Thursday, April 9, 2015
thoughts on pregnancy (rethinking beautiful)
Fact: Victoria's Secret does not sell maternity or nursing bras/clothes. Fact: pregnancy, birth, and motherhood involve lots of stretching and bodily fluids. Fact: I am the heaviest I've been in my whole life and my abdomen is covered in stretch marks.
I've decided that no matter what my family, friends, and husband tell me to the contrary, I am not currently beautiful -- at least not in the way that society would define beautiful. I'm bloated, swollen, stretchy, heavy, and creaky. I have a double chin, I can't fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes, my feet have started popping out of my shoes, and I can't touch my toes. I'm getting ready to push a six to nine pound baby out of an opening that's currently less than one centimeter wide. Following that, some of my sexiest lady parts will be used for feeding and keeping a baby alive. None of these things would get me on the cover of Vogue or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
But part of me also trusts my family, friends, and husband when they say I'm beautiful. They genuinely see a glowing in my face, my body, my general presence right now. And in my better moments, I do too.
I kind of love my roundness and my big belly. It means that my little baby is growing and developing and is warm and cozy and safe. I even kind of love my extra weight because I know it's my body's way of helping to get me ready for breastfeeding. I love how happy I look in pictures from my showers and with friends and family.
These things make me feel beautiful in a completely new way.
I'm beautiful because I'm happy. I'm beautiful because I'm creating a new little life 24/7. I'm beautiful because my body is preparing me to be a mother. I'm beautiful because of a new energy that comes from the excitement of embarking on a huge adventure.
Relatedly -- I also trust mothers when they say there's a kind of beauty to birth as well. Yes, I know birth involves pain, potential tearing, LOTS of bodily fluids, and even sometimes scary complications. But birth also involves bringing a new life into the world, and I think that in itself is beautiful. During labor, I'll get to journey with my husband and trust and rely on him for support. I'll get to surrender to my body's instincts in a deeper way than I ever have before. I'll get to meet my little baby for the first time, and we'll all begin bonding as a family. That to me all sounds extremely beautiful.
I don't think someone needs to be skinny, perfectly symmetrical, or airbrushed to be beautiful. And I don't think an event needs to be clean, tidy, or without pain and challenges to be beautiful. Being pregnant has made me rethink my perception of myself, and I'm glad I've had the opportunity to rethink how, when, and why I feel beautiful.