Reader’s Request: Gaining To Conceive

Posted: January 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

When I posted my Body After Baby post on how I plan to track progress, Katie from Peace Be Me commented with a request for me to share a bit more in depth on my weight gain to conceive. I have briefly discussed it before, such as in my Q+A post about my weight, but not in detail recently. Ask and you shall receive here on FFF. I’m not afraid to spill my guts. I guess there’s a reason “brutally honest” and “real” were two of the quickest responses I got when I sent out this tweet yesterday.


I’ll take it! Now, to get to the nitty gritty gaining to conceive stuff.

You regular readers know that I competed in a fitness competition early November of 2009. If you’re new around here and didn’t know that, well a) now you do and b) hello & please stick around! For my competition, I had to do some pretty intense training and get down to a low (unhealthy for me) body fat level in order to achieve the leanness for displaying muscle definition in such an event.


I began training for the competition right after I weaned Makenzie from nursing. That’s important because it means I had not had my period since conceiving her almost 2 years prior to then. Read more about that in my period post.

So, I had no cycle because I couldn’t regain it after nursing thanks to the intense training and diet for my competition. We knew we wanted to try for a second child pronto. Right after the competition ended, I became determined to regain my period as quickly as possible. Due to conceiving M so easily, the recommendation became to get back to the weight I was when I got pregnant then. That equated to around 20 lbs heavier than I was on competition day.

Now, I gained just shy of 10 lbs of that immediately as my body gained back the water weight and glycogen stores I had depleted it of for the show. So in reality, I only needed to gain 10-15 pounds above my “happy place” to get to where I easily conceived Makenzie. With time, I likely would have regained my cycle at my happy place because it was healthy for my size. I put that aside though and went for the extra padding because we were ready for a baby. Sure enough, I hit that 135-140 weight range and BAM – I got my period about 6 weeks post-show.

In order to gain the weight I had to stop working out completely for awhile. I had to eat, which was easy enough because it was the holidays. My body had been through the wringer and was more than happy to put on some fat. In all honesty I didn’t mind so much at that point because it was for a greater cause and I was still at a healthy weight.

Then, we got negative test after negative test after negative test. Every month that I had to keep myself at a place heavier than I felt best became harder to do. I wanted to throw myself into fitness goals, but had to hold back to carry the few extra pounds. I’ve mentioned before how I don’t feel quite like me when pregnant…I felt the same then. I believed I had spent the previous year enjoying fitness and happily getting into GREAT shape for nothing. All because of that dang competition. And I didn’t have a pregnancy to show for it either.

That challenged me the most. I didn’t mind the weight if it brought me a baby. When it didn’t happen quickly like with M, worry crept in. Did I royally screw  up my body with the training and now I wouldn’t get to conceive? I dealt with that worry by hating on my body. Then that angered me because I had come to a place I loved myself and believed in my worth. I didn’t want to question the wonder of my body again and deal with those old demons. All of those emotions constituted the greatest trials.

Fortunately on Mother’s Day 2010 I saw that positive (+) sign flash on the screen. It all became worth it. Looking back, I probably could have questioned advice and gone about the weight in a less drastic manner. I shouldn’t have felt so concerned because 6 months to conceive is 100% normal. I should have realized more how healthy I still was, even if not at where I feel best. That’s all in the past now, though. I have my little B bumping around in my belly now…ready to come out. I learned from that experience and know more about myself and my body thanks to that time. And now, I will work towards my healthy, happy place and then stay there. It’s yet another reason why its so important for me to find again. 

Question of the Day – What’s one of the most emotionally challenging things you have gone through? Mine is my stuff with my Dad. That’s rough to this day.

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60 Comments to “Reader’s Request: Gaining To Conceive”
  1. I would have worried just like you if it took me 6 months to conceive (even though that is very normal). But its so hard not to worry because there is much out there to worry about!!

    I would say the most emotionally challenging things I have ever gone through is the worry of finding the right guy so I could eventually have babies (and preferably by the age of 30). I went through some really weird guys and my heart was broken a million times…. and when I found my hubby..he had two little girls from a previous marriage and I was envious of the bond he had with them that I got scared that I would never have that for myself (I had problems with irregular periods and thought that I might have problems conceiving one day since that had always been a dream of mine to have babies). And then boom, we got pregnant so easy that I wish I didn’t waste a moment worrying about all of that!!

  2. Tina, man this hits right home for me. After struggling with Anorexia for more than 6 years, I had been unable to think about trying to conceive. After 6 years, I have finally gotten my period back and we are now given the go-ahead to try for a baby. Each month that goes by, I get a little disappointed when I don’t end up with a positive. The Lord knows what He is doing though, and we are just trusting that in time, He will bless us. But I know the fight within yourself to have a bit more body fat in order to conceive. Look at the blessings though that you have to show for it! Such a cool testimony!

    • Tina says:

      I hope you get the positive you are hoping for soon. I know the emotions that play into all of that. All we can do is trust, but that doesn’t make it easy.

  3. Julie says:

    It took us 10 months to conceive our first and I thought I was going to pull out all my hair when it took so long so I completely understand your worries when you were trying to conceive. I, too, look back and realize it is not that weird to take so long, but when you are in the midst of it – yikes!

    The hardest emotional thing I’ve gone through was a miscarriage with my second baby. God blessed us, though, and we conceived again about a month later with baby Mai. No waiting this time. I guess HE knew I could only handle so much.

    I swear, though…when we were trying to make those babies I about killed my husband with lovin’. He got a workout if you know what I mean 😉
    I don’t care if it’s been every night for a month straight! Perk up!
    TMI…I know 🙂

    • Tina says:

      hahaha! I know what you mean about the husband thing. It’s like “I thought you could never get worn out!”. 😉

      Sorry to hear about the loss you faced. I can’t even fathom the emotions faced with that.

  4. Becca says:

    And now we’re super excited to meet baby B ASAP! 🙂

    One of the most trying times for me emotionally, I think, was losing five loved ones and/or classmates in five or six years. My neighbor (cancer), my grandmother (cancer), my best friend (drunk driver), a girl from church who was only a year older (stupid driver, just unaware), and most recently, a guy I went to school with who had a wife and a little boy. These last two weren’t quite as … traumatic, I guess you’d say, because I wasn’t as close to Jen & Dane as I was to Ron, Grammy, and Morgan. But it still stunk. :\

  5. Therese says:

    Thanks for your honesty! I’m approaching that time in my life, so it’s nice to hear from a variety of people about “how things work.” Of course, I work in the baby business so you think that’d be enough knowledge, but seeing all the variety out there makes me hungry for more knowledge!

    I was anorexic in high school, but I’ve been a “normal” weight for… wow… 9 years now! I do want to run a marathon in my 26th year before conceiving, though, and I’m hoping I don’t end up regretting that.

    I bought TCOYF a few months ago and have been reading it. Maybe it’s time to stop the pill and make sure my body still knows how to have a period on it’s own? It could help me make sure I’m not overtraining as I increase my mileage as well. Hmmm… lots to think about!

    • Tina says:

      I LOVE tracking cycles and will never do it any other way. It’s so amazing to be in tune with your body like that. There’s different times that are good for everyone to start using that method, but I have nothing but good to say about it.

  6. I would add authentic if you are looking for words still. 🙂

    What’s one of the most emotionally challenging things you have gone through?
    -This list is a mile long, but I think the hardest thing for me was learning to embrace and understand myself. Counseling after my grandmother died revealed my Myers-Briggs and we talked a lot about not being hard on myself for not being like the larger population.

  7. I’m so glad you were able to concieve again. I know Baby B will bring so much more joy into your life than any fitness competition ever could!!

    Stuff with my mom is…complicated. I deal with our relationship every day, and I know the difficulties will never go away. I just hope that as I grow older and have my own family I’ll be more satisfied with who she is and our relationship…I don’t think she ever wanted to be a mother, and I feel like the only way for me to get over that is to share that motherly love with my own kids one day.

  8. Most emotionally challenging? My husband likes to brag that he loves a girl with daddy issues… and I always chuckle… but oh. my. gosh! Daddy issues, mommy issues… it runs the gambit. My goal is to just stay as positive as possible and keep busy with LOTS of projects! This is why I cook, organize, and craft like it’s going out of style. Its the perfect distraction =)

    Anywho — this post was great! I am a new reader so I had no idea about your fitness competition! You are such a rockstar!!!!! Before my hubs moved me to the middle of nowhere this fall, I was a nutrition educator for prenatal and postpartum mommies and it’s amazing how much information is out there and how much stuff is SUPER normal but we somehow doubt ourselves in the back of our heads and get all nervous about whats going on through the entire preg. process!

    so anywho- no more rambling — great to learn more about you! =)


  9. Going through an ED basically put my life on hold for a solid year and I’m still dealing with it, about 4 years later ( mostly mentally). I also have issues with my Dad, we didn’t get along for a long time and are just now starting to develop a better relationship.
    Thanks for this post, it’s so interesting and I’m sure a lot of women can relate to it! I’m not ready to have a baby yet, but I’m still interested in this stuff.

  10. Allie says:

    This post was very interesting! I am glad you so openly share EVERYTHING w/o shame 🙂 LOVE IT!! I like that you knew what you had to do to conceive and you did it, that is so unselfish of you. You look great in the fitness comp. pictures AND the ‘normal’ pictures 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  11. THanks for this post – I was wondering about this as well!

  12. You have such a neat story – thank you for sharing so much on your blog!

    congrats of reaching such a great point with your self-image and on a healthy pregnancy. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      The body image thing can still be a challenge some days, but I figure life is too short not to love myself too. I’m worth it. We’re all worth it.

  13. i can’t even imagine…what a huge struggle, especially after all the other stuff you’ve been through with eating. i have to say that the hardest thing for me was to similar in that i needed to learn how to love myself at a higher weight. if i love myself for the things that i am, then it makes taking care of myself that much easier and fun!

  14. Jenn (GH) says:

    I totally remember your positive pregnancy post.

    My first pregnancy was one of the most difficult times in my life b/c I was young, newly married, mentally ill, and the pregnancy itself was unplanned. But God is SO GOOD and used that situation to teach me so much and now I have the most amazing 10 year old boy (and also an 8 year old). 🙂

  15. Runblondie26 says:

    I’m sure it wasn’t easy to see yourself gaining after training so hard for your competiton. It’s great that you were able to turn things around quickly (well, maybe not quick enough when you want a BFP, like yesterday 🙂

    It took gaining about 20 pounds and cutting out exercise for me to conceive my daughter as well, so I can relate. Unfortunately, I needed some additional intervention since the damage had already been done. It was a huge lesson in perspective for me. Really, what’s a few pounds when it brings you the gift of child.

    I really hope Baby B decides to make an appearance soon! Hang in there mama.

  16. Tracy says:

    Wow, I think the older you get, the more “emotionally challenging” experiences there are to select from. For me, it has definitely been going through the experience of watching my parents’ health fail and my mother getting very sick at 58 years of age and dropping to 60 lbs by age 61. One day, far into the futue, those little ones of yours may be taking care of you…it’s hard to imagine…isn’t it?

  17. What a struggle you had to go through! – but at least it had amazing results in the end:) I think my hardest emotional struggle was a family member dying, especially because it came at a bad time for me mentally and physically.

  18. we learn from our struggles, and it’ll only make you a better person today 🙂 i’ve had my emotional struggles that have left their mark to this day, finding strength to get through them. taking a new approach on things and finally calling to a higher power is getting me through it

  19. Man, My yo-yo-ing weight sounds just like yours. I was over 20 pounds lighter than I am now when I trained for my first half marathon last November!

    I think my hardest emotional struggle I’ve endured is the loss of my Mamoe, my maternal grandmother, last winter. She was one of my closest relatives, and I still to this day have to remember she’s not around anymore.

  20. Thanks for sharing this….people often don’t understand that it is emotional to have to gain weight….even when you know you need it and evn when your still thin. No one likes tight pants… first! Then your mind adjusts. I hope.



  21. I appreciate this post, especially since i’ve been thinking about getting pregnant! I’m worried that I might be at a weight where I might need to gain a bit in order to conceive. I guess lately my periods have been sporadic, etc and I wonder if I will have trouble conceiving. Hopefully not and I don’t think i’m underweight by any means, maybe I just need to try and eat more and work out a little less?

    • Tina says:

      I know cutting back workout intensity and adding in a lot more healthy fats helped me a lot. That’s just my personal experience though.

  22. I love when you post about your fitness competition & how you prepared for and recovered from it! Those competitions have always fascinated me – not to the point of wanting to do one myself – but I just like learning about them & what it takes to do it!

    My most emotionally trying experience – definitely the summer of 2004. It was a bunch of things wrapped into one…I moved from PA to FL to be with my hubby (then fiance), who my father introduced me to. Dad was super happy to have me in the same state & I was happy to be able to start a relationship with him again. Literally my 1st day at work in FL, I found out I needed to have surgery on my cervix. So I was stressed about new job, new life, and upcoming surgery. Then my father passed away suddenly, while I was with him. THEN I my surgery actually took place. The months of July, Aug, Sept & Oct 2004 were the most horrendous times of my life ever. I was an emotional wreck! Happy that I was with Diggity, sad that Dad was gone, happy w/ a new job, worried about surgery/recovery. Thank goodness Diggity was there – he really put up with a LOT from me during that time – poor guy was walking on eggshells around me for months! Now that years have passed, the loss of my Dad is still the hardest to deal with…but it gets a little bit easier each day.

  23. lindsay says:

    I cannot thank you enough for posting this. Its such great encouragement for ALL women to hear. I know I will most likely have to do the same when it comes time to have babies and knowing what you went through gives me peace.

  24. Great post, thank you for sharing all of this with us! My husband and I have not started trying for a baby, but hopefully over the next year we will. It does worry me that we won’t be able to conceive, but hopefully we will be blessed without too much trouble! I know what is meant to be is meant to be 🙂

  25. Thanks for sharing your trying to conceive story. I had a miscarriage in May (at 12 weeks pregnant) and that was the hardest time for me emotionally. We are currently trying to conceive again–it’s been 3 months now so still within the realm of normal, but still stressful. I think it’s hard not to stress when you want that positive test!

    • Tina says:

      You will certainly be in my prayers! I can’t imagine the emotions you must have felt. I know it will never cover the loss of that child, but hopefully a healthy baby will be coming to you in the near future.

  26. Angela says:

    Great post Tina! I think my most difficult emotional endeavour was moving to the Middle East.. culture shock, being a teenager, making new friends and all the rest at age 13 definitely wasn’t easy. I don’t regret having lived there though – it also taught me tons and gave me a very worldly perspective (well, i think so anyway!)

  27. Thank you for sharing this! I did not know about the fitness competition, so that was neat to see, and hearing about these trials and tribulations and HUMAN-NESS is awesome. While we’re being brutally honest, the most emotionally challenging time in my life has been the death of my mother by her own hand. I would not wish that on my worst enemy, but God has really paved my path to use experience for good and to help others, so I find solace in that.

  28. You look amazing in those pics, both the fitness competition ones and your other pic, whatever size you are you look fab! Thanks for sharing all of this. A big emotionally challenging thing I know is coming for me is feeling broody. I know that me and my husband are not in the right place for babies yet (financially and we live in a one bed apartment which due to the current economy is unlikely to sell) but I can’t help but long for a child at times. I know its going to hit hard when my little sis has her second baby any day now. I know that they’ll come eventually but it doesn’t stop that longing.

  29. Thanks Tina! Amazing story. Getting a regular period is often such an indicator of health and where we are supposed to be. It’s one little thing that I always make a commitment to myself about. I really appreciated you sharing and sorry if you had to repeat too much that I didn’t read before. I love your blog!

    The two most challenging things I have ever been through are both going on right now – my boyfriend’s deployment to Afghanistan this whole last year (although he is on his way home as we speak so that’s almost over!) and my nerve disorder that has left me physically limited and often really scared.

    • Tina says:

      I was happy to write it! I didn’t have it all in one cohesive place so it was good to put it all in one post. And it actually wasn’t repetitive at all. A lot of what I shared was before many of my current readers came around, so its perfect that you asked. Thanks!

  30. i’ve been following your blog since your 30 days of self love (through caitlin at operation beautiful) and i’m so happy i clicked over! i’ve grown to like hearing from you every day (you’re even in my “read daily” folder in google reader, so i keep up with your blog even if i can’t keep up with others! thanks for being so “real”!

    the most challenging thing i’ve been through was my father passing away when i was a senior in high school. it was completely unexpected and awful. i still miss him every day and he died 8 years ago. at that time i was in a relationship with a guy who i counted on a lot, and he didn’t come to the funeral and refused to talk about my dad with me.

    thankfully, i’ve been able to work though and accept my dad’s death and have found the love of my life in my fiance! 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Aw, thanks! That means a lot to me that you view my blog so highly. It’s very humbling. 🙂

      And glad you have reached a better place after those trials. Although I don’t doubt its still hard at times too.

  31. Rachel says:

    I seem to have one thing that is super emotionally challenging my whole life. In high school it was my drug addicted boyfriend, moving out and taking care of myself during college was emotionally challenging overall, and now I’m challenged by overcoming disordered eating.

    If it’s not one thing, it’s another, huh??

  32. Tina, I loved reading this for so many reasons! What I love is how real this post is (as are all of your posts:) )

    Conceiving a child can be very tough. It took us 6 months for M, and she’s our first child.

  33. I had no idea you were in a fitness competition! You looked great, I bet it was tons of work!

    Right now I’m celebrating because my period just came back! I hadn’t had it in over a year (probably because I’m just a teen and it’s not regular yet) but I was getting SOO worried! I kept thinking something was wrong with me!

  34. Meg says:

    You’ve really inspired me to be happy with my happy place! You’ve also made me realize how lucky I am to have such a regular cycle, hopefully that means for good conception chances when I get there. 🙂

  35. Jen says:

    Most emotionally challenging?

    April 13, 2010. 20 minutes after talking to my Dad on the phone and making plans to meet at the library that morning, he was hit and killed instantly in a head on collision with a semi-truck. I am still working on healing.


    • Tina says:

      You have every right to still be working on healing from that. Hugs! I wish there was something more I could say. 🙁

  36. One of the most emotionally challenging things I went through was with my obsession with calories. I kept a cheery disposition the entire time but deep down, I was SCREAMING for help!

  37. Loved this post (although I remember when you were going through this!) I think it’s a great message to send out! 🙂

  38. Ela says:

    Thanks for sharing this: I’m so glad it had a happy outcome and hope that little B makes an appearance soon. Glad he wasn’t born right in the holidays, though!

    My toughest emo thing was probably the breakup of my first long-term relationship, about a year after we moved to the US (nine years ago now!) It definitely preceded my worst years of ED, being more than half dead. But my relationship with my dad is a challenge too!

  39. […] after seeing the positive response to my earlier post, feel free to let me know of any other reader’s requests you may […]

  40. Shannon says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. And all of thr commenters who shared their own struggles. Something so wonderful about blogging is learning that you aren’t alone in your struggles. The toughest thing I had to deal with was growing up with a severely disabled brother. He required in home nursing care and kept our family pretty housebound.

  41. Thank you for this wonderfully honest post! I have been off the pill for about 6 months and nothing is happening in way of pregnancy. I continue to get my period (semi-regularly). Sigh. I don’t think it’s a weight thing for me, more of a stress thing!

  42. Wow!! I am so glad to have come across your blog, this was an amazing post to read! I am very much looking forward to exploring more of your story. And I am intrigued by your relationship with your father that you mentioned at the end of the post (I have had a hard past with my own dad, so it’s nice to come across people who can relate). Anyway, I will definitely be checking in on your blog in the future, and I’m going to read back some (aka stalk, haha!) to see more of your story. Thanks for being so open, Tina! I’m sure you’ve been a help to SO many without even realizing it…

    • Tina says:

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you stopped by. 🙂 And I have certainly shared openly about my past relationship with my father. Things are much better now, but there have been rough times before (mainly with emotional abuse).

  43. Courtney F says:

    The hardest thing for me was gaining to conceive as well. It was so hard to wrap my head around, especially as a personal trainer! Even though, it was uncomfortable and I wanted to stop, we got a beautiful baby girl out of the uncomfortableness. Like you, I now know the area of weight I need to be to conceive and will get up to that point when we want to try again!

  44. amy says:

    I struggle with body image issues so much and fear of gaining weight. I probably overtrain and am very into calorie couting which I know is not good. Its such a struggle because I’m constantly wanting to improve my physique and I train hard but it never seems like enough.

  45. Tina, thanks so much for sharing this. Although I don’t work out to extremes, my body weight is low and I’m struggling with the same thing right now. I feel really comfortable at my current weight but know it’s not where it’s supposed to be in order for me to conceive again. It’s such a struggle, but I can see in your case that it’s completely worth it. Do you plan on staying in the same weight range post Baby B that you were in when you conceived?

    • Tina says:

      I plan on working back towards where I felt most comfortable at after Makenzie, which was right before I started training for my fitness competition. That is lighter than where I conceived, but still well within a healthy range and body fat level. I really think I would have gotten my period back at that weight with time…but I “played it safe” and went for the higher weight to try to get my cycle back sooner after my competition. If I couldn’t get my cycle at that size after nursing, though, then I would certainly get to a weight where I had a regular cycle. health is most important always. Hope you get things figured out for yourself. I know how stressful it can be.

      • I agree that health is the most important thing. I think I just need to find the balance between working out and eating the right amounts of the right foods to get to where my weight is supposed to be and for my body to be happy. Thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s always helpful to read what others have gone through and done.

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