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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Body Image

A few of you have requested pics of me to see how pregnant I look, and I haven't posted any so far because, frankly, I don't look very pregnant yet. But I figure that it may be nice to have a reminder of what I looked like at the end of my first trimester; because 6 months from now, I'll likely resemble a beach ball more than my former self. So here is a side view: And a front view:
I must admit that I feel like a doofus in these pics; clearly, I have no idea what to do with my arms, so they're just kinda hanging down by my sides, and I can't help but think that my grin looks like I'm suffering from a turd in my pants. But no matter my criticisms of my ability to pose, the pics serve their purpose, and this is what I look like right now at 12 and 1/2 weeks preggo.

Granted, I don't look "pregnant" per se, but I definitely feel "thick" about the middle, and personally, when I look at these two pics, I see just a smidgen of pudge about the middle that I could swear wasn't there 3 months ago. But...I think I may be judging myself with a more critical eye than anyone else.

According to the Mayo Clinic's "Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy," the above is all accurate for women in their first trimester who are pregnant with their first child. The uterus still fits inside the pelvis, so no thickening in the middle is due to the baby's growth at this point, but the book re-affirms that most women feel or look a little thicker in the middle due to the slight weight gain so far. The book says, "You've probably gained about 2 lbs at this point," and I'd have to say that's probably about right. I had gained 1 lbs according to my doctor appointment on the 7th, and last week, I hadn't shown any gain since then; but, I haven't weighed myself since last week. So yeah, somewhere around 2 lbs seems right.

The whole feeling-but-not-looking-pregnant is weird at this point. I know I am pregnant, but it's strange to not yet look it, as though it's still not entirely real yet. And when I tell people, where's the first place they look? My belly. And then their first comment? "You don't look pregnant!" My reply? "Well, I feel pregnant!"

However, I know this is all gonna change. No matter how small I may be now, I am going to get bigger. So how am I adjusting to the thought of those changes?

I'd be lying to you if I said I was completely at peace with them.

I know that there are women who gladly surrender their pre-pregnancy bodies to the swelling of their growing bellies (and thighs, and boobs, and whatever else expands) with glee. They are selfless in thinking about how the changes they are experiencing are all for the good of the baby, and they happily concede that their bodies are no longer their own.

But I am not that woman.

Yes, I am practical about it: I know that getting bigger and fatter is for the baby's, and my own, good; I also know that the changes to my pregnant body are inevitable; and I also know that pregnancy is not a permanent state and that eventually I will have my body back (kind of). However, that doesn't mean the changes don't frighten me some. I mean, this has been solely my body for 30 years, and I've kinda gotten used to it the way it is. It's not perfect by any means, it has its flaws, but I like it just the way it is. Therefore, the thought of it changing and growing is, honestly, scary. Especially because I know it will, most likely, never be the same again after childbirth.

But on the other hand, I have a pretty positive body image that's based mostly on how I perceive the strength and health of my body. I know what it's capable of doing for me, and I value it primarily because of its abilities. So based on this knowledge, I understand that while my body will change, its strength and vitality won't diminish. If this body can run a marathon, then it can do anything. So in that sense, I'm curious, interested, and even excited about the forthcoming changes that it has in store for me, and most importantly, I know that I have the kind of good health that can carry a healthy baby to term.

This kind of duplicity of emotion seems to be a reigning factor in all aspects of pregnancy so far: excited/scared, happy/anxious, relaxed/stressed. It's like living with a split personality! But whatever mixture of emotions I'm dealing with on a daily (hourly) basis, I do think that running helps ground those emotions, and in terms of dealing with the changes my body is undergoing, running helps remind me what I am capable of, what highs I can achieve even when I don't feel good, and it helps remind me of my strength and ability.

So enough talk for today, I think I'll go run now.

30 comments:

Kita said...

You look awesome. You have a great attitude about your pregnancy.

kristen said...

Very well said. I have never been pregnant, but I would imagine I would have all the same thoughts/concerns/feelings you have. You are going to be one of those adorable pregnant girls that I always say, "I hope I look that good when I'm prgnant." Can't wait to see more pics as your baby grows.

Mrs. K said...

you look adorable. (Great lamp by the way)...I got thick in the middle first and didn't 'pop' out until I was in my 5th or 6th month...it was like it happened overnight.

And your body will probably be the same because of your running so no need to be worried

SJ Goody said...

Your pics are so cute. You definitely look fit as ever. ;) And, I hear you on this post. I am so excited to get the bump... but also petrified because once you start showing, you just keep growing. HAH! But, exercise is definitely clutch. And, it is all worth it! :)

Carolina John said...

cute pics. you'll get the pregnancy bump going before too long.

AnthonyP said...

You look great !

Marcy said...

You look cute!

You will bounce back just fine (especially after the first. It's the ones that are after that are the most trouble LOL) :-)

Marlene said...

You look great and have a very healthy attitude.

Ted said...

I was more fascinated with the ceiling lights than your belly. Just kidding !!! Bring me back memories when my wife was going through pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the feet, they expand also.

Lily on the Road said...

Look at You!!! You're glowing!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

You look cute now. I think pregnant women are beautiful in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters. And I really think you will feel beautiful when you start showing right up until the end. At that point, you will probably just feel huge.

Crystal said...

It will be fun to watch you turn into a little beach ball. Just think, your bowling shirt probably won't fit by the time league is done!

Alison said...

I've gained 2-3 pounds so far (I'm 13 weeks 3 days), but I feel HUGE!!! My pants stopped fitting around week 6, and since I refuse to buy maternity clothes yet (still that weird superstition that something will go wrong) I am rubber-banding my fly. ::sigh::

I have to admit - between the nausea, the bloating, the exhaustion, the paranoia and the aches and pains, I am really looking forward to getting this 9 months over with! I know some women who love being pregnant, but I don't think I'm one of them! :)

teacherwoman said...

Great post. Cute pics!

Nikki said...

Ditto! You said it all so nicely - I'm feeling exactly the same things as you. Enjoy the changes as they come though I guess, everyone tells me it all goes by so quickly.

MCM Mama said...

You look great! While the changes are pretty major as you get farther along, they do happen fairly slowly, so you get used to them as they happen. And as you said, it's temporary, especially with the first.

Erin said...

It is normal for you to wonder, wish, fear all those changes. You are in good health so you will return a pretty darn close replica to your current (pre-preggo) state; if not better.

My tummy-not the same but it wasn't in prime time shape to begin with. I am ok with no bikinis from here on out. It's a public service in my opinion.

My boobs-not perky but still big. Damn, why couldn't they shrink to a normal perky state?

The Running Knitter said...

Great pics. You are glowing!

Anonymous said...

Loving the pregnancy posts! I'm intrigued to see what comes next in this detailed journey! Keeps us non-oreggers in the know :)
-Meg

Shannon said...

I think your cute as a button! I can't wait for the beach ball photos, maybe I'll share mine wit ya.

Erik said...

It's all that running you're doing!! Great job.

I'm looking in the background of your pic, laughing at the stuff on that shelf.

That's so not going to be there when the little one gets home. I bet a year from now that shelf is either empty or full of toys. :)

I so remember those days!

E

Amanda said...

You look great, can't wait to see the big belly pics. Thanks for sharing with us all!

Brooke said...

You look fantastic! And I am sure that your running will have you bouncing back really fast. I have read that women who maintain their exercise during pregnancy have a much easier time ridding the baby weight. And I'm sure eating right helps too....when my mom was pregnant with me in the 70s doctors advised women to be careful with their weight gain (unlike today where it seems to be a free for all!) and stick to 20-30 pounds...my mom followed a healthy appropriate diet and left the hospital in her pre-preggo jeans! Of course genetics and a million other factors come into play there, but I think your lifestyle will have you back in your bikinis in no time!

aron said...

great post jess!!! i know A LOT of what you said are things that cross my mind ALL the time when i think about having kids. you have a great attitude and are going to be such a great mom :)

X-Country2 said...

Great pics and even better post. This will most certainly get saved for when I become pregnant and have the same body-changing thoughts.

Viv said...

Jess, you look so cute as always!! The thing through the middle was not there before but hello how the hell do u stay so cute??? Beach ball you will not be I gurantee it.

Shannon said...

I think you look adorable in the pics! I do hate to confirm your fears that your body will never quite go back to normal, but it is so true. I have noticed the oddest things that are different post-pregnancy. The good thing is you honestly don't care anymore at that point! :)

Betsy said...

I will admit, I struggled with the feelings that my body was completely transformed- and was no longer my own, both when I was pregnant and after the little man was born. It's not easy. But you know what made it all better again? You guessed it... RUNNING.

You look great, and you will be fine.

Laurel said...

This is a perfect post.