Well the cat is out of the bag, or rather the belly is out of the pants…I’m pregnant! Cue the trumpets and the parade already. Jon & I are very excited to be welcoming a new addition to our family this September. There’s all sorts of anxieties that come with the idea of bringing a new person into the world, and while I have started to have moments where I think, “Wait…what were we thinking…?” (these moments usually occur on a hot day while everyone around me is drinking beer), for the most part my anxieties have so far concerned the word…fat.
Yeah. I know it’s not a new idea that pregnant women struggle with feeling fat. I have been watching sitcoms for the past 2o years. I get it. I am not unique. But I do feel like I have been given the task in life & pregnancy to face my body image issues once and for all. I somehow skirted the 1st trimester awfulness of nausea that many women report and went straight to gaining a lot of weight. Besides being completely exhausted much of the time, trying to feel comfortable with gaining weight has been the biggest struggle of my pregnancy. How fitting.
Now that I’m “out” with my preggers status and now that there’s a real bump to be accentuated by ruched maternity wear t-shirts, it definitely has gotten a little easier. A little. I have already fielded my first comments from well-meaning individuals on social media like “Wow! I thought you were only a few months, that baby is ready to come out and play!” This is a real comment I received on Instagram from a woman who I know to be kind and full of love. After considering several snarky comebacks (“Nope, still have 5 months to go, that’s just my body, you insensitive bitch.” Or as Jon suggested, “Why would you say something like that unless you were a stupid bitch?” All snarky comment ideas involved the word “bitch.”) I decided to just cry and delete the comment. I almost hit the “delete & report abuse” button because it felt like abuse. “Abuse! Abuse!” I yelled at my phone through tears. Sigh. Such a pregnancy cliché.
But this public humiliation is somehow better than the private torment I put myself through when my pregnancy was known to a select few. I have spent such a large chunk (no pun intended) of my life now dedicated to losing weight and keeping it off, that when the pounds started coming, I felt like I was falling down big time. My friends would say, “You’re not fat. You’re pregnant. You’re making a baby.” And I knew that. But I was already comparing myself to other pregnant women. In fact I was comparing myself to pregnant women in the future. To girlfriends of mine who aren’t even talking about getting pregnant right now. I was comparing myself to their tiny bumps of the future that were adorable and love-worthy AND COMPLETELY NON-EXISTENT IN PRESENT REALITY. I knew I was being crazy, and all the positive self talk in the world wasn’t changing it.
So what did?
Time. Persistence + time. Persistence + time + vegetables. Persistence of gently reminding myself that I am a woman who is creating a space of love for another living being that is completely worthy of all the love in the world. Persistence of thinking that my body is doing what my body needs to do. Persistence of remembering the total and magical phenomenon of life that I was being honored to participate in. And lots and lots of carrots & jicama.
Gross. But true.
What didn’t help?
Google. To all my friends out there who will someday pee on a stick and cry for joy & fear about what comes next. Promise me one thing. Just don’t start with Google. Call a woman with children. Preferably with children under the age of 5. Definitely don’t google “foods to avoid while pregnant” or “pregnant, now what?” Google has nothing but stress for you. Stress and misinformation. And information overload about Kim Kardashian’s too-fat pregnancy. And none of this will help you feel better about anything.