So 19 weeks into the pregnancy (well, 18 weeks and 6 days) I realize I should probably be writing some of this stuff down. How I found out I was pregnant in the 1st bathroom stall of my work and wanted to run up and down the cubicle aisles holding up the stick I peed on triumphantly. (I didn’t). How my already wacky dreams have now starred even more obscure celebrities, gotten more vivid, more meaningful. How I cry at Ronald McDonald commercials and touching moments in movies from the Sy-Fy channel. The day I felt the first flutter of life in my belly (and ever day since—wow this kid is going to be hyper). How every week brings on new physical adventures, and every day someone gives me more advice or an unprovoked labor horror story. Instead, I’ll start with something petty…
Am I paranoid or did that coworker just insinuate that I’m fat? There are many reported emotional effects of pregnancy. One may very well be paranoia. So it could be possible that I’m just being paranoid when I hear an underlying message behind the question “So since you’ve been pregnant have your eating habits changed?” Looking down at my spaghetti and meatballs I’m about to heat up on my lunch break I just answer weakly “I’m not on a diet anymore.” The spaghetti is whole wheat! I tell myself. And then I realize I’m fighting all kinds of weird feelings. Guilt- The baby doesn’t need saturated fat from these homemade meatballs, Defensiveness- She didn’t see me eat that huge green salad with a skimpy amount of low fat dressing, Fear- Am I doing this wrong?? Should I not look like this? Am I abnormally large?? And then an overall revelation. That pregnancy means so many things, the least of which is a continued wrestling with my body image. Apparently the pressure of our culture to make women want to look like super models doesn’t just go away when you get pregnant.
I’ve just spent the past few years of my 20s trying to squeeze into a size 6 jean size then learning to accept—no LOVE myself when I’m squeezing into a size 12. So now I get to wear pants with elastic waists! I get to pat my belly and think of it as an accomplishment- I’m not fat, I’m fertile! Yet when the (same) coworker says with a (fake?) tone of admiration “Wow, are you having twins? You’re so big! How far ARE you?” My joy falters for a second. And this is embarrassing. Do I want my sweet potato-(every week the baby is the size of a different fruit) going-on-mango to know I wrestled with such an insignificant issue at the brink of the most significant event of our lives? Also, would I want to teach him or her that this even deserves a blog entry?
I’m learning how to balance. Because I know this is only the beginning. I’m just starting to show and already learning how to handle people’s comments. How not to stress when my doctor tells me to slow down my weight gain one month then tell me I haven’t gained any weight the next. How not to be tempted to feel shame. How not to defend my meatballs.