Yeah. I just wish I looked prettier.
Recent developments might lead a person to believe that I'm feeling pretty good about my pregnant self. For the most part, I am--in an abstract sort of way. I'm growing a human being, I remind myself. So what if my areolae are the size of salad plates? Pregnancy is no time for vanity.
Except that I was prepared for the breast changes. I was prepared for lots of things. My mother warned me about growing a monster bush. Not that she used the phrase "monster bush." My mother is an elegant lady in her fifties, and would never utter the phrase "monster bush" unless she were retelling Where the Wild Things Are as political satire.
Fortunately, I don't think I could grow a monster bush if I wanted to. Really. (Shut up!)
No Monster Bush here!
I have, however, grown two bellies: one above my waist, and one below. It's true: I'm in my third trimester, and I still have a waist. Sort of. It's now 9 inches bigger than it was before I got pregnant, but there's still a noticeable recess in my midsection.
No one warned me that this was a possibility. Pregnant women grow pregnant-woman bellies. Or so I thought. Thank heaven for bloggers! Jen at Fertility Now wrote about the bellies way back in December...of 2005. I can't believe that no one has discussed the phenomenon since then, but Jen's description sums up my appearance perfectly:
Viewed from the side, there is a distinct indentation between the bulge going from my ribcage to my belly button, and the other bulge protruding up from my abdomen. If you filled in the indentation, there would be one recognizable belly, and perhaps I would [look] less lumpy, and more pregnant. As it stands, however, the two distinct bellies give me a slightly overfed look--like a double chin, in belly form.When I got pregnant, I was just starting to feel okay about my appearance. Not "good," but there were times when I'd accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in store window and think, "pretty hot." After years of being overweight (sometimes grossly so), I was getting used to the idea that I could now fit into a clothing size that most stores were likely to stock. And I was so ready to watch my belly expand from more-or-less flat, post-weight-loss mushiness into a firm, round pregnancy
No such luck. The only times that I look truly, unmistakably pregnant are when I do the obnoxious celebrity "pregnancy pose," and first thing in the morning...when I'm stark naked. From most angles in most outfits, I still look more fat than anything else. Maternity clothes don't help much with this. Maternity pants, in fact, make it worse, giving me a sort of "pregnancy muffin top." Very attractive. And when I sit down? Any "baby" quality my midsection may have had disappears, and is replaced by a series of suspiciously fat-like rolls. And it makes me want to cry a little.
I hate feeling this way about my appearance. I don't want to be so vain. I know that my self-consciousness over my pregnant shape (such as it is) is just a by-product of the same oppressive nonsense that tells women that if we're vain enough--to the point of possessing the right clothes, the right hair, the right body--we'll be rewarded with true happiness. More importantly, I realize that I'm incredibly lucky that my pregnancy worries can even stoop to include vanity. I'm healthy, and very thankful to be so.
And yet, when I see a woman rocking a little basketball-sized pregnant belly (neatly accessorized with a perfect outie bellybutton) like it was this season's must-have fashion item, I think, Why not me?
Perhaps, since pregnancy hasn't knocked the vanity clean out of me, motherhood will.