My Body is Not My Own.
Coming up on week 30 of my pregnancy next week, it is incredible to me that I have made it this far. I have gone through a whirlwind of emotion with carrying this baby up to this point. I am feeling overwhelming joy and excitement, and all in all- I am just ready for this little guy to be here…but then not ready at all.
First Trimester- pure exhaustion and sickness, body is changing, just feeling “fat”, keeping secrets, feeling afraid of NOT being pregnant. I still feel like this stage was definitely the most horrible. There is nothing like feeling like you no longer know yourself, but you reap no reward or satisfaction in knowing that your baby is “ok” or that you are even doing anything right. You know nothing about your baby at this point–and you just pray to make it to each weekly milestone.
Second Trimester- I have to agree that the second trimester is definitely the best. People tell you that, and I know everyone is different. But for me: sickness went away, I actually had a little bump to show off, motivation and energy happens, and the best part- you get to know the gender, you see your little one’s face, and you feel like you get to “know” this little person just a little more each and every day. And there is something about feeling somewhat “adorable” with a round bump that still can be dressed in the latest fashions.
Third Trimester- Mind you, I am only in week 2 of the third trimester. Although the countdown is “on”, I still have quite a ways to go (11 weeks)! At this point, I am just freaking out about everything I don’t have…yet I somehow feel prepared? The funny (and frustrating) thing is just having zero control over anything. I am getting really anxious to see him- will he look like me, or Matt? Will he have hair? Will he like to snuggle? You know, all those images of “you having your own child -one day-” is no longer a day far in the future. It feels like the only thing I have control over is the “stuff”— What kind of baby carrier do I want? Should I just order a stroller or wait for my shower? Glass bottles or plastic? Where do I hang all this stuff on the walls of the nursery? The damn crib sheet I ordered is on back-order until November…time to panic!
Now, my body…what no one tells you, or maybe they do and I chose not to listen, is that in the third trimester- by consenting to “being pregnant” you have now agreed to submit your body as public domain. Not only do you no longer look or feel like yourself, you also get increasingly uncomfortable every single day. Those kicks that you used to long to feel, get annoying. Your toes may resemble sausage-in-a-can (the can being ANY shoes, really) and swelling continues to go up the cankles and all the way to your face- depending on the day. Bending over or getting out of the couch causes shortness of breath and a feeling of defeat. Consistent heartburn. Can’t sleep. Finding ANYTHING to wear is success, actually trying to look like a “with-it” human being feels impossible. I felt like almost immediately at week 27 that my previous feeling of “pathetically adorable” has now just reached “pathetically defeated.”
Immediately following my own self-loathing was a slew of unwanted comments about how “huge” I look. Although I am usually a person with fairly high self-esteem, I have to say in defense of my fellow preggo lady folk- please be aware of what you are saying to people. As someone who has struggled with my weight just as a normal person- I have noticed that people feel like they can tell you how fat you used to look AFTER you have lost weight. I was once told that I lost a “TON OF WEIGHT” by someone who thought they were complimenting me after a 15lb weightloss. I think about this when people are telling me now that I am going to have a HUGE baby and that they can’t believe I have such a long ways to go with my pregnancy. There is something about “well you don’t look like that anymore” or “pregnancy is a temporary state, so we can say whatever we want”–what you don’t realize is already what a struggle it has been getting this far. But what I really think about when people are judging my HUGE baby when I am only 29 weeks along, is that you are truly judging the size of my body. The average baby at this point would only be about 2.5-3lbs, and between now and my due date, my baby will TRIPLE in weight. Yes, I know that there is also a lot more than just baby going on in there between placenta, fluids, swelling, etc. But do you? I very well may have a 10lb baby…or I might have a 6lb one- in which case, I want you to remember when you blatantly told me how huge I looked.
But-the flip side- and I know this is something that even I have to work on. I also have a lot of pregnant friends who don’t show as much with their pregnancies. Although I look at them in envy, hearing how upset some have gotten about comments on how they “don’t even look pregnant” or assumptions that their babies are undersized or malnourished can be equally upsetting. Commenting on how small a pregnant woman is can also feel defeating (although I would not know that personally… *wink wink*) Like I said, it is hard not to compare myself to these friends and be envious of their smaller bumps and lack of swollen everything. But I have to remember myself that pregnancy is so different for everyone.
On a positive note- we are nearing the end of wedding season, and new ventures are keeping me busy and making the weeks fly by. Soon enough, our little guy will be out and a part of our lives…and I won’t have to be pregnant anymore! (and hopefully Land of Nod will ship my crib sheet before then…)