I read a lot of pregnancy books. I also read a lot of pregnancy-related web sites and blogs written by other pregnant women. I'm trying to educate myself, and trying to glean wisdom from the experience of others. Often, though, I just wind up feeling like some sort of anomaly -- especially when it comes to weight gain and physical changes.
At just over 13 weeks, I have gained 7 pounds. My smallest pre-pregnancy pants do not fit. Although I can still hide my belly with with cardigans and scarves, it is impossible to conceal if I'm wearing a t-shirt or anything form fitting. Don't get me wrong, it isn't huge or anything. But it is definitely noticeable. And while I know I shouldn't really be comparing myself to anyone else (with some exceptions, I suppose), I can't help but feel insecure when I read the pregnancy books, the web sites and the blogs. They give me the impression that what I am experiencing so far is out of the ordinary.
One of my books, for example, says a 5 to 10 pound weight gain by week 17 is "normal." I hit the five pound mark by week 10. Others say most women should be able to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes until the fifth month. Ha, that won't be me! Even now, I'm just about to break out the maternity pants. And then there are the stories I read about women with diets high in processed garbage who (despite their uncontrollable cravings and inability to drag their tired, pregnant bodies to the gym) only gain two pounds in the first four months. How is this possible, when my diet is super healthy, I haven't increased my caloric intake at all and I work out five days per week? The only explanation I can come up with is that every body is different.
A book can point out generalities, but it can't really tell me exactly what I am going to expect. I am 5'2 and on the small side. A pregnancy is surely going to look different on me than on someone who is 5'6, or someone who weighs more to start, or someone with a completely different body type/shape. I know that we all want a frame of reference, but so far every frame of reference I've encountered suggests that every woman needs to fit right inside a neat little box and if she doesn't, well, she must be doing something wrong (and needs to see a nutritionist, pronto). I for one do not fit into said box. The weight I've gained is all about my body's natural response to the pregnancy and has nothing to do with behavior. I can't let a book, or a web site or a blog convince me otherwise.