Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Big and Beautiful

So here is the obligatory post about gaining weight in pregnancy. Swistle did a great one a few months back, and I totally agreed with her theory: Your body gains what it is supposed to gain for the baby, and will in turn lose it eventually, so long as you don't completely lose your mind and eat the entire IHOP menu for breakfast every day. So it's really not worth stressing over too much- eat the ice cream, don't eat the ice cream, whatever. You're going to feel like a whale by the end regardless, so don't overthink it.
That said, I will also say that it is much easier to keep this perspective the first time around, when the magic of the blossoming belly is much more, well, magical. The first time, I actually got EXCITED about every pound gained. This time, especially when I realized that the only cure for my morning sickness was to keep something in my tummy at all times, I was not so thrilled to see the scale creeping up at only eight weeks along. I am now almost thirty-one weeks, and I have gained a good thirty pounds. I am anticipating at least ten more, since with Addy I gained ten pounds just in the last WEEK before delivery (most of it water weight, though, I think.)
My stomach is definitely up and out there, the proverbial snack tray on which I can balance my most frequent craving, cheddar cheese and Triscuits. I have new stretch marks climbing all the way to my belly button, and my thighs, never my best feature, have reached epic proportions. Really. You could slice whale steaks off of them. My boobs, rather than growing buxom and full like ripe fruit, have grown big and loose and elastic, and also, mysteriously, decided to migrate into my armpits. When I see myself in recent photos, my face looks weirdly bloated and my arms looks like Another Person's flabby arms. I feel strange in my own body sometimes, trapped, even.
But despite this temporary weirdness (please God let it be temporary) I also feel a little more like a real pregnant person this time, if that makes sense. My last pregnancy seemed so easy, and I had so much energy for most of it, that if I hadn't been so obsessed with all things baby I might have forgotten I was pregnant at all. Not so this time around. If the heartburn isn't reminding me, my cumbersome waddle is, or the random limbs pressing down on my bladder. The other day I coughed and felt such intense pressure down there that I literally checked my pants, thinking I had broken my water. Glamorous stuff. But there is no chance of my forgetting for more than five minutes the significant task my body is busy with.
My belly is an orb, stretched tight like a drum. It's actually kind of awesome to behold, if you're in the right frame of mind. I'm not always in said frame, but when it happens, I can actually be amazed at what my body is capable of doing. My hips ache a lot from separating, for instance, but it is kind of remarkable that my brain can trigger a hormone to cause my actual joints to relax and stretch apart like that. It will be a whole 'nother kind of remarkable when none of my jeans fit a few months from now, but, as I said, this kind of thinking requires the proper frame of mind!
So what do you think of pregnant bodies, particularly your own? Did it mostly just horrify you towards the end, or were you able to keep perspective and appreciate the miracle you were creating?

12 comments:

Swistle said...

I think I was usually part grossed out, part enthralled.

Shelly said...

Freak that I am, I went from being slightly underweight, to gaining 85 lbs while pregnant. I found my new body fascinating and even though I was ginormous, I really reveled it. Now, not so much reveling going on. More like revulsion and a lot of "what the hell was I thinking???"

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Mostly I was enthralled while actually pregnant, then appalled by the leftovers after the birth. I mean, it's fine to gain weight and get stretch marks while you're pregnant, but why aren't they going away? I was going to be that cute elastic lady who bounced back to a size 2 after giving birth! Everything would just shrink up, smaller than it was before!

Yeah. Lies your hormonal brain feeds you....

Jana said...

I was much more enthralled with my body and the whole pregnancy process the second time around, probably because we had fertility issues that time and I think I just appreciated it more. I also became obsessed with http://www.theshapeofamother.com/ and checked it daily. It definitely made me feel more comfortable with my stretch marks and saggy boobs. Not proud enough to post a picture, but at least not as freaked out by them.

Devan said...

I was ok with it till the end of the pregnancy, when I just felt too huge and comical to find it amazing anymore. I do think it's pretty cool a lot of the time. The coolness goes away almost immediately though. Postpartum belly is nowhere NEAR as cute as pregnancy belly.

jen said...

I was never appalled until I saw pictures of myself afterwards. How did I leave the house? Talk to my relatives with a straight face? OMG...

CAQuincy said...

I felt the "wonder" of it all with all three pregnancies. But I will admit that seeing that mucus plug did gross me out just a tiny bit....and I couldn't handle the mirror while in labor. I do much better when I don't actually SEE what's going on down there!

I envy all my pregnant friends (seriously, where did this baby boom come from?)--I loved being pregnant (well--except for that kidney stone incident).

LoriD said...

I think I was more amazed than anything. How can skin stretch that much? I had the basketball-under-my-shirt shape, except with beautiful boobs, which were totally new to me. Suddenly I looked sexy in low-cut tops... if you could get passed the basketball, that is.

jess said...

Usually I am amazed. I don't mind how it looks so much (yet), but I have a feeling the worst is yet to come.

I do freak out when I see the numbers on the scale though. I still can't wrap my brain around gaining 26 pounds in 3 months.

Mommy Daisy said...

Well, I have to say I felt really good about my body while I was pregnant. I'm a plus-sized lady anyway, so being big didn't bother me. I loved that I had a huge belly for a reason. And actually, I'm one of those woman who lost weight while pregnant. I ended my pregnancy 4 pounds more than I started it. I lost about 10-15 pounds in the first 3 months, then slowly gained it back throughout the rest of the pregnancy. I ate a lot less than normal while I was pregnant. I felt pretty good after the first few months of sickness.

After my pregnancy, well, you guessed it, I lost a lot of weight right away. I fit into pre-pregnancy jeans only 4 days after giving birth to a 9 lb 11 oz baby. And they fit better than they had before I was pregnant. Within a few weeks, I dropped 25 lbs from the end of my pregnancy. Then, THEN, a pediatrician put me on a higher fat diet to try to increase my milk production. (I tried a lot of things to help it, and nothing did.) So, long story short, I gained all the weight back. And here I am at the weight I started the pregnancy at.

I guess I should still be happy that I didn't gain anything. And I'm trying to lose weight now before my next pregnancy. But I was VERY happy in my pregnant body. I loved every minute of it and I felt more sexy than I ever had.

CakeHead said...

Pregnancy amazes me, through and through. When pregnant I was amazed at myself and my body the entire time. The way my son used to move around inside me just had me in awe. Of course, it was a completely uneventful "perfect" pregnancy so I can't say if I would think differently if it weren't. I do get a tad bit envious when I see pregnant women because I soooo want to do it again!

MrsGrumpy said...

This is an awful thing for me to admit, for I adore my children (for real), but, to this day, it scares the heck out of me to see the "belly shots" my husband talked me into mere days before the birth of our son. That can't really be me, can it? Conversely, I am overwhelmingly saddened that the only photo of me pregnant with our daughter hung on the wall of the college I graduated from and was probably thrown out when the school closed. It was one of those, "Hey, I don't realize my belly button is noticeable through my dress, which is why I am smiling" shots.