Sunday, June 22, 2008

you knew it was coming: body image

I found all the pregnant ladies! They're all at Ikea! In fact, I'd have to guess you can't get INTO Ikea without a baby in your belly. It's all the rage! Pregnant ladies nesting!

I really have to admit that I thought being pregnant would mean the end of my body-image issues, at least for 9-odd months. I know that seems insanely naive, but here was my reasoning: I've always (well, for most of the past fifteen years) been the fattest person in my willowy, self-controlled family. Not fat by most standards, but morbidly obese in family photos. So I figured my waistline wouldn't feel like such a loss, since I didn't have much of one in the first place.

Boy, was I wrong. Here, in no particular order, are my new body issues:
  • I'm showing too early! (this is somehow a moral deficit on my part, clearly)
  • It's not the fat, it's the workouts: I'm in bad shape and won't make it through labor because I'm such a slovenly cow.
  • Belly looks nice, but ass and hips? Blech.
  • I'll never lose this weight after the baby comes.
And, you know, I LOVE my belly. I love it so much, wee as it is right now! And I love my big hooters! And all that joy is being ruined because of this terrible anxiety about my appearance. I really want to feel joyful all the time, not just when I'm lying down and rubbing my new expanse, but when I look at it in the mirror, too.

It's so odd: even good friends make cracks about how I don't look like some of the other pregnolis around. I mean, I'm short. Even when I'm thin, my extremities are stubby. So no, I don't have long, muscular limbs and an imposing presence. I'm small and rounded. But I'm not trying to be pregnant Mia Hamm. I'm just little old me, with this amazing new addition. Most of the time, I like it. Why kill my buzz?

When I tell my pregnant friends how beautiful they look, I always mean it. I honestly think there's nothing more beautiful than a proud, swollen belly. I don't mean that as a slam against women who don't or can't carry children, I don't mean they aren't beautiful, but always, since I went on the pill and stopped fearing pregnancy in college, I thought those big bellies were just the loveliest things around. Am I the only one who feels that way? Do people look at me and just think I'm puffy and gross? Is that why my pg friends always go into a self-mocking shame spiral as they grow? I don't want to hate this!

I really hope I have the energy, soon, to get back to the gym. It's best for Sluggo and me if I hit the elliptical at least 3 times a week. (There are women online who claim to cut back from an hour on the elliptical per day, on doctor's orders... who ARE these women?!) I do feel healthier when I am toned and when i keep things moving, as long as I'm not crippled with fatigue in the aftermath. But for shit's sake, I really would prefer not to be so consumed with worry, about my vanity or my health.

No comments: