I have been overweight my whole entire life. I always joke that the “thinnest” Ive ever been was at birth – 6 lbs. Funny, but true. At one point, I got up over 400 lbs. Then I made a decision that changed my life completely. I had lap-band weight loss surgery in Dec. 2005. The surgery has been amazing… I would have never been able to lose weight like I have without it. Ive had no complications and would definitely reccomend it to anyone that is seriously obese. However, it comes with its own set of rules and guidelines, you have to work hard and youre definitely not taking “the easy way out”, like some people say the surgery is. If you thought dieting was hard, this is just as hard, if not harder, even. Because of the lap band surgery I lost over 100 lbs., reaching my first goal of getting below 300 lbs. In Jan. 2008, my period didnt show up on time and on a whim I took a pregnancy test. I couldnt believe it, TWO LINES! I was pregnant. So many doctors for so long had told me that I would NEVER be able to get pregnant being so morbidly obese. I had basically thought I would never be a mom… that it would take me years and years to lose the weight I needed to be considered “healthy”. Id been sexually active for years – and Ill admit, sometimes ‘careful’ and sometimes not, and never gotten pregnant. I didnt think I could. But something must of changed, because here we were… pregnant. My dream had finally become true. I am now 7 months pregnant, expecting a baby boy in mid September. I have only gained about 15 lbs. throughout my pregnancy (11 in one month, unfortunately – right as I hit my 3rd trimester.) Ive had no complications with my lap band with my pregnancy… and have actually had few complications with the pregnancy as a whole; heartburn, constipation, acid reflux and being tired all the time, as most pregnant women tend to be. However, I have come to notice that my pregnancy is very different than that of all my friends. Sure, we have the same common complaints, but at the same time they are still very different than me. I look at them and envy them sometimes… wishing I could just be “normal”. I have wanted this baby for so very long, I want the full-on experience; all the aches and pains… the water break in the checkout line at Walmart… I want to feel the pain of the contractions (just til the epidural kicks in! Im not THAT crazy!) I just want it… all. I am still so amazed that my body is doing this… that Im finally pregnant… that Im getting what Ive always wanted. So really and truly I dont have much to complain about. And I try not to compare myself to my friends, and girls I see at the doctor’s office, random girls I pass at the grocery store. But at the same time, its gets to me sometimes. See… they are all on the thinner side and you can see their bodies changing shape, see them gaining weight, obviously tell they are pregnant. They get measured when they go to the doctor… they complain about stretchmarks and clothes that dont fit. (ha! the story of my life!!!) They get to wear cute little shirts that accentuate their bumps. People are constantly asking them about their pregnancy and touching their bellies. But with me… well… My baby is nestled down inside a slighty more tubby tummy, so I still just look fat and like Im gaining weight again… Its hard to find his heartbeat sometimes because of my “extra padding”, so everytime I go to the doctors its like playing marco/polo to try and find it… Ive had 4-5 sonograms to make sure everything is going well, since its hard to see/tell from the outside. I have another sonogram July 10th to check on his size, since you cant really tell manually because I am bigger… I dont have the “baby bump” that everyone is always talking about… its more like a “baby mountain”, actually… Cute “plus-size maternity” clothes are basically non-existant… so Ive spent much of my pregnancy in sweatpants, how charming… The stretchmarks I have are a result of too much ice cream years ago – not from my growing son… Jose, my mom and I are the only ones that have felt him move – as its so faint sometimes, since I carry the extra weight around him… People cant really tell Im pregnant just by looking at me… so I dont get that random conversation in the baby department at Target… This has driven me to tears at time… because I am so happy and bursting with joy that I want to just shout from the rooftops, “IM PREGNANT!” I want to tell everyone my secret!!! I want to see other preggo’s and other mom’s out and about and share that soft smile with each other… its like belonging to a super secret club, wheres MY membership!? I want random strangers to come up and rub my belly!!! (Ok maybe not so much on that last one, but still!!!) But then I remember that Im HAPPY. Im HEALTHY. My son is growing right on track, doing all the things he is supposed to be doing, developing the way he should… and Im PREGNANT, despite the odds. And its then that I realize that Im being petty and foolish and that things could be much worse. I suck it up and realize this…. those that know me, are close to me, and love me – know that Im expecting. They know Im so happy to finally be a mommy. They are the ones that matter. The playful kicks I feel from my son are a reminder that I am never alone… it doesnt matter if anyone else feels them or not. His daddy loves me unconditionally, doesnt care what size I am, and rubs my belly every night before bed. When I start thinking about all these things, I feel a little better about being a “plus-size mom”… and so Ive come up with this; Its nice to know that my body, overweight as it is, is still doing exactly what its supposed to… providing a warm safe haven for my little one to grow in… My breasts might be on the saggy side, and covered in long-faded stretch marks, but they will work just the same, to feed and nourish my son. My fleshy arms will cushion him, hold him as he sleeps, and provide endless hugs thoughout his lifetime. My flabby thighs will provide a place for him to lay on, a lap to sit on, a knee to bounce him on. I know that may be a “larger-scale” mom, but I am a MOM, none-the-less… and Ive come to understand that no matter the size of your body, it is the size of your love for your child that really and truly matters most.