Many myths and ideologies surround pregnancy, these will be altered according to where you live in the world and the predominant cultural world-views that you have, these views help to shape and alter the way we see reality. There are women who envy skinny pregnant women, and those who judge them and fear that they're harming their unborn children.
In many places around the world, it's believed that pregnant women should eat more calories or that wide hips are a sign that a woman is ready for child birth. It's arguable that pregnancy is a time of rapid weight gain, and while many women don’t want to gain too much weight, there are fears that underweight pregnant women rarely share.
Here are confessions and secrets from women who were or are skinny and pregnant. In most cases, these secrets are less known because they may go against the grain. This article was written after sitting down with skinny pregnant women and having a heart to heart. It's from one heart to the next which is not afraid of being judged, but rather truthful. It's not the truth of every skinny woman, but their own experiences.
What would happen if you could sit down with a pregnant best friend who is skinny and envied or crushed by society? Here are the less commonly known secrets from pregnant women who are or have undergone the process. They're not necessarily scientific fears or socially correct, but actual secrets from skinny pregnant women.
7 I Fear I May Be Disadvantaged in Coping with the Birth
One of the reoccurring fears that surfaced from speaking to women who are and/or were underweight is how they would be able to cope with the birth of their unborn children. In some instances, underweight women feared that by being under-weight and/or skinny, they would be disadvantaged when the day to give birth arrived.
Some of the fears are very personal in nature and not things that women discussed openly. One woman mentioned that a woman’s weight was already something controversial and secretive and with society often being normal or obese, it was difficult to find other women who walked in their shoes to open up the nitty-gritty.
“I was very skinny when I fell pregnant and there were a lot of fears and condemnations that I felt. On the one hand, my partner met and fell in love with me as a petite girl. I therefore did not want to rapidly multiply during the pregnancy, but then I also feared that in trying to not pick up a lot of weight – and possibly have him wandering off when I already felt pretty heavy – I feared if I would be able to cope with the birth,” she continued.
Skinny women fear that they're not up to labor
Before the baby, everyone had praised her for being “sexy” and “slim” with a body that looked like a model and now that pregnancy kicked in, even though she was happy, she feared how her body weight and self-image would need to change. She made a decision not to have runaway weight gain, but inwardly feared how that would affect labor.
“I think if I can be honest with you, I felt insecure as a petite girl because women out there say you must be tough for labour. Society sort of scares you into thinking you must be tough and sort of built tough to push out that little one. I feared that I was not woman enough and wondered if I should not gain weight rapidly because people also asked me if I would be able to cope with my preferred natural birth,” she added.
6 Is My Baby Getting Enough Nutrients?
The cliché that a woman has to eat solidly for two during pregnancy is nothing short of an old wive's tale. While skinny pregnant mothers that talked to me had desperately longed and hoped for healthy babies, there was a fear that maybe their form was depriving their unborn children of much needed nutrients.
“My grandmother kept making me soup and forcing me to eat for two. She really made me feel guilty that if I didn't bulk up, I was going to give birth to a child that was underweight or not normal because of my selfish desire not to over eat.
“Even though people regularly complimented me for looking good during pregnancy, I feared that maybe I was a terrible mother and my child was not receiving the right nutrients. I knew that my man loved me for who I was, but preferred tiny women and so I didn't want to over complicate things by having a baby, which was life changing enough, and have weight gain that would balloon out of control."
"I felt guilty for wanting to be a mom and fighting for my relationship and wanting the best for my child… It was as though I wanted too much,” elaborated Charmaine.
Her doctor gave her advice and in the end she gave birth to a healthy child and still managed to lose the weight gained during pregnancy to return to her former weight. However, the secret fear that a skinny pregnant woman must choose whether to gain a lot of weight for the baby or be attractive to her partner was one that created conflict within Charmaine.
On the one hand, they were already having relationship issues and she – like other skinny pregnant women – couldn't overlook the realities that their partners preferred skinny women. It felt scary and almost ungrateful to long to look attractive and yet be the very best mom-to-be that one could be.
She alleged that society created the expectation that while skinny pregnant women are somewhat envied for looking good, in the same breath there's the feeling that maybe they're not embracing pregnancy and giving their children enough nutrients.
5 I Fear that My Skinniness May Cause Me to Lose My Baby
“I read an article in The Independent [UK] about skinny and pregnant women being at a greater risk of miscarriage than those of normal weight and it really made me feel guilty for allowing my weight to put my unborn child at risk,” said Charmaine who was speaking of an article written by John Von Radowitz, titled “Thin women risk losing babies”.
According to Charmaine, there are dangers that come with being a skinny pregnant woman, but nothing sinks in like the fear of miscarriage. On the one end, she asserts that skinny women worry about the well-being of their unknown children, especially when one knows that their weight may contribute to their detriment even before they are born.
While Charmaine was grateful to “look pretty” while being pregnant, she secretly felt guilty and almost selfish for being more concerned about her looks than her child’s well-being. On the other hand, she had always been a skinny woman and therefore took comfort that she was not deliberately going out of her way to harm the baby should anything happen.
Skinny pregnant women fear losing their baby
“If truth be told, it's downright scary to be a skinny pregnant mother. You wonder if you're doing enough and it feels like society is looking at you all the time. On the one hand you're praised for watching your weight and on the other it feels like people – including yourself – are blaming you for anything that goes wrong, including miscarriage,” she continued.
“No mom in their right mind wants to lose their baby. It's something horrible that you wouldn't wish for your worst enemy. It's even more stressful when you – and everyone else around you including your partner – know that being a skinny pregnant woman may increase your chances of having a miscarriage?” asked Charmaine with sadness in her voice.
She asserted that weight was more than just weight, but part of who a woman is and becomes a part of their identity. According to her, she felt that skinny pregnant women are secretly scared because they don’t want to be on the other end of the scale (weighing a lot), but that also no normal person wanted to miscarry their child.
4 I Feel Like This Pregnancy is Costing All of Me (Identity)
Our identity is linked – to a greater or lesser extent – to our appearance. Skinny pregnant women sometimes are in conflict because on the one hand they're used to being skinny and now that they're pregnant, it felt like society wanted them to gain weight.
“I don’t know which made me more scared, being pregnant with my first child or feeling like my family looked down on me for not gaining a lot of weight, thereby implying that I was putting my looks over my baby’s well-being. I wish they knew how scary it was for me and that I didn't want to feel condemned. It was my first pregnancy and already that was such an exciting, but scary time,” said Mrs Smith.
According to Mrs Smith, it was easier when a normal-weight or obese person saw bumps and gained weight because they might have been used to it. When it came to a skinny woman falling pregnant and choosing to stay skinny, it was allegedly because they already have an identity and body image that they knew and embraced and did not want to lose themselves in the pregnancy.
She fears losing her identity and her body
“It felt like I was already losing so much control of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have the baby, but I gradually wanted the change to happen. I didn't want to wake up one day as a mom and look in the mirror and also find a new person looking back, someone I didn't know. It felt like the pregnancy was costing all of me,” said Mrs Smith.
She still chose to continue to work-out during pregnancy, but toned it down a lot. She wanted to retain something, an essence of who she was, so that she would not look back and not be able to identify with being a mom and having a new body altogether once the baby was born. She also alleged that the identity issue was something that she thought all skinny pregnant women thought of and not an isolated one.
3 I Wonder if He Won’t Find Me Less Sexually Desirable
“One of the secrets that I kept during my pregnancy as a skinny women then and now was that I feared that my husband would secretly find me less desirable. The reality is we had a connection for many reasons, including that he was absolutely attracted to me as a thin woman.
“In as much as I looked happy, I didn't know how to deal with the stretch marks and imperfections that were now emerging on my body. I was used to having a relatively flat stomach and now there were stretch marks everywhere. I hated my new body, but loved the child within."
"Just feeling that made me feel guilty, because society made it look like it was all supposed to be about the baby and not me in the first place, but there I was, hating the stretch marks, even though I knew they were normal for a pregnant mom,” continued Mrs Smith.
Skinny women fear losing their sexuality
Among the secret fears of Mrs Smith and other skinny pregnant women, was that their partners had found them sexually desirable because they were somewhat skinny and now that they were expanding, they felt like they were losing control. It was scary because they knew that's what was supposed to happen, but they didn't want to end up with a baby and a man who didn't think they were “hot” anymore.
Some of the concerns they listed in this respect were that:
- Their men liked skinny women and had engaged with them sexually because that was their preference.
- Stretch marks and other things appeared and they didn't want more and hoped that by not gaining “unnecessary weight” other than what was required, it would help minimize them.
- They felt like their bodies were now had a mind of their own.
Skinny pregnant women fear their men will cheat on them if they gain too much weight
Some of the secrets that skinny pregnant women had, was that their men would start looking around at other skinny women behind their back, or maybe even online to make up for what their partners were gaining during pregnancy.
Although a lot of the women had support structures and knew their guys were not that shallow as to limit beauty to physical appearances, there was a genuine concern that the men in their lives would change how they viewed them.
2 That First Deep Stretch Mark is Painful
“I didn't plan on being a mom, but there came a time when I was happy to be a mom, but secretly cried at all the stretch marks. I didn't want them and hated them. I was too scared to voice that out because in a society where women struggle to conceive and have much bigger issues, who was I to go around and tell that I was pained by the deep stretch marks?”
“I really hoped by doing my best to maintain my weight that I would eliminate the deep stretch marks. I knew that I was going to be a mom, but I also wanted to look in the mirror and love the reflection. Funny enough, I spoke to my other skinny pregnant friend and she also told me how bothered she was as well when she saw the stretch marks appear."
"It's the downside of pregnancy that no one wants to tell you about. I think as women, we are wired to keep a lot inside,” continued the single-mom-to-be who chose to remain anonymous.
As women, we're not taught to love our imperfections
According to this single mom-to-be, she feared that her previously slender body would be altered, and wondered if she would always be like this. She tried to use a lot of gels and creams to try and eliminate as many stretch marks as she could. She secretly feared that she would always be like this and felt almost ungrateful to be crying over stretch marks when so many did not even have children at all.
There was secret pain and guilt alongside her worry, because while she hoped to find a partner who loved her for her, she was fully aware that looks were interwoven into identity. She worried that by gaining weight, she would struggle to find a father to love her and her baby once the child emerged.
Even when being casually interviewed, she kept justifying that she was not the only one because she kept pointing to the many ointments, creams and lotions out there as means of proving that she was not the only one who secretly feared stretch marks. She alleged women did not announce it, but secretly used them in their bathrooms because they too were secretly scared the stretch marks would stay.
1 I Fear Being Skinny Will Hinder My Ability to Push Out My Baby
Some of the skinny pregnant women who wanted to naturally push out their babies were secretly scared if they would be able to push out their babies. It was more than just whether or not they could cope with birth, but feared that they would be disadvantaged if the baby was coming out or even that because of their skinniness, the unborn child would be too small and thereby need a c-section.
“Being underweight even when you're not pregnant has its challenges, but now that I was pregnant, I was even more scared that by not gaining significant weight I would not have the power to push out my baby naturally. What if – even if I could – the doctor wanted me to have a c-section?"
"I secretly fear if being skinny will hinder my ability to push out my baby,” said Becca, a matured pregnant woman that did not want to be fully named because she was a career woman and did not want sharing her secrets to be career limiting.
Skinny women fear that a c-section might be their only choice
Becca, is a respected career woman who also feared that she would be prejudiced against if her real identity became known because of her contradicting views. She alleged that while she believed healthy, but skinny moms would most likely have more energy to interact with their children once the children were born, that having healthy weight gain was also important.
There’s the secret fear of whether or not their decisions to remain relatively skinny during pregnancy will have an impact on pushing – or at least being given the choice to push.
Some women fear there will be complications when it comes time to push
“My boyfriend asked me if I was ready to push out the baby. He did not say anything else, but that made me secretly think that he doesn't think that I can. It hurt me, but I didn't tell him. While I like proving people wrong, you don't want to take unnecessary risks on the delivery table when your life and that of your child is involved. I can’t help thinking he asked me because I'm skinny and a little mature for a mom. I'm in my 30s…” said Becca.
She made it clear that her secret views were not those of all skinny pregnant women, but that she thought there were some preconceived ideas and fears that lay in many such women. She also highlighted the importance of talking to your health professionals about your fears. “Follow your gut, but don’t hurt others or your baby in the process,” she concluded.