As I stood on the scale at one of my prenatal doctor appointments, I noticed the nurse fidget with the dials more than usual and then look at the result with confusion. She asked me to step off and back on. She gave the same quizzical look.
"Something must be wrong with this scale," she said, before taking me down the hall to step on the fancy digital-reader scale. When she saw the same number flash on this scale as it did in her previous two attempts to gauge my weight, she looked at me, dumbfounded, and said, "OK, I guess you really did gain that much weight since your last checkup. I didn't know that was possible!"
Ouch. Up until that point, I had done my best to have a "healthy-ish" pregnancy but made sure not to consume myself with weight gain. I didn't chart my weight outside of my checkups — at that point, I didn't even own a scale.
But that humiliating feeling I had after being made to step on that scale three times in a row stuck with me. For the rest of my pregnancy, I became obsessed with that number and how it steadily rose. I dreaded those regular weigh-ins, yet I bought myself a scale and invited that demoralizing experience into my own home on a daily basis.
After giving birth, the obsession continued, and of course I'm not alone.
Mariah Kaitlyn Herrera is another such mum. She's always had a conflicted relationship with taking her weight, but after gaining more than 100 pounds while pregnant with her son Isaiah, the sinking feeling got severely worse postpartum.
That's when one nurse's heartfelt Post-It note above the doctor's office scale made all the difference.
The pink note declared that the scale can only tell "the numerical value of your gravitational pull" but is unable to tell you all the other important aspects of the person standing upon it, namely "how beautiful you are," "how amazing you are," and "how much your friends and family love you."
Mariah, who has lost nearly 50 pounds in the five months since she gave birth, shared the uplifting note on Instagram.
"This is the second time I've seen this in the doctor's office and I love it," she wrote along with the hashtag #justanumber. "Seriously, these should come with every scale! Completely changes how I feel about stepping on the scale especially because I know I'm working on myself."
And isn't that just as — if not more — important?