“Your belly button, mama. What happened?” inquires my 2.5 year old, gently proding my protruding navel. “It is popped!” Yes, I tell her. It has popped. The result of an ever-growing belly that is rapidly reaching beach ball proportions way faster than it did the first time around. A changing body that I’ll admit I’ve become increasingly self-conscious about lately. So much so, that the images you see here nearly never saw the light of day…
“After this baby, I’m going to get ripped. Six pack, guns, the lot,” I tell the husband who is reassuring me (for the umpteenth time) that, no, my bum hasn’t got that much bigger. Try as I might though, each layer of myself, from the extra padding on my behind to the increased inches on my thighs has been personally heavily scrutinised. Surely I shouldn’t have a bump this big already? Surely I shouldn’t have put on that many kilos at this stage? How far is that woman along? Geez, only a month to go? I’m 26 weeks and she’s WAY smaller than me!!
The incessant negative talk has ramped up so much in my head over the last few weeks that I’ve managed to dig myself into a hole of annoyance. If you are nodding in agreement, then chances are you know that little voice all too well – it’s the one that asks you if you should really eat that piece of cake, or if you should really be skipping your yoga practice in favour of a nap today.
This very blog is an attempt to put all this to rest, for fear my pregnancy might pass me by in a cloud of self-criticism! This is for all the mums to be out there who are right now putting their bodies under the microscope and perhaps not totally liking what they see. This is for every pregnant lady who has secretly broken down in hormonal tears at a passing remark that their belly was HUGE, or the old question: “Are you sure you’re not expecting twins?” (Been there, bought the maternity t-shirt.)
So, here I am. Belly, butt, bigger boobs, jiggly thighs. This is me: I’m growing a baby, and if it’s anything like Molly (a 10 pound 8 ouncer) then I may as well accept that I am going to be an even bigger unit in the weeks to come! (Forget bun in the oven, think baker’s dozen and then add on some more.)
Yes, this is me and this time around things are not quite as easy, with a body that has already been through the motions and a toddler that doesn’t quite understand when mummy is feeling a bit wrecked. There’s a little bit more back pain, a lot more cellulite, less time for sleep, more stretch marks, sore boobs, a heavy body, less time for yoga, less leisurely laps of the pool, more chocolate consumed and way more junk in the trunk.
But as I write, I’m reminded of that simple quote: “Happiness is an inside job.” So here’s to changing our mindset. Embracing our growing bodies and the hugely important job they are doing. Here’s to cutting ourselves some slack, and heck, maybe even another piece of cake. Here’s to enjoying these magical moments of pregnancy, back ache and all.
As I finish this, I get a little thump inside as if to say: “Don’t worry mama, I’m here. That’s all that matters.”