Yesterday was an exciting day; it marked 12 weeks of Baby No.4 (who checked out wiggly – are you surprised?- and awesome at my OB appt. on Thursday) which in turn marked the start of said babe’s Belly Watch. It is also the start of me doing some serious work on myself (attitudes/tendencies of thought) and being, in my own way, extremely brave when it comes to my issues with body/self perception.
I have been working on the body image stuff for a while now and have written about it from time to time on the blog, but right now everything feels heightened (probably because it is by all these crazy pregnancy hormones racing through my body right now). I want so very much to be okay with my size and shape, and you would think that being pregnant would be some sort of free pass on all that, but that’s never been the case for me. I may have taken a stomach exposing picture of weeks 12-40(ish) of each baby but that does not mean it has been easy for me to do or share.
Last time, with Lincoln, I spent a lot of time feeling and being very self-critical of how I looked, and worse, very susceptible to the comments of others, which as we all know, come without invitation and usually without any sort of filter, either. I also felt a growing (pun intended) anxiety over potential comparison, both of my own belly to that of other mamas-to-be, and to myself as well. I was so busy wondering if people might think I looked fat or awful or waaaay bigger than ever before that I missed an opportunity to just enjoy the miracle of growing a person and all that physically accompanies such work.
So why do it again if it caused so much anguish in the past? It’s not like Baby No.4 is really going to care if his/her bump was ever displayed on Mama’s Facebook page, right? Well probably not, but right now this ventures feels as much about me as it does Baby. This is about finding that place of comfort and acceptance in my own skin, no matter how big my belly gets, and trust me, it’s much bigger at 12 weeks than ever before, but see? There’s that icky little comparison game again that I’ve got to stop doing. There are a handful (and more) reasons why I might be bigger at this point this time around than ever before. But much as I can rationalize it, it still doesn’t matter if I can’t accept it, and that’s why I will be doing a fourth public belly watch – because I want public accountability of embracing and loving whatever comes. It doesn’t mean I am fishing for compliments and it doesn’t mean that people still won’t say less-than-thoughtful comments; it means that I will continue to find positive things about myself and the pregnancy to share each week and will be brave in learning to detach from what, if anything, is said about the photos.
And on that note, I share with you, Week 12 of Baby No.4’s Belly Watch: a bump that for the first time ever, has not lost weight in the first trimester because I have not been sick. Not even once! How could I not celebrate a belly like that?!