I didn't think I'd have to confront body image issues while I was pregnant. Certainly I expected to be concerned about getting my normal shape back after Sticky is born, but worry about it now? When I'm barely showing? That's a bit of a surprise. Maybe that was naive of me.
Over the past couple of years as more of my friends have begun to have children, I’ve heard some of them complain about the weight they’ve gained, worrying that they’re getting fat. “You’re not fat,” I tell them. “You’re growing a baby. You look fantastic.” I didn’t understand how they could worry about their weight while they were pregnant. Then, back in June, I put on my favorite jeans and couldn’t get them to button. I knew I was pregnant and that I was supposed to be gaining weight. And in some ways I was pleased to know that something was really happening. But when I looked in the mirror I didn't really look any different, so I just felt fat.
I’ve never been obsessive about my weight. If I realize that I’ve been overindulging and that my clothes are feeling a little snug, I stop eating ice cream and start going to the gym a couple of times a week. I’m never what you’d call skinny, but I’ve found a size that I’m comfortable with and that I can maintain while still satisfying my love of all things sweet.
But I guess I'm a little more weight-conscious than I thought. Whenever I read in my pregnancy book about what I ought to be weighing at a certain point and realize that not only have I stayed within that range, I’m at the low end of the range, I breathe a sigh of relief. I carefully study photographs of myself and this new body to see if the weight's all in my middle or if I'm gaining all over. Floating around in the pool provides temporary relief from the heat and my sciatica, but I have been reluctant to go because it means going out in public in a swimsuit.
It is getting a little bit easier to accept the weight gain and changing shape now that I am feeling (and looking) a little more pregnant (although not enough that anyone's offering me a seat on the bus), rather than just tubby in the middle. Walking by a shop window last week, Brian pointed out a dress he thought I would like, but added, "I guess that probably wouldn't really work for you now, would it?"
"Nope. The waist is...well, it has a waist. And my waist is sort of...missing right now." And I could laugh about it.