(Happy Valentine’s Day to my poor husband, who will likely be mortified by this post).
So, here’s the deal. I’m 33 weeks pregnant, and complaining a lot…like, a lot a lot. I can’t sleep. I can’t tie my shoes. I can’t unload groceries without huffing and puffing, and I certainly can’t fold a load of laundry without noticing pain in my hands. My doctor is now telling me that I can’t even carry my toddler around as I’m being monitored for high blood pressure. I feel like a total loser. A great big, puffy one.
Which leads me to this post. My tell-all entry about being pregnant. For me. My pregnancy, uncensored. I decided to write this because misery loves company….wait, no, that’s not why. I decided to write this because, in response to being asked how I was doing the other day, I heard myself telling my neighbors, “While I adore nothing more than being a mom (which is totally and completely true), I do not enjoy being pregnant.” I realized that I kind of cringed after that truth came spilling out of my mouth, and ever since, have been obsessing over what they must think of me. – The ol’ curmudgeon across the street who doesn’t recognize a miracle when it’s growing right inside of her. Surely, there are other women out there who can relate, right?
Let me assure you, I do appreciate the miracle. Honestly. Like I said, I love being a mom. It’s a role that I truly believe I was created for. When people say it’s not the destination, but the journey – I say BARF. And, I say, that doesn’t apply to pregnancy. For me. In my world, the destination of motherhood is hatching babies right outta my body….celebrating like hell when the 40 week journey comes to an end. In fact, when I was pregnant with DJ, I had an OBGYN tell me that I “wasn’t good at being pregnant.” Back then, in the midst of my 36th week of hormonal and ballooning bliss, I was devastated. Today, I’d probably buy her a drink for being so spot-on with her honesty. I just wish she would have padded that truth with, “…and that’s OK. You’ll still be a wonderful mother.”
And I am.
Anyhow, I thought I’d share some totally uncensored (which means I didn’t use filters to make things pretty) documentation on where things currently stand with my body. Anyone who knows me, knows that I find my humor in self deprecation – and my very identity in my insecurities. So, posting photos of my seemingly flawed figure is a big, big deal for me. Do I want a little credit for being so brave? You betcha. Do I want this post to give other women some freedom? Um, yeah, that’s why I’m taking this bold step.
Without further adieu….
Filter (Me, but totally not real life. This is the lens that I often try to spin on my entire pregnancy for fear of judgment should I tell the truth):
Now, no filter (REAL, no makeup) – and EXHIBIT ONE - Bags under my eyes:
From lack of sleep, and lack of energy to use concealer. Terrifying.
Why can’t I sleep? Because my hips and lower back are hosting an inferno, my groin feels like the stretched rubber band part of loaded slingshot, and my pubic bone feels like the San Andreas Fault – splitting, slowly.
EXHIBIT TWO – Pregnancy Mask:
Areas of darkened skin, commonly called the “pregnancy mask.” My already sun-damaged skin is taking full advantage of this pregnancy-induced novelty. For those of you concerned, don’t be. I have these spots checked regularly, and while super ugly – they’re harmless. Pregnancy just “enhances” them. Lucky me.
EXHIBIT THREE – Darkened Areolas:
My breasts. Ok, ok – so the photos below aren’t actually my breasts, but they’re pretty close to the real thing. I think my husband was being really generous when he referred to “them” as Ginger Snaps. Ginger snaps? I’d take that shade of brown. More accurately, I’d call them chocolate-coated puppy dog ears – Dark, droopy and as pathetic as the look on this Basset Hound’s sweet face.
EXHIBIT FOUR – The “Popped” Belly Button:
Because this hot mess is located smack in the center of my protruding belly, I trust that it’s my belly button (Good news: No stretch marks). My belly button never popped with DJ, so this has been a fun focal point in our household as of late (And by fun, I mean somewhat humiliating).
EXHIBIT FIVE – Swelling and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Hands. Notice there is no wedding ring on the left hand? Yeah, had to take that off a few weeks ago. Doctor’s orders, actually. “You should probably take that off before you can’t take that off.” It’s kind of a big blow to the ego when you can’t even qualify for a hand-modeling career.
The swelling, along with fluid retention, is also bringing on a mean case of pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome. YAY!
EXHIBIT SIX – Cellulite and PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy):
Who basted my thighs in Swiss cheese? Hello world – this is my cellulite. It’s gorgeous, yeah? Horrifying. Why is there a cellulite increase during pregnancy? Basically, cellulite is a build up of fat deposits. When you gain weight (as every woman does during pregnancy), the fat cells under your skin become bigger and create the orange peel look on your body.
The itchy, red, raised eruptions of pimply skin (PUPPP) just adds texture to the already raised-relief map of my body (and don’t let the use of the word “relief” fool you).
EXHIBIT SEVEN – Swollen, Neglected Feet:
Little piggies in desperate need of a pedicure. Only I don’t have time. Because I have a two year old who senses change is coming and cannot be without me for more than five minutes. I should paint them myself, you say? Yeah, of course I should – but I can’t. I can’t bend over to reach them. Thank you. Which is a travesty since I am getting to the point where flip-flops are becoming my only option.
And the swelling? Like in my hands, it’s call Edema — that’s when excess fluid collects in your tissue. It’s normal to have a certain amount of swelling during pregnancy because you’re retaining more water.
EXHIBIT EIGHT – Hives:
Unfortunately, I already deleted the photographic evidence of this lovely pregnancy-induced phenomenon. So, sorry, nothing gnarly to look at for this one.
Pregnancy hives are caused by the incredible amount of change your body is undergoing throughout your pregnancy. Basically, your body may perceive these changes as unknown and foreign, causing your immune system to release large amounts of histamine into your blood in hopes of correcting whatever is going on. This histamine release causes hives to appear. So, so pretty and comfortable.
Now, those of you who know me know that I always try really hard to find a silver lining. And, considering the disturbing photos above, you might think it impossible to find the good through all of the ugly – but here it is. These are war wounds. While not exactly pretty, they tell a beautiful story. A story of life, of unconditional love, of regretless sacrifice, and of the power in being included in a miracle much greater than we can comprehend.
While admitting to moments of misery, and the deep, deep desperation to reach my due date, I don’t take the responsibility of child-bearing lightly. I do realize that all of these physical changes are nothing short of extraordinary. The fact that the female body is able to absorb all of these changes, only to later “bounce back,” is a miracle in and of itself. We are fantastic creatures – heroic, strong, and able.
However, Ladies, it’s OK to find the nausea (which I didn’t picture above – you’re welcome), the exhaustion, the skin changes, swelling, discomfort, etc. totally annoying. It’s OK to admit that the pregnancy itself isn’t your favorite part of the journey. Admitting those things doesn’t negate your awareness of the wonder happening within you. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your children with your entire being. It doesn’t mean you’ll harbor resentment toward your kids. It doesn’t mean you’ll be a bad mom. And, it certainly doesn’t mean that you lack an appreciation for the process. Don’t let anyone tell you to “just be thankful.” You are, undoubtedly, basking in gratitude for the blessing. You’re just doing so authentically.
And, if you’re one of those rare women who never experience a single pregnancy symptom, and just love being pregnant – then you should have like 12 babies! You are amazing, and I envy your experience.
With all that said, here’s the ultimate truth. No matter which way you slice it – pregnancy is, without a doubt: