so let me start by saying that pregnancy is amazing. as someone who has dealt with waiting and loss to arrive at this point, I wouldn't let myself forget this for one day.
the moment you pee on that stick and see those two blue lines staring back at you, everything changes, you become a mother and your body takes over in an amazing way.
somehow, while you sit on the couch eating cereal and listening to podcasts your body is growing a person. and that little person is getting everything he needs to survive from you.
and the truth is that there is no way to describe this except to say that it's amazing.
but, as always, truth is a tricky thing to pin down and there are more sides to this story. because it's also true that there are parts of pregnancy that are not so glamorous. the fact you can't properly reach to shave your legs. the leaking boobs. the feeling of utter loss of control as you put on weight.
people tell you you look beautiful and sometimes you even believe them. you put on that maternity dress and pose for your husband to take yet another belly photo so that you can remember the magic of this time. because you are feminine and sexy and amazing. and your body is growing and sustaining life.
but there are other times. times when in the privacy of your own home, you can't help but cry over your changing body and the lack of control you seem to have. when you catch sight of your profile in the mirror and are absolutely shocked at the appearance of the woman looking back at you. when you delete those photos (they made you look fat) and cry on that husband's shoulder because while it is amazing, this is also so hard.
I must admit that I wasn't expecting to feel like this. While I had some weight-related insecurities in high school (what teenager doesn't?) I have, in the 10ish years since then gotten into a really good rhythm with my body. I feed it well and balanced and try to stay active and for the most part, we seem to get along just fine. so I thought, naturally that pregnancy weight-gain just wouldn't be that big of a deal.
and sometimes it's not. Like always, I eat well and stay active and mostly revel in the amazingness of what's going on inside me. of course there are aches and pains and general uncomfortableness but this was all something I expected, and after waiting and hoping for this pregnancy for so long, they aren't really things I choose to spend a lot of time dwelling on.
but being pregnant has reminded me just how much I enjoy being in control. I love my little type A goals and to-do lists. I like measurable outcomes. and the little house guest who has currently taken up residence inside my body doesn't seem to be taking much notice of this. I am putting on the weight and this is inevitable.
I do not think a pregnant body is an unattractive one. and I forgive the people who take one look at my belly and comment on its size. But summer is coming - it should arrive with the birth of our baby, and I've long since abandoned hope of fitting into last year's warm weather wardrobe.
So I am writing these words partially for my pregnant self - because it's a part of this journey I want to be honest about. But I'm mostly writing it for my future postpartum self - because I want her to be able to go back and read it in writing:
you are not fat. and you will be kind to yourself this summer. you will wear shorts and eat ice cream on the balcony and maybe even eventually go swimming because it's hot here and there's no reason to deny yourself these pleasures.
because your body has shown up for you when you most needed and wanted it to. it has sustained you and this precious bundle of a baby for these 34 weeks and counting. and I know it will be there at the end, doing its best to help you bring this baby into the world.
and the only appropriate response is to be kind to it.