I would like to talk about my body for a minute. Because of all the weird things that accompany infertility and pregnancy, my changing relationship with my body was one thing I hadn’t anticipated.
If you had asked me how I felt about my body before all this started, I would have said fine. Maybe even great. Like most women, I have one or two things that poke at when I’m feeling low, but on the whole I’ve never really had a problem with my physical appearance. Through some miracle, I had escaped a lot of the self-loathing so many women experience about their bodies.
Or so I thought…
I realize now that I’ve been pretty blessed in that I have been effortlessly thin. I know a lot of people out there are going to hate on this, but this is a fact. I’m naturally skinny and have a kick ass metabolism. I also like eating my greens and genuinely love physical exercise. It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t exposed to screwed up societal expectations of women’s bodies. I simply skirted the issue through the genetic lottery. I could rant and rave about the exploitation of women’s bodies, how harmful unrealistic beauty standards are, why we need to embrace all body types… and then eat a slice of chocolate cake and not bat an eyelash.
Pregnancy has hijacked this body of mine, and with it exposed me to a whole lot of stupid insecurities I didn’t know I had. Early on while I was experiencing the joys of bloating and constipation, I rolled around on my bed lamenting that I was “getting fat.” Mr. Ostrich reminded me that I was, in fact, pregnant. But it still felt like my body was betraying me.
The bump is definitely making its presence known at this point. While on vacation in CA, I wore a few maternity dresses. On one hand, I felt great- it was nice not to be under layers or wearing increasingly ill-fitting pants. On the other hand, I had this compulsion to run around telling people I was pregnant, not chubby.
To be clear, I am not proud of this. In fact, it makes me feel icky. Objectively, I get that my body is doing something really amazing right now. It is building a fricking human. That is some badass shit. At the same time, I now understand I’ve internalized that bigger is badder, and it is hard override the instinct to feel ashamed.
In a strange way, I’m reminded of when I first realized I was infertile. In a whole different way, I was also ashamed of my body. It wasn’t doing the *one* thing it was biologically put on this earth to do. Everyone else seemed to have perfect reproductive organs, whereas mine were clearly less than ideal. I remember feeling betrayed by my body every month, compounding all those other feelings of grief, frustration, and disappointment.
I’m just going to come out and say it. Being pregnant doesn’t make me feel magical. It makes me feel out of control. It was like I had this pact– I was good to my body, and it would be good to me. Now the definition of what “good” is changes daily, and I don’t know how to keep up with it all.
I’m getting bigger which is a good thing when you’re pregnant, but how do you erase a lifetime of voices telling you that your body is better when smaller?