Body Parts

For years- probably ten- I have been within a pound on either side of the same weight. (Okay, that’s not entirely true- I came back from China with three or four extra pounds, but they disappeared once I was back in the U.S. and not drinking milk tea like it was my job.) Pieces of my wardrobe still remember 9/11, and when I look in the mirror, I am generally not taken by surprise. So the steady weight gain of pregnancy, while expected and good and necessary, has really been something for me to grapple with.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it felt like something!

During my first trimester, I didn’t work out because I was sick most of the time and really damn tired all of the time. On most days, the only food that sounded good to me and stayed down was bland and usually full of fat (e.g. macaroni and cheese, other things with cheese, cheese by itself, etc). I didn’t really overeat, but I wasn’t working out at all, and the pounds started to creep on well before I was showing. Between 11 and 12 weeks, I started feeling much better and got back to running, strength training, and eating vegetables. Everything about my disposition improved, but I was startled by how my body just continued to hang on to every calorie I ate- and again, I knew this was going to happen, should be happening, but it was seriously a paradigm shift to watch the numbers on my gym’s scale climb to new heights.

When I was 14 or 15 weeks along, my students started to notice the little bump I was growing, and they were really, sweetly delighted with my physical changes.

15 weeks

One night around this time, one of my students stayed after to ask me questions about how my pregnancy was going. She complimented my new shape and then said, “I loved my body when I was pregnant! I missed my round belly after my daughter was born.” To prove it, she whipped out her phone and showed me a picture of herself from two Julys ago, when she was nine months pregnant.  She was wearing this pretty red bikini and standing with arms outstretched in front of a buoyant fountain. She looked absolutely radiant.

This was the moment that I felt like smacking myself in the forehead. Yes, my hips, rear, and thighs have Kardashianed out a little- big surprise- and sure, I suddenly have varicose vein-confetti on my legs, but there is so much to love about my body right now! First of all, I have produced like, a ton of extra blood for the baby, which is amazing. My veins have become really full and strong and visible to handle all of the new cargo. For the first time in my life, my skin requires very little maintenance to feel properly moisturized, and I suspect that I could stop washing my hair altogether and it would still look healthy and clean.
17 weeks
18.5 weeks, squeezed into a pre-pregnancy dress

And I love, love, love my belly. Unbelievable things are happening in there. It is round and glowing and, as of April, full of life that Matt and I can feel and, as of June, full of movement that we can see. I’ve got a 2ish pound baby, a sack full of fluid, and an extra organ in there, and the rest of my body is like, “That’s cool. We can make room.” I know that a gajillion babies are born every day and that our human ancestors have been reproducing for millennia, but being pregnant makes me feel very, very special.

20.5 weeks

So lately, when I look in the mirror, it is with a feeling of excitement to see what new changes have happened, sometimes seemingly overnight. Matt likes this game too- we’ve been particularly interested in gauging the shrinking of my belly button. It’s going to pop any day now, and I can’t wait.

25 weeks

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