photo, a very unflattering photo of myself. My amends, if you will, for not documenting this pregnancy more efficiently.

Scenario: I asked Serge to snap a few shots of me the other day. "Just don't get any of my face." I tell him. He's snapping away which makes the dogs agitated which makes Serge agitated and then I get agitated. It's hard to look serene and maternal when your husband is cursing at constantly barking dogs under his breath and then you ask to see some of the photos he's snapped and they suck harder than a hooker going down on Charlie Sheen.

"Dude, what the hell? Are you even looking before you press the button?" Because there my face is, lost in a sea of chins. But before he can respond I leave the room because OH MY GOD. These photos. The worst ever. Remember that movie where Gwyneth Paltrow wears the fat suit. Not so much the fat suit but the make-up and stuff they used to make her face fat? Or when that damn Vanessa Minnillo was running around in a fat suit for Entertainment Tonight to showcase the discrimination faced by overweight people? That's what I feel like.

It's bizarre. Where did I go?

Anyway, enjoy:


You can see another photo here. This one isn't so bad.

Reader Comments (36)

Awww. You're a lovely pregnant lady! And it looks like a good half of that weight you put on is in your BOOBS! Wishing you a fast, easy (and early) labor . . .

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLK

this part does super suck. maybe it will just melt away quickly after this baby. that's what i'm hoping for over here anyway. i feel like i'm carrying triplets...left thigh, right thigh, and mega-ass.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen

You had a post a while back either on here or Babble about pregnant chicks getting all dolled up before labor so they would look pretty in pictures. To be honest I had daydreamed about having my friend come to do my makeup for my own labor (I'm pregnant now with my first) until I read your thoughts on it. You are so right that there is a kind of beautiful thing to the whole birth process and I think to the pregnancy process too that makes it all just kind of wonderful. To be fully made up in a picture with your seconds old baby would kind of throw all that beauty off, just as it would be if you were perfectly skinny right now with a little basketball belly. Yes you have some extra chinnage in this picture but you also have a fucking kid inside your stomach... its supposed to be like that and if you didn't have it wouldn't be as beautiful. Although I obviously cannot write as well as you, I hope you can see I'm just preaching your own words. Because of you I'm going to let myself become what I'm supposed to and try to find the beauty in all of it.... now you go do the same woman!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg W.

you are always beautiful and your honesty only contributes to that.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristine from canada

You're probably sick and tired of people telling you that you look beautiful (even though you DO), so I won't dribble on about how you're stunningly gorgeous (and at 135, or even 150, you could be a freaking supermodel), but I WILL offer you a bit of solace. I'm a photographer... a SHORT photographer (5'1"), and I've had to learn the hard way that if I don't wear high heels in photoshoots, I could expose a double chin on even Kate Moss.

My point is this: that photo is ALL ANGLE. That's why it looks like you have plural chins. I can tell that you don't, and that it's just the angle that is making it less flattering. Any time the point of the camera is below (or in this case, to the left) of your chin, and worse, your collarbone, ANYONE will look like they have a few chins.

Chin up, babe. You may not feel like as hot of a mama as you usually do, but you're in the final lap. And, as a SLC local, if you want some FREE pregnancy photos (from happy flattering angles), I would happily do them for you. (Yes, for free. Cuz I'd love to meet you!) Email me! :)

Love, Jen

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Your honesty is just killer... thank you for that.... and mostly you just look really tired. Made me want to give you scented candles, a warm bath and a good book.


February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura B

I think you look great for a week or so away from giving birth! The weight will come off and I bet it will come off faster than you may expect.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

Of course you have a body image issue, or you wouldn't have written about it a dozen or more times. So please stop. you are growing another human. your thighs rub together now, they won't after awhile. You are an excellent writer about all things except about being fat, because you don't REALLY know what it is like except during pregnancy, and that is a completely different scenario. So please stop.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjls

I can't say what it's like to be pregnant, but as someone who was relatively thin and hot for a long time, went through some bad shit and relied on food for love, and consequently gained a bunch of weight, I will tell you that it is not impossible to lose it. Hard? Yeah. But I did an intensive programand lost 39.5 pounds IN 12 WEEKS. I didn't drink. I didn't eat processed food. And I worked out. I"m not suggesting you do all that, but between breastfeeding and healthy eating (I suggest looking at resources on eating clean - clean eating magazine, Tosca Reno, etc.,), I bet you can knock off 20 pounds pretty quickly. Hang in there! -m

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMishell

I wish I could use the excuse of pregnancy to blame my weight issues on, but alas, I cannot. I'm just fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. :)

Take Laura up on the scented candles, warm bath and good book. Ahhhh... sounds good, maybe I'll go do that.

Here's to a speedy, smooth delievery, and a quick 10 lbs GONE! Cheers!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

@jls - I don't think being upset by such a large weight gain equals body image issue at all. It's a difficult thing to deal with whether it's due to pregnancy or not. And I'm not just referring to what it looks like. I feel awful. Worse than I ever have in my life. I have no muscle. I can't walk down the driveway. I still won't have muscle after I give birth. Just because I've never been fat before this doesn't mean I can't talk about it (at length) if I want to. People overweight for overeating, bad thyroids, whatever, don't own the market on being upset about their bodies.

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterMonica

I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you look pregnant.

I think the weight will come off easily if you're just careful about what you eat afterwards (smaller portions, many meals) and become active when you can. Part of what has made pregnancy so hard for me is not being able to be active (too tired, sick and achy) but I'm confident that once I can be, I will. Hang in there, complete with lameass poster of kitten in branches.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

You're beautiful and you'll be back to your pre-baby body with dedication after he arrives.

Or...Maybe your little guy weighs 40 pounds and you'll be teeny right after delivery. Here's hoping - cheers!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMickey

The Sears Bendover Pant?
Oh come on....Thin is OUT. Stout is IN. Chin is IN too. So is BUTT. Baby needs a nice big mommy!

PS. Football in the corner pocket. I think it's a good time as any to start doing the Kegell and V Stretch exercises? There are some pretty disgusting You Tubes on P massage but I WILL NOT.

Hang in there!!! I tell you it's gonna melt off!

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

kegel shmegel....

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

I gained almost exactly like you with Ever, she's 2 months old now. I am 5'7 and went from 140 to 185. I just got weighed for the first time the other day and I'm down to 157 2 months out. That's a little more encouraging than what I expected after my third birth, and being 36. I know the end sucks, my hips were in agony. I woke every two hours with a steel pick in my hip, turned, went back to sleep, repeat. Hang in there. Hang in there.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaggie may

Monica I am a big fan of yours , but really...can you please stop going on about how fat you are and how bad you look all the time? It's getting so boring and a little ofensive to any readers who really are fat and ugly..You are not fat, you are pregnant and you are still a very good looking woman.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterP

as i read this i felt so bad because my lesbo crush is being mean to herself...then i saw the picture and LAUGHED MY ASS OFF! i don't mean to be unsupportive, but you still are super hot. i have been so good this pregnancy, working out EVERYDAY. i run at least three miles a day. i'm not telling you this to boast, it's that you STILL look way better than i d after i did all this damn work.

you got good genes, so you will return to your self again in no time. my genes suck and i often think of hitting my adorable, but pudgy grandma in the head...

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

I would tap that.

Oh wait! I already did!

Yizzle BaDizzzzle!

Also: I went and got milk and Diet Coke at the store.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterserge

Wow it's amazing how your body can expand to carry a child. Think of it! What a freakin miracle. I love this photo. You look beautiful, pudginess and all. There is something so primal, serene and radiant about motherhood. I'm glad you posed for this picture. Someday your son will be proud of it.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterniobe19

Honey, I gained 83 lbs. with my first almost 30 years ago. Still clinging to me. Time to cut the umbilical cord ;)

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBridgette

I'm not going to be a joiner-inner and tell you you're beautiful, cuz hell, aren't we all supposed to be on the inside (this is what was told to me as a chunky girl all through elementary/jr high/high scool). Instead, I wanted to offer my empathy as I know exactly how you feel. About six months before my wedding day, I decided I was going to lose weight. I joined Curves. Go ahead and laugh - I was the youngest person there and working out in a circle of blue-hairs pretending to break a sweat was humiliating. I changed what I ate too, and managed to lose enough to fit into my dress. A few months after the wedding, my husband and I joined a REAL gym together and did the whole weight-lifting/cardio business at least 5 days every week. Lost weight. Felt good. Here it is three years later and I'm 30 pounds heavier. I got busy; stopped caring what I ate and that gym membership? We went once last year. And let's face it, I never leave the house (I work remotely) so who's going to see me anyway? All this to say, I hear you. Being overweight SUCKS. It sucks a lot. Being tired and sluggish all the time, having no energy or desire to work out because you're so damn sluggish and tired. For real. It sucks. I know. My clothes don't fit. I would buy new clothes, but I can't stand to try things on - it's just too depressing (I went from a size 4 to a 10 last time I did....) I totally get that others might get tired of the woe-is-me diatribes, but really? If you can't share your feelings (which are authentic and real and not at all embellished because for cripes sake, being out of shape with no clear path to fix it feels like crap.) Anyway, if you can't state your feelings here, where can you? I hope you're able to find the inspiration and motivation once the baby is born to get back to your old self. Just know you're not in this fight alone.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjayna

These "fat" ideas are just worries that manifest themselves to keep us busy (in our modern lives) instead of thinking about stuff that could really cripple us with anxiety. Hormones are what they are and pregnancy and post-partum are storms that wash over us, and throw us to the ground with winds and flying debris. I think the extra weight offers a layer of protection from the freakin scary outside world that you deal with everyday in the newsroom. When you are ready to shed it and find your courage (when life does not feel so overwhelming) you will do it without much of the effort you fear. This is the time to be soft, and nurture your future. Hard abs are in your future if you truly desire them. Squish and rejoice in your fecundity, these too are fleeting.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatherine

I'm 8 months pregnant and I feel fat and ugly too. maybe I'm a big asshole but I don't think anyone looks good pregnant-including myself.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeres

You are so brave for posting this picture and the outtakes (no comments enabled on that one!). I know how awful it feels to go from thin girl to large and in charge, pregnancy or no. Thank you for your honesty. I know you will lose it, fast, but let it be said (again) for the record that extra pounds or not, you are very beautiful.

Now go ahead and eat well the next week or so before you have to give it all up.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Monica, thank you for such an honest post. I am so tired of all the glamorous celebrities who gain no baby weight and make the experience look so effortless. I totally understand your experience. I hated being pregnant because I was nauseous and had heartburn ALL THE TIME. Strangely, I never threw up, but I felt sick constantly, and the only thing that kept me functioning was maintaining a full stomach, and the only thing that made me truly feel better and cooled the heartburn was ice cream and rice pudding. So that was all I ate- that, Thai food, and tomatoes, and anything that made me feel better, calorie content be damned. So the weight all went to my belly. Guess what? It's still there! Somehow, I didn't get that the weight gained from Breyers ice cream does NOT melt off. My daughter is three and I am just now finally, at long last getting it to come off with a combination of dieting and exercise. Now, we are talking about a second baby and while I am ready for the second baby part of it, I am not ready to be pregnant again. Being pregnant was not only the only time in my life where I actually felt physically disabled (sick all the time, dizzy, clumsy, off balance, kept tripping and falling which was scary, back pain etc) but it left me with a post baby body that I have been miserable with. I have been going to the gym all along but with work, limited childcare, grad happens. I never felt fully entitled to complain or put myself first when, well, the baby is the most important thing, right? I am giving myself the next few months to get back into shape before I start again. I just can't start a pregnancy overweight- I have to do this for me before I give up my body for someone else all over again. So I understand exactly how you feel, and thank you for writing about this and bravely posting your photos.
ps, I love your blog.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCS

I feel you, Monica. Being fat and nine months pregnant sucks! Especially when you know that you will be up all night long with the baby and the last thing you are going to want to do is lose the weight.
Bring on the cheetos.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendi

Ah yes, the fruitful body of a pregnant woman... some loved it, I hated it ... ehhh, after 28 weeks.
I know I know I know, you're suppose to enjoy the voluptuousness, roll in the glory of baby weight and pamper yourself silly... (BTW you look radiant, absolutely gorgeous.) ... However, I understand. Its not any fun while you're "in the suit". The swollen feet, achy ankles, crushed bladder, out of breath... thick ass... all that gets old.
I know this because I'm 5"2, weighed like a perky runner and then... I got pregnant. It was all good until about 28 weeks, then it looked like I swallowed a 5 year old. I gained about 60 pounds ,,, I stared at myself crying saying "WTF"... I should really share a photo or 2.

YET, on the up and up... the glimmer is that you're reaching the very end!!! YAY! You'll hand over that suit, they'll hand you a baby and you'll be gliding across that floor like Air on the G String. YAY!
Just hang in there, its not forever.
Again, you look absolutely beautiful!!!

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergd

Oh, I relate. SO relate. My first pregnancy I had horrid skin but I think, overall, my body looked ok. I was self-conscious about my baby belly when it first appeared, but I didn't carry far out and gained under 40 pounds. I was happy, and even after when I was about 20 lbs more than I had been pre-baby, I kind of still loved my body.

And then I got pregnant with #2 and he was a big baby...and I was a big mama. I felt huge everywhere and not at all cute. I SO wanted to love that pregnant body, but I cringed every time I caught sight of my sheer girth.

Add to that the stretchmarks he branded on my belly. Sheesh. NOT pretty. And almost 2 years later I'm still trying to lose what I gained with him. In fairness to that statement, though, I didn't really start TRYING to lose it until about 6 weeks ago. Oh well.

Thanks for your honesty on this. While I absolutely think you're beautiful (and envy the stretchmark-free expanse of belly) I so get where you are coming from on this.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Hey doll

A couple o' things. Firstly - it is shit - gaining weight in pregnancy - which I just did. As you know, I sprogged in Dec - by second baby too and I ate what I wanted in both my pregnancies as hell, if you can't have a drink - then what's a gal to do? First time round it dropped off - almost all the weight - in about 3 months or so... in saying that I remember wearing maternity jeans 6 weeks after I had sproglet. Now - this time, I weighed 11 stone post birth - I mean once all the water retention went etc - that is 1.5 stone (21 pounds) more than usual. Lost only 7. So baby is 9 weeks and I still have 1 stone (14 lbs) to lose - and I never get a chance to exercise - it SUCKS. I have a whole wardrobe waiting for me... so I get how you feel. Lots will be water retention - and lots will be... fat. Joy.

BUT - on the bright side - you blogged lots about worrying you couldn't get pregnant - and wondered why it took longer than with Violet - so try to remember it is only fat - you can get rid of it - but imagine how you'd have felt if you couldn't have another baby?

Also - my best mate is having twins - and is a hair away from deep vein thrombosis - she wears surgical stockings every day and has to inject herself daily into her stomach to stop this - it is grim. Another mother I know had that pelvic thing were she ended up in a wheelchair for her last 2 months of pregancy - with her 3rd kid! Poor woman. So - yes, you gained some pounds and it feels crap - but once you sprog you can begin a healthy eating/exercise programme and get yourself back. It aint terminal - and also, you will have two beautiful healthy kids - how lucky are you


February 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrummymummy

People are so fucking weird. Post all you want about the weight gain - it's your blog. Also, I DIED laughing at the picture, because I just went through this with my husband, trying to get a good picture of my daughter and I. Every single one of them looked like I wanted to just eat her right then and there. I was a total sloth, and I kept asking my husband: what were you even looking at? I NEED TO KNOW.

February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Everyone's face looks fat lying down like that. If you took the picture standing up I bet your face wouldn't look like Shallow Hal's friend.

February 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertheforgottenvictim

I guess my comment from earlier today got eaten. Anyway, I hope I wasn't one of the ones who made you feel like you were getting grief. I said something about how I weigh as much as you did a couple of months ago, and I'm not pregnant. I'm sorry if I sounded harsh; I didn't mean it that way. I can't remember exactly what it was but I think my point was that you aren't exactly in a dangerously overweight position. However, I'm always the first to point out that it doesn't matter who you are, being unhappy with something as fundamental as the body you're walking around in is no fun at all, and it doesn't matter if someone else is 'worse off' in some way, as that goes for just about everyone in the world, with every problem it's possible to have, so if you apply that logic no-one is allowed to complain ever.

While it's possible that some smaller women may have a slightly skewed perception of what 'fat' is, that's also true of some larger women too who may have a weight problem but possibly be making excuses to avoid confronting that truth. Naturally small or thin women have the additional burden of people throwing around the term 'anorexic' as if anorexia is anything other than a horrendous illness, or 'skinny' in a scornful way, and a few moments later you usually hear comments about 'real women' having curves or some such.

I read your comments as expressing dismay at the surprising way your body has changed in a short period of time. You probably have various changes that are shocking and worrying to you. I'm sure anyone would feel the same way if they had something changing their shape so drastically, especially at such a speed.

February 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterL

New comer here. I absolutely LOVE this blog! As far as the pregnancy thing goes, I haven't been pregnant before but, MAN! I get that you gain weight in a pregnancy, it's a beautiful thing, yada yada yada, but I wouldn't feel so awesome either if I "felt" fat. It's not about a body image issue, it's about how you feel! I completely agree that no one owns the rights to bitching about being fat. Loved this post, loved your honesty. I feel like I'm kissing your ass now so I'll stop.

February 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFoxy

I panicked about my pregnancy weight gain because I had always taken my weight for granted for the most part. I had never weighed so much. Even my husband's pants wouldn't fit me. My baby was born at the end of October so I had to deal with the whole holiday season right after giving birth. Thank god for breastfeeding. It's now four months later and I'm back in my old clothes and a pound over my original weight. And yes, I ate whatever I wanted. Your weight will come off fast and you'll look pretty no matter what. You look pretty now!

February 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWide Lawns

You cant seriously believe you've only bemoaned your weight and/or looks when pregnant! As a long-time reader, I can assure you, whether you actually have body/looks issues or not, you've always written about your physicality as though you do.

February 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

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