My husband and I agreed we'd start our family this year. Now he's telling me that I need to lose weight before we try to have a baby. He thinks I'm too fat to get pregnant and I won't lose the weight after giving birth so he asked me to lose thirty pounds first. How do I convince him that I'm healthy?
Sincerely, OverWait For Baby
Dear OverWait -
As a writer for BabyGaga, there are certain things I'm just not allowed to say because it's not a good representation of our brand. Right now I really really really really really really really really want to say some of those things. In my mind, I am writing a terse letter full of strongly-worded language. I'll try to stick to the PG versions of these...colorful phrases in my reply to you.
Tell your husband to go sit on a tack. For real. I am appalled to know anyone would speak to their life partner in that way. Fertility and the decision to start a family is already fraught with enough emotional turbulence; it's fine to leave the body image baggage at the curb. OverWait, no one should ever make you feel bad about yourself or put you down. If you've been waiting for permission to cut and run, you have it. Regardless of context, you deserve a partner who does not feed into your insecurities. Honestly? This dig feels like he's just trying to dodge the conversation. Does he not want kids and he's trying to put the blame on you?
You both need to sit down and have a serious conversation about children in your future.
You ask how to convince your husband that you don't need to lose weight to have a baby. Let's assume that he actually means well and isn't just trying to dog on you. If you'd like him to understand that your body is a great home for a fetus, prove it! Take him with you to your next doctor's appointment. Run bloodwork, whatever labs your doctor orders, and check out your health from head to toe. Being overweight does not necessarily mean you are in poor health! I'm overweight myself but my bloodwork looks excellent and I stay fairly active. On paper, it seems as though I am a great candidate for pregnancy.
Even though I look like pregnancy should be a breeze (on paper), it's far from it. I am not a pleasant pregnant person - it's beyond uncomfortable, pregnancy is actually painful for me. I say this because you should know that even if you are physically fit and ready to bear children...you might need more mental prep. I sure did! Pregnancy demands a lot out of you from an emotional perspective. Could your spouse be trying to indirectly suggest that you aren't mentally strong enough to handle the uncertainties and anxieties of carrying a child?
I don't know, and even if he were, I'd have no way of knowing if those concerns were well-founded or totally ridiculous. If there's any truth to it, you'll know before I will.
Taking your husband to your doctor's appointment might seem awkward at first. After all, he's not your parent! But if you'll be carrying a child that is both of yours, it makes sense that he has a vested interest in your health. To be blunt, he ought to have a vested interest in your health just because he loves you! If your weight hasn't been a concern before, now seems an odd time to make a big deal of it. Once your doctor gives you the green light, your partner should be on board. If he's deceiving you and he has other concerns, they'll pop up pretty quickly.
But what happens if you don't have a clean bill of health? What if your spouse really is concerned that your weight and health aren't in the best spot because he has reason to be? If you're physically unwell in any way, I encourage you to address those issues before you become pregnant. Not only will your pregnancy be physically and emotionally easier, but your baby will also benefit from having a healthy home to grow.
OverWait, I'm not sure how to feel about your spouse's words. Is he being cruel or genuinely concerned? Do you have health issues that might justify his fears? I can't be sure. What I know is this: people have biases against fat people. It's true, it's unfair, and it's certainly not the kind of treatment you have to tolerate from your spouse. Be well, OverWait. I hope your dreams of becoming a mother come true someday soon!
MORE DEAR DOULA
Do you have a burning pregnancy or parenting question that you want some advice on? Send us an email at email@example.com, and rest assured that your identity will be kept anonymous.