This is probably the most revealing picture I will ever post of myself on the Internet. Look at my belly! I’m coming up on 36 weeks now; in this picture I’m at 31. I officially have the pregnant lady waddle, and getting from a sitting to standing position is way harder than I ever realized it could be. Sometimes she kicks so hard that I actually double over — this gives Mike a small heart attack every time it happens. (I’m so glad she’s strong, but damn…she’s really strong.)
As I get closer and closer to my baby’s birth, my body changes more dramatically by the day. I’m tiny-boned and have practically no body fat when I’m not pregnant, so I’ve had a petite pregnancy, and it turns out people LOVE a skinny pregnant women. Strangers consistently approach me to tell me how great my body looks, and I have mixed feelings about it. I try to take compliments as compliments and just leave it there, but honestly, all of our weird social body issues extend to pregnancy too, and that kind of freaks me out. So here’s my pregnancy reality check.
I’ve gained 35 pounds so far, which means that by the time I give birth I will have blown my doctor’s recommended 30 pound weight gain out of the water. And honestly? I just don’t care. I eat when I’m hungry, take my vitamins, do weekly prenatal yoga, sleep when I’m tired, and have good results on my lab tests. This is the amount of weight my body has decided it needs to make a healthy baby, and I’m inclined to let my body take the lead on this one.
The fact that I look as slim as I do while carrying this much extra weight is just a result of my genes, which are — and this extends to everyone, everywhere — entirely a matter of chance. The genetic wheel spun and I got skinny, where some people get fat or short or red-headed or hazel-eyed, and anything that’s perceived as particularly flattering or desirable about my pregnancy body is entirely a matter of chance, and not a matter of diet, exercise, or will-power.
Contrary to what Gisele most-women-let-themselves-turn-into-garbage-disposals Bundchen would like you to think, you cannot just will yourself into a supermodel’s pregnancy body. You can be healthy and treat yourself right, but your body is going to pad itself in the ways it needs to support your little one, and that’s a GOOD THING. And you know what? The whole “pre-baby body” thing is a myth. A fantasy. If you have a baby, your body is going to change. No matter what the media tells you about celebrities “getting back their bodies,” IT IS A MYTH. Pregnancy changes bodies, and that’s OKAY. That’s the way it SHOULD BE.
I might get my pre-baby weight back — I have no idea, we’ll see — but the landscape has changed now. What’s stretched will probably not unstretch, my A-cup breasts (which are currently a C-cup) are not going to be as perky unless I surgically encourage them, my hips despite my small frame will probably never be quite as narrow, and my ass, frankly, looks like a road map. That may fade, but it’s not going to disappear. I have cellulite now. The body I had before motherhood is not going to be the body I have after motherhood, and that’s okay. IT’S ALL OKAY!
I, with the help of the man I love more than anything, AM MAKING A BABY. A little person who will talk and grow and learn and have opinions and wear questionable outfits and get dirty and fall off her bike, who will have friends and sleepovers and good days and bad days, who is already making me happier than I can even describe and will also probably drive me crazy, who will read books and knock things over, who will want and need and like and dislike things.
The idea of a daughter is approximately one million times more exciting than the idea of having my “pre-baby body” forever, and I have nothing but respect for what will be my post-baby body. My body was awesome before, my body is awesome now, and my body will be awesome after I give birth.