Friday, August 31, 2007

Confessions of a beached whale

You know how once you get a new life experience, you sometimes realize what an asshole you've been all of your life? What, that doesn't happen to you? Well, erm, that's embarrassing then.

When it comes to most things relating to fertility and reproduction, I think I've always been on solid ground. I am positive that I never in my pre-infertility life told anyone infertile to "just adopt", and I know for sure that I have ALWAYS given my subway seat to pregnant women, and insisted that they go ahead of me in the bathroom line. However, I actually only recently realized that saying "you're huge!" to a pregnant woman isn't the heart and soul of courtesy. I am fairly certain that I have enthusiastically gushed about the tremendous size of the bellies of several of my pregnant friends in the past, and now consider myself fortunate that nobody ever actually slapped me upside the head. I meant it in the nicest possible way, I swear. I LOVE big pregnant bellies, and think they're gorgeous, so it never really occurred to me that people might not like having theirs pointed out. It wasn't until a pregnant friend complained to me about people saying that she was huge that I realized that this comment could possibly be interpreted in a different way. Sometimes I'm a little slow.

The other day, Nina's post in which she discussed her feelings about being called "fatty" because of her pregnant belly, made me think about how my feelings about this issue have and have not changed with my own pregnancy. Here's what I came up with:

Being a bit hormonal, I am even more mortified than ever that my comments might have made my gorgeous friends feel anything less than wonderful about themselves and their bodies at a time when they may have been feeling fragile. On the other hand, I don't mind a bit if people point out that I am huge. You know why? Because I AM huge. Enormous. Gargantuan. I can't believe that I'm already this big at not-quite 30 weeks. Having an enormous belly does create many logistical and emotional issues. I can't sleep, it's hard to negotiate small spaces, and hauling this thing around is no picnic either. I'm also worried about stretch marks, sagging muscles, etc. However, when people comment on my size, I nonetheless take it as a compliment. Because I'm not fat, I'm pregnant, dammit, and I refuse to conflate the two in my mind. Mystery has no such compunction, and has taken to calling me a name that translates roughly to "fatty" as a pet name. I suppose that I should be offended, but really I'm not. It actually annoys me more when people say "you're not that big", because given how supersized I actually am, it's obvious that they're lying, which makes it clear that THEY think that being huge is a bad thing. I'd rather that people just said "you're huge, and so cute!" That way I can at least pretend that they're being honest in both parts of the sentence.

Maybe one of the reason that being pregnant doesn't make me feel fat relates to my prepregnancy body shape. I've always been a curvy girl. I have big round boobs, have until recently had a small waist, and then a big old butt. I've described it as a J Lo ass in previous posts, but to be honest, my ass looks like it ate J Lo for lunch. It's not a fat thing, it's just the way I am. Losing weight doesn't help. Surprisingly enough, men seem to love it, but the fashion industry does not. I've always had trouble finding trousers that have enough space for my arse, but have a small enough waist that you can't look straight down the back. For the last few years, with the "low rise" trend, it's been even worse. Pants that look great from the front don't have enough fabric to make it all the way around the curve in the back, leaving several inches of crack flapping in the breeze. So, while I have plenty of body issues, my body issues don't relate to my belly.

Being pregnant has made only three discernible changes to my body shape. First, my boobs got bigger. Then my belly got huge. Now I am sporting a rather impressive set of cankles. Well, I could do without the cankles, but two out of three ain't bad. My butt actually looks small now, in comparison with Mt. Eggbert in the front, and maternity pants fit great! So, while I realize that I'm likely to start puffing up in strange places in the next 10 weeks, I'm actually pretty happy with the way that I look right now, at least above the knee (and below the neck--am I the only one with pregnancy-related frizz issues?)

Still, I'll never call another pregnant woman huge again. Even though I embrace the term, I do feel like an idiot for missing the boat on this issue for so many years.

In other news, I'm still having heartburn, and I never sleep anymore, but otherwise, I'm doing well. I am beginning to realize that the last trimester is going to be a bit of an uphill slog as my weight increases and basic functions become more difficult, but still think that so far I've been pretty lucky. Last week I asked my doctor how long she'd let me go if Eggbert is overdue, and she said only 1 week, so at the MOST I have only 11 weeks and four days to go. Hopefully my luck can hold out for that long.


Tinker said...

I love my huge pregnant belly because when I'm not pregnant, it's on my belly that I carry my weight. Now at least, I have a great excuse for everything to stick out!

As for pants not fitting well, I'm in the same boat with a different problem. When I find pants that fit my butt appropriately, they're painfully tight around the waist. If I select a pair that fits at the waist, you might think I had chosen to wear a parachute over my hips and thighs. We just can't win, can we?

AshPash said...

Oh, Sara, I am just sure I have said the same thing to a good friend at one time or another. I cannot imagine NOT loving hearing that...but I have never made it far enough into pregnancy to actually have a huge anything! I bet you DO look cute and how wonderful that you are the size you are hosting that precious life.

Marie-Baguette said...

Good for you! I am so glad everything is going well! I used to be sort of proud that I was not that huge (everybody kept telling me I was small) until the 8th month when it was obvious I was really small and the doctors discovered the baby had stopped growing. Even though I had gained plenty of weight, I felt terrible. People continued to congratulate me on being small and every time I would explain it was an issue because the baby was too small... I guess you can't win! Re: your induction at 41 weeks, I find it weird since ON AVERAGE first born babies are born at 41 weeks. Good luck with everything

Lut C. said...

I'm not huge, as far as I can tell, and I'm a little bit concerned.

You can't please everyone, some will be happy to hear it, others won't. And mostly it will depend on the person's mood.

I'm glad you're feeling good about how you look.

Each time my husband calls me 'fatty', I tell him that's another extra dirty diaper he's changing in my stead. :-)

Sarah said...

that's nothing, my experience with a new life lesson teaching me what an asshole i've been is the awful feeling regret i have when i remember that i told my sister in law she could always try again after her miscarriage. i was 20, no clue, but still.

besides, pregnant women, as you know, are so used to hearing how huge they are from everyone, no one will even remember you said it. and it doesn't bother me either, except for the people who feel compelled to exclaim i couldn't POSSIBLY be only X weeks along, or SURELY it must be twins!