As my husband put it the other day, I am now very pregnant. I’m 31 weeks, and I disagree a little in that compared to someone who’s full-term, I’m not quite THAT pregnant. But yes, at this point there is no hiding the bump.
It’s an interesting experience having my body change so rapidly. I think every woman must have some body image issues arise. Although I have my days when I appreciate the beauty of the process, I think it’s unsettling for most of us to be putting on weight, even when we know it’s normal and recommended. Since going Paleo, I had lost and kept off about 15 lbs, so there is something disturbing about going back up to that weight and exceeding it now. If a woman is a normal weight to begin with, she should gain 25-35 lbs total in her pregnancy (less if she is overweight or obese pre-pregnancy). Clearly the baby is only going to contribute so much to that, and you have a little contribution from the amniotic fluid, increased uterine size, etc. So really we all are getting a little chubbier than our norm. And I think that is unsettling for most of us.
Now, if I knew my body would go back to how it was pre-pregnancy, great. Seeing celebrities probably makes most women think that’s possible. But the reality is that my body will never be the same. As my husband marvels at my rapidly growing belly, he jokes about how did I let this happen to me? I fear stretch marks, and I already have some from previous weight gain. But many women get them on their abdomen with pregnancy. I think it’s likely genetic- I see some women who get to full term with pristine bellies, and others with a lot of stretch marks. After, many women just have some light marks left, but a few get permanently wrinkly skin. I have no idea how well the various stretch mark creams and oils help, but I have a feeling they only do so much. Ultimately the thing we have control over is not gaining excess weight in pregnancy. Beyond that, genetics will probably determine how bad the stretch marks will be. I don’t recall my mom having a lot of stretch marks on her abdomen, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And using some Ayurvedic anti-stretch mark oil for good measure.
This weekend, I started having a little more swelling of my feet, but I was also sitting in a car for long hours on the way to and from Tahoe. And eating more junk food than usual. So I thought that was why. Well this morning, I woke up and my right foot was quite swollen and my usual work clogs were tight. Thank goodness I did find some work-appropriate shoes that fit. But still, makes me feel so gross to have what my husband describes as Nutty Professor feet.
Add to the swelling the extra fatigue, a noticeably more uncomfortable abdomen, and the hot summer weather. For the first time today, I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable in general, and wonder if I’ll be able to work through my 36th week ok. I know it’s normal, but it is annoying to no longer be able to bend over comfortably to put lotion on my lower legs and such. Some of my colleagues had mentioned having to raise the exam table up really high to do pelvic exams. It’s funny, but true. We do a little hunching over on our stools to peer in for the Pap smears, and with a pregnant belly, it’s not as easy to do.
I’m realizing that the summer weather does not go well with the extra layers of maternity wear. Most maternity pants have the bands go up the whole abdomen. I’ve purchased some compression leggings, but haven’t been wearing them daily since that extra layer underneath my pants gets hot.
For the summer, I find that lightweight dresses are nice, since you don’t need that extra layer on the abdomen like with the maternity pants/shorts. But it can be tough to find cute stuff. I personally find the more fitted dresses to be more flattering. I don’t mind showing off the bump, and frankly the looser fitting dresses just make me look fat and like I’m trying to hide something.
As this parasite further takes over my body, I’m desperately trying to hold onto my positive body image. Not easy when you have huge sausage feet! Elevating one’s feet is a good thought in theory, but not so easy when you have things to do, and at night you can’t sleep on your back.