I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to share belly shots openly. I have been taking them all along, as evidenced on the Egghead page, but I couldn’t seem to post them.
I have to be honest: as a plus-sized woman, I had some rather vain moments worrying about what my pregnant shape would be, thinking I’d never escape that B-shaped belly or thinking I would simply never look pregnant, just fatter. I have battled weight issues most of my life, and while I had lost a bit of weight in recent years to make myself healthier for pregnancy, I’m still a plus-sized girl.
Pregnancy brings up all kinds of unusual body image issues, but oddly enough, I kind of like my pregnant body. I like my belly and its definite C shape. Somehow, I feel like I got lucky, and I guess I did since I like my shape, but it saddens me that in my mind there was just one pregnant ideal because there isn’t. Pregnant bodies are beautiful; they simply are.
Still, I hate that body image issues can follow one into this sacred time. I get so angry with msyelf for hating the enormity of my breasts or for too closely critiquing my arms or thighs, and yet I still do it. J recently took a photo of me fresh out of the shower, and I nearly cried looking at it. All I could see was this large naked woman, and all she saw was an embodiment of a fertility goddess. I didn’t see a pregnant woman at all, and I wanted that photo gone. I saved it though because there is some beauty in it. I often have to do this: I have to stop myself from erasing images that show me who I am, what I look like because it isn’t healthy, and I know this. I don’t want to pass these sorts of behaviors on to my children, but just as important, I don’t want to continue harboring these occasional feelings of self-loathing simply because I don’t fit some “ideal” of what a woman, pregnant or otherwise, should look like.
It should come as no surprise that I’m oddly proud that I haven’t gained any weight during my pregnancy. In fact, I have lost two pounds. This has not been intentional; it just seems to be how my body handles pregnancy. What I am more proud of, though, is that my old food issues haven’t been issues at all. I generally eat what I want to eat and when I want to eat. The key is that I eat real foods, healthy foods all the time. I have an occasional ice cream indulgence, and we had some evil kettle chips in our house last week (something we indulge in maybe three times a year), but otherwise, I am eating very well (and exercising regularly), and am just amazed that my body is taking in these nutrients, feeding my baby, growing my belly and breasts–while at the same time shrinking my ass. I find myself marveling at this body that is so familiar in some ways and so unfamiliar in others. This same body I have battled with for years is now a body I love, and I’m looking forward to the changes it will undergo in the next few months.
Following the birth of our son, I’m sure to encounter a whole new set of challenges and revelations involving body image, but I’m looking forward to it. For me, pregnancy feels like a fresh start on this body and my feelings about it; I just hope to keep this up.
And without further ado, here are my 22-week belly shots (also posted on the Egghead page):