Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Small, Big, Subjective

I'm 4 months into the pregnancy.

Last time I started taking photos of my belly at 3 months and posting them here. This time, in true veteran fashion, I didn't feel like bothering, even though I've definitely gotten larger at a faster pace this time around. I had a look at my old photos just now and wow, I was posting not even a belly at all, wasn't I?

The thing is that this time, I started out with a bit of a leftover belly from before, like nearly everyone else does. At the very least my non-pregnant belly was the size of my three-months-along photo from last time, and little more than that besides. Maybe that's why I didn't want pictures?

I can't say I know what you, individual reader, are thinking, but whenever I bring up the topic of my waistline, I tend to get the same reaction from others, which involves annoyance at the skinny girl complaining about being supposedly fat.

Let me say a few things right off the top - I would never truly use the words "fat" or "overweight" to describe myself. It's obvious I've pulled a good number in a genetic lottery and I'm very grateful for that. I can't claim any sort of credit for it as I really don't take care of my body that well.

That said, over the years I have always had my own version of "fat day jeans" and "skinny day jeans", and eventually I get to a point where I grow out of the skinny ones and my fat ones become my skinny ones, and I buy larger jeans, just like everyone else does, all along the weight spectrum, as they get older and less fit. I don't have the measurements I had 15 years ago and only part of that is due to having a baby in between.

I don't worry about my size that much. I admit I was a little unhappy with how my new shape looked in my usually well-fitted shirts after I was well and done with pregnancy and breastfeeding. I did have to get rid of some tops that no longer worked and shop for my new shape. Seeing as how there have always been certain styles that didn't work for my body (which is an issue no matter what your size is) it was just a bit of a lateral adjustment and not that much to deal with.

Again, whenever I talk or write in this manner I worry that people are angry at me. There are so many moms out there who undergo a major transformation in order to give birth to a child. These ladies have to face real physical consequences and I never would compare myself to them. I was lucky in so many ways with my pregnancy and this is definitely one of them.

But is just talking about my experience enough to annoy people? I still wish to express myself, still wish for understanding, and yes, empathy.

See, nearly all moms go through a similar stage in the first and early second trimesters, where they are pregnant, and visibly so, but not visibly enough for strangers to be sure. At this point, anyone who knows me and my usual shape well enough can, if they happen to notice my belly, discern that I am in fact pregnant, and not simply gaining weight.

Last time, I put off buying maternity clothes as long as possible, and even bought looser styles that I could wear afterwards. This time, I went and got maternity clothes immediately. The main reason was that last time, I was pregnant in the winter, and bulky styles were easier to pull off. This time, I'll be pregnant in the summer and needed things like shorts and thinner tops that flattered. Another reason is that this time around, the current hip styles are all short in the torso, and do not work at all for a pregnant woman.

But I have to say, the biggest reason I got maternity clothes immediately is that I wanted to look pregnant, NOW. The belly popped out, I felt tired and lazy, and I needed to do my best to tell the world that I have a baby in here. The idea that someone would think I was merely larger in the tummy was more embarrassing to me. Perhaps it's all those discarded skinny jeans, perhaps it's that leftover belly giving me a head start, perhaps it's my body now familiar with pregnancy, perhaps it's the fact that I'm going to be 37 very soon and know I don't look the way I used to.

Last time, I hadn't known any other pregnant moms. I didn't realize how tiny I was in comparison. Now, having seen and talked to countless women in various stages, with various sizes and various issues, it's even more clear to me how small I was. That doesn't make it that much easier when everyone you talk to says "You're so tiny!"

Similarly, last time it was easier to brush people off and say "I'm a small person" and "My doctor says it's fine". But this time, when some roll their eyes at my mentions of my size, or make sure to tell me in an irritated voice how big they were and how awful it was, I can't help but feel a little lonely in my pregnancy, a little lack of sympathy from others. I am not looking for pity of any kind, as I truly am extremely lucky to have it so easy, but I do enjoy smiles and encouragement, not disdain and one-up-manship. Yes, most people are just jibing me in a friendly fashion, which is perfectly fine, but if all I get are jibes, then I feel a little less understood. (All my good mom friends jibe AND encourage, and believe me, I appreciate both, and love having you ladies along for the ride this time!)

It's a typical sort of thing that moms have to face in all sorts of areas, and I try to remember to not play the one-up game when it comes to anything, be it how long a kid took to speak to whether he can ride a bike by kindergarten. I'm sure my stories of Theo's milestones and my pregnancy can sometimes come across badly but I have always tried to make it supportive conversation about how all children are different.

Oof, what a long post, and probably way too complain-y. I'm telling you, it's really weird, the second time, because you generally know how things work, and you generally don't worry about things, and since my tests are all coming back rosy I'm mostly just concerned with eating enough and sitting as much as possible, which means I don't have much of anything to post. Except a complain-y post.

Please forgive me. In penance, here is a pic of me in my not particularly flattering lay around clothes. Four months. Definitely bigger than my pic from around the same stage in 2009.

Love all of you and your continuing support.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your beautiful bump! I love this post, it's not complainy, it's life. Most moms undergo big transformations and there's a lot of mixed emotions related to it. Coming from the other side, having been ginormous (people elbowed their friends and pointed at me more than once) and having had hyperemesis I share my experiences with other moms only with the idea of trying to relay the fact that I can relate. And not "one up" the other mom, but I can and do empathize with the fact that pregnancy can be hard. I know how much it sucks to be nauseous, one vomit session sucks just as much to one mom as 14 weeks to another. Our experiences should always be apples and oranges and never who had the bigger apple. You look beautiful, you should be able to share your experiences without feeling like the reader is embittered because their experience was harder/worse/more difficult. Those people can go climb on another cross and complain to someone else, who needs that in their lives?! Thanks for sharing what you are going through, I'm excited to have the next baby but terrified of enduring pregnancy again, and I adore your refreshing and honest feelings about your second pregnancy. I waited but ended up loving my maternity clothes and wish I'd switched earlier, if and when we have number two I'm going to be in prego jeans within the first trimester! :-) I disagree about the photo, you are and look gorgeous.