Tuesday, September 05, 2006


My body image issues seem to be subsiding. Now that I am growing more and even strangers are able to tell that I am pregnant, I am more able to accept my changing body--at least visually. Instead of wondering if people think I've been making too many stops at the donut shop, they know that I'm pregnant, and that's a wonderful thing. (It also helps that my colleagues come by my office to ask how I'm feeling and tell me how fantastic my hair and skin are looking.)

But still I am struggling to accept the physical limitations that pregnancy is putting on me: I keep finding myself frustrated with things I think I ought to be able to do. Things I used to be able to do. A hike a few weeks back, on a trail that I found somewhat challenging (mostly because of my fear of falling) in April, left me limping with pain in my lower back for two days. In a recent yoga class, I discovered that plank pose, which has always given me a good arm workout, actually requires a fair amount of core strength--which isn't something I seem to have a lot of these days, not with an aching back and abs that are moving out of the way to make room for the baby. Speaking of abs, I used to be able to do 500 crunches. Now? Yeah, not so much.

"You just need to adjust your expectations," Brian keeps telling me. "Let go of your expectations," my yoga teacher says. "Practice non-attachment." Easier said that done, but I am slowly but surely taking their advice. While the rest of the yoga class does six sun salutations, I do four, moving at my own pace, putting up-dog in place of plank and cobra, rising carefully from my forward bend to avoid dizziness. I am cautious around the house, requesting that Brian carry laundry up and down the stairs for me, so that I don't do in my back again. I once walked a marathon, averaging a pace of 16 minutes a mile; now I walk a flat course on a treadmill, barely making it two miles in 40 minutes, so that I can keep my heartrate under control.

I figure this is good practice. All this letting go of expectations must be a rehearsal for motherhood.


Mary Tsao said...

Congratulations on the girl news! That's a great ultrasound pic. That's a baby, allright!

I preferred to be noticeably pregnant when I was pregnant. For baby #2, I was wearing maternity shirts by the time I was 12 weeks. I think that's because I don't enjoy the process of gaining weight. So I can understand having issues with body image.

I couldn't wait to drop the weight after my kids were born. Getting back to my old size was what made me feel myself again.

The Sister said...

Don't think of it as lowering your expectations. You're just reevaluating them. And you can evaluate them again once you give birth.

P.S. Shannon just had her second ultra sound in a week yesterday to see if there is more than one baby. I'm having lunch with her today. I'll keep you posted.

Jennifer said...

I took a couple prenatal yoga classes in my 2nd trimester, and those were awesome. At the beginning of class, all the women share the physical stuff they are experiencing (at their various stages of pregnancy) so it gave me a sense of context.

I have to say, looking pregnant has been really fun. Now that I'm at the very end, it's bringing out the best in people. Except for the part where they want to treat me like an invalid. I can still walk up stairs, people! (But I'll gladly let the husband carry the heavy bags ;)