This Momma is Full of Baby
So it’s Sunday morning and my pregnancy with my second child continues. I am 38 weeks and 3 days along, this baby can arrive any time now. I am full-term. I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m guessing that his baby belly is worth about thirty, maybe thirty-five extra pounds that my body is not used to carrying. I feel good – ready to bring this new life into the world whenever she’s ready to make her debut. I’m ready to be done with this pregnancy at this point, which is common among full-term Mommas. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s also really uncomfortable to be this full of baby.
The Grand Undertaking That Is Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a grand undertaking. Never mind how the changes in a women’s physiology may impact her mood, her ability to function in her day-to-day life, but growing a baby is challenging, especially when that baby is a few months to a few days away from being born. It’s not uncommon for other humans (likely meaning no offense, with good intentions) to simply point at a pregnant woman’s every present belly and state the obvious “You’re getting big!”
Yeah, no shit Sherlock. We know. We’re aware. We’re supposed to look like this.
What The Problem Is…
Soooo….what’s the issue? Well, I’ve had to explore this on my own because I wasn’t clear on why it bothers me. I mean, it’s true. I am bigger, I’m carrying a baby. Growing healthy babies require some weight gain (an average of 25-35 lbs is ideal) from healthy Moms, preferably by way of a diet comprised of whole foods, lots of water, and regular movement. So why does a well-meaning person stating the obvious – “You’re getting big!” cause my face to burn?
My answer – latent body self-esteem issues that have mostly resolved (with a ton of self-care and deposits into the positive body image bank) seem to spring to the surface. And in the moment when someone tells me that I’m getting big, I don’t feel good in my skin. I feel like I’m on display, vulnerable, and dare I say it…that I look fat.
What Other Preggos Think
I’ve spoken to many other women – I’m sort of surrounded by pregnant people and Moms whose children reside outside of their bodies in my professional life. Most of these women agree, when someone says “you’re getting big” it doesn’t land well. One Momma stated that “you’re getting big” stopped being a compliment when she was 10-years-old.
In exploring this (maybe silly to you) notion a bit further, I’ve discovered (and experienced) that pregnancy can be a challenging time for women in different ways – it’s a time when everything is changing at a rapid pace, especially for first time Moms. It’s one of the most vulnerable times a women may experience. So it really should come as no surprise that pregnancy is a time when women really need encouraging, thoughtful words to bolster their confidence as they (and their families) navigate all of the uncharted territory that results from the time they find out they’re expecting to beyond birth when their whole life gets turned inside out by a beautiful, albeit constantly needy tiny human.
What The Preggos Need
Focusing on the obvious growth that is happening between the collar and hip bones of a pregnant woman can be triggering for her if she is overwhelmed by all of the changes happening in her body and her life. This overwhelm may not be constant, but it is does make regular appearances throughout this journey for many women.
Pregnant women need to feel less like they are on display and more asked how they are doing, if they need anything, and if an observation is to be made – make it one that comes from a place of love, warmth, and kindness. Examples – You look beautiful. You’re glowing. I’m so proud of you, you’re really rocking this pregnancy thing. You, yes you have the opportunity to make this pregnant person in your life feel special because she is all things special. She’s taking on one of the greatest, most remarkable challenges she will ever take on as a human being and her current shape and size is really the very least of it.
Featured Image / Caricature by Justin Swimm