As of tomorrow, I will officially be six months pregnant with baby #2. I realized when a friend mentioned it today that I’ve written very little about this pregnancy so far, outside of a few updates on all the scares we’ve had along the way. It makes me sad to think that the gift of this baby-so-unlikely has been overshadowed by the all the worries and anxieties, but in so many ways that’s true. Which I think is due in large part to the complicationswe’ve had so far, but also to the negative reactions that seem to plague this pregnancy.
Let me explain.
When I was pregnant with Chase, I was expecting (to most people’s knowledge) for the first time, I had that glow of first time pregnancy and the news of Chase’s impending arrival was much heralded. I was at ease with my changing body, I couldn’t wait to start showing and I even enjoyed strangers’ excited belly rubs (for the most part.) I was well-rested, focused completely on growing a healthy baby and surrounded by a bubble of positive energy at home and at work. I don’t want to paint it as all sunshine and rainbows, but it was a pretty smooth ten months overall.
This time around, I feel like I’m floundering in many ways. I am not nearly as comfortable with the physical changes and I have much less time to devote to gazing lovingly at my belly and planning for the baby within. I’m tired, distracted and, half the time, I forget I’m even pregnant until I catch a glimpse of my protruding belly in the bathroom mirror at 4 am.
But I’m happy. So incredibly ecstatic that this baby is still here to call my own. Five months ago, I didn’t think I would get that chance and I try not to let a day go by without acknowledging what a miracle it is that I’m still pregnant. Unfortunately, my positive energy bubble seems to have popped everywhere but at home.
For one, since I am accompanied by my son 99% of the time when I’m out in public, strangers can’t help but size up his age and my belly and deem that I’m either A) Crazy B) Brave (which is a euphemism for crazy) or C) Going to have my hands full very soon. All of which are true, but get old when they’re parroted at you 20 times a day instead of a simple “Congratulations.” The reactions seem a little disjointed when compared to the excitement so many people expressed when I was pregnant with Chase just 14 months ago.
Also, as I mentioned, I’ve had a harder time adjusting to the physical changes this time around. As expected, I began showing a lot earlier and my belly has swelled to much bigger proportions. Many days, I’m too busy to care or consider the changes much. But others–like when I’m trying to dress my body for a special occasion or I find myself recycling the same maternity top for the third time in a week–I start to feel that old twinge of discomfort. Though my eating disorder symptoms have been dormant for many, many years, they tend to flare up when I don’t have control over my body, as is the case now.
I want so very badly to be above all of that because the gift of this child should categorically trump any and all body image issues, but I’ll admit it’s not always easy to keep that in mind. The thing I struggle with most is hearing other people talk about my body as if their commentary doesn’t bother me. “Oh, you’re much bigger this time,” “Look how much wider she is from behind,” “You must be having a girl. You know they steal your beauty.” Last week, two women openly tsked at my pregnant belly when I got off the bike in front of them at spin class; I guess they thought I’d be better suited for lying on the couch eating bonbons than working out. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I suppose.
But I’m trying to remember that this is my baby, my body, my pregnancy. I have the good fortune to be able to conceive and carry a child within me and also to live in an area of the world where I can make all of my own choices concerning those matters. And if I am able to drown out the noise surrounding me, I’ll be doing just fine. Sometimes easier said than done, but I’m forever a work-in-progress.
That said, this online community of OMTA mamas has been unbelievably, over-the-top supportive of me and of this pregnancy and, for that, I am truly thankful. You guys keep me positive and grateful every day, even when I’m feeling like I want to throat-punch someone in my real life. So thanks for being you and for celebrating baby #2 the way he deserves. It means the world to me.