Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bellies, The Hudge & Eyeballs

So, while we were working on this whole baby project, I read a lot of blogs of pregnant people, or people who had just recently had babies. I enjoyed reading all the escapades of their pregnancies and birth stories and cute pictures of smiling bald-headed babies and lots of cries about the volume of vomit and pee they were dealing with. Odd to find comfort in those things? Probably, but it made Having A Baby into something more real, tangible, and doable. People were doing it. Not just random people, but people that I sort of talked to, because the Internet is cool like that. I mean, I also had friends near to me who were doing it, which helped. I probably could have delayed the onset of my baby fever for a good long while if it weren't for the most adorable, cherubic, sweet baby that my friends D & K decided to have. This kid... people, he's just... a heart breaker!

lookit that face! I think this photo was taken by the lovely  Paul over at Photography on the Run
I also got to meet a lot of my internet ladies and chat with them about baby stuff and being-a-mom stuff and got a lot of good perspective that sort of also means nothing in a practical sense, because really? I'm not going to really know until my baby arrives, since all babies have their own unique way of doing all the stuff that babies do, or so they tell me. I'm not really smart, I just read a lot. I should put that on a shirt.

Anyway, all that was a preface to say that recently, I've been going back through some of the archives for those blog-friends and re-reading their pregnancy stories. Now that I can sort of compare some parts, the posts are even more interesting. Mostly I've been re-reading Temerity Jane's stories. While I (would hope that most sane people would) hope to avoid replicating all of the steps of her pregnancy--12 some-odd weeks of bed rest sounds like a whole lot of no fun, thanks--she's got lots of good stuff asking about what to buy for the baby and being funny and stuff.

She talks about "things a full-term pregnant lady cannot do" and while that is still many months away for me, I still laughed re-reading it, but the part about walking around without being eyeballed made me think, and I realized something.

I feel eyeballed too. Not my strangers, but by friends and family, and not in a mean way. I realize this is probably all in my head, and there are layers and layers of crazy that go into this kind of self-centered thinking, but it's like this (in my head): I walk into a room, and everyone immediately glances down at my belly to see if I'm showing yet. I'm not, at least, not the way I had hoped. When I see me, I'm still just fat. I mean, I have photographic evidence that there's a baby in there, so I know what's going on, but to me, everything is still the same. I'm wearing the same pants, and the number on the scale is the same...

Ok, actually, my shape is changing. I don't look exactly the same as I did back in July, but... these aren't the changes I was hoping for. I'm having a hard time adjusting. I haven't gained any weight yet, which is good. For women who start at a healthy weight, 25-30 lbs is the recommended gain. I wasn't at a healthy weight, so my doctor-approved goal is to gain half that. To be half-way done and still at the same weight I started is good. For me. And my doctor is pleased and the baby is healthy and all that is good. To be clear, I'm not trying to NOT gain weight, I'm actually just trying to eat well and take care of myself and let the weight thing sort itself out, which is sort of my philosophy for life in general, actually. I'm just glad it's cooperating thus far.  But, to see the same number on the scale, and still be wearing my regular pants and clothes... I don't feel that much different. And the changes that I do see, I don't like. To me, it's just what happens when I gain weight.

To strangers, I'm still firmly in the "not pregnant, just fat" category. I haven't crossed over into questionable territory yet where I think strangers might be looking at me and wondering. No, it's just people who know me who I think (like me) really want to see progress that are seeing small changes & attributing them to the baby... which is true, but... ok, fine. It's true!

I look a little different now and it's because I'm having a baby.

I'm just not the shape I was hoping for. The Freckle isn't even a POUND yet, so really, there's lots of room to grow ahead, and I'm sure I'll get all giant & elephanty soon enough, and then I'll be a whole different kind of uncomfortable. I'm trying not to whine about it all the time. I really am. I'm failing, but I am trying. It's just really been on my mind this past week, especially with trying to plan a costume for TRF that didn't squish the baby, but would have made me look more like my old self, and then the costume debacle that left me all... hudgy in public...(though incredibly comfortable!)

A lady at my office asked me the other day, "Do you feel beautiful?" and she caught me so much by surprise that I didn't even edit my answer. "No, I just feel fat."  I'd never understood that answer from pregnant ladies before, because they all looked beautiful and round and glowing and maternal to me. I don't feel like any of those adjectives describe me. I knew my shape would change, and I knew I had no control over how that happened, but I still had... hopes. To be honest, I wanted a gloriously large rack--temporarily. I know too many women who live in the F-J range of brassieres to want to live there permanently, but I did have visions of  my top swelling so that for a day or two, I would be a more balanced hourglass shape instead of my usual pear.  That hasn't happened. And while my belly is bigger, it's not... round. The bottom belly is the same, but because there's a hitchhiker in there, it's pushing the upper belly out, so what people see and think "oh, baby belly" is just... me being FAT! I want the big, round, single belly that says "Yep, got a baby in here!" I guess I had naive hopes that the pregnant version of me would be... better than the regular version of me.

And I had this strange thought that I would struggle less with body issues while pregnant. Ha! I've got to stop comparing myself to all the other pregnant ladies I see. I'm not them. I'm still me. And I am happy with the fact that my body is making a human... a whole human... which is wonderful and weird and wonderful. I don't all of a sudden hate my body now, I'm just... surprised a lot. I'm happy, I really am. I'm just... adjusting very slowly (and poorly) to this new body.

Most of the time, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin. I know how much space I take up. I know how to dress to feel and look pretty good. My diet wouldn't win any awards, but it's got lots of good stuff in it, and not a lot of crap. I'm not as active as I should be, but I get up and move. I dance, I walk, I take the stairs, I do my Wii DDR, I play with my dog. I knew change was coming. I wanted this, and still do. I just didn't know how it was going to happen--still don't! I might never get to be the shape that I want to be (which at the moment is very, very round), and that's ok. I'm healthy. The Freckle is healthy. That's what matters. Not the state of my hudge. It just took me a lot of words to figure that out. Again.


Diva said...

I think you're beautiful all the time...and always have been.

Katjabee said...

Your hudge is cool, because The Freckle is in there. Yes, we're all looking at you differently, because we know what's coming, and it's cool! And from what I understand, your pregnant shape will continue to change. Round comes a little later on. It'll happen. Meanwhile, you look happy and healthy, and that's awesome.

Swistle said...

I was so disappointed during pregnancy, the way I'd be halfway done and still not looking ROUNDED! I'd pictured it happening...way EARLIER.

Natalie said...

I work with ALL WOMEN. So the staring, touching, and commenting is NEVER ENDING. It's been okay though. All the ladies are really supportive, and want me to show. I'm barely showing!! And there's another gal 4 weeks ahead of me and she's annoyed at me that I'm not as big as her. I found out from my mom that she didn't show until 24 weeks. I've got some time to go!

Elsha said...

Even though I mostly feel great with the way I look pregnant, there's always something. I'm already getting the "Oh, you still have a long way to go!" comments when people hear how far along I am. And yes, the bigger boobs and big round belly are nice, (and you may still get the boobs if you're going to nurse) but it seriously sucks to try on stuff my sisters wore at full term and have the clothes not fit. And as much as people try to tell me I'm just showing more because it's a third pregnancy, I was just as big with the other two. Anyway, I had a point here, but I am too tired to remember it.

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