When I first told my best friend I was pregnant, it was in a text message. Looking back, some of this mess might have been avoided if I’d waited until we were together. I’m not sure what she expected to see when we finally got together, but her first words were, “wow, you’re not showing at all.”
She meant it as a compliment. I eat healthy, and exercise regularly, which has resulted in a somewhat desirable body type. The body type, however, that was desirable is not desirable now that I’m pregnant. I want that bump that shows a strong healthy baby growing inside.
It seems, however, that gaining weight will never be acceptable. That I should be proud that my body did not immediately swell up.
She was saying I was lucky. Just as I feel women who don’t suffer morning sickness are lucky, she thought my lack of weight gained was lucky. As if my whole life my body type was just a lucky fluke, and it was continuing into pregnancy.
My friend has never commented on my weight before, and it threw me off.
I decided not to worry about ungained weight, since I was only 12 weeks, and laughed off the comment. What I didn’t realize at that moment was that being pregnant opens a whole lot of people up to making comments on how your body looks.
At 15 weeks, a friend sent me a photo of how she looked at 14 weeks. She had a belly. Not huge, but you could see it. And I was still flat. I looked in the mirror and was disappointed in the slight sculpt to my abs that had once been a source of pride.
Another friend asked me, “when are you going to start showing?” How do you answer that? ‘Next Tuesday, at 6pm.’ I began to feel guilty by my lack of belly, and the onslaught of loving and concerned family and friends.
I have never in my life felt so concerned with the appearance of my body. I don’t want to gain too much weight and be unhealthy, but I want to gain the weight as soon as possible. I’ve been obsessing over fats, folic acid, and protein. And every other bite of food I have. I’ve checked the scale, and recommended weight gains almost every day.
Now a perfect body, although just as unattainable, correlates to the health of your child and your ability to be a mother. It’s overwhelming. And it’s there for the world to judge.
I will continue my attempts to eat healthy (although cravings for McDonald’s French fries and cherry pop-tarts have not helped). I will allow my body to be the way it is, and try to shake off the odd compliment and probing question.
I’m worried to be a first time mom, and although I know I should stop overthinking off hand comments, they can really get under my skin. Before being pregnant, I was told it’s rude to mention someone’s weight to them in most situations. Nobody told me how different it is once you’re pregnant.
When most people talk about the female body, and all its ideal types, pregnancy is overlooked. Pregnant women feel unattractive when they gain weight and start to show, but guilty when we don’t. It’s a loose loose situation. My only hope is for a healthy and happy baby, but it would be nice if people stopped commenting on my body.
I doubt that. Now at almost 20 weeks, my bump has finally started. I await the well-meaning advice of how my body should look, but I wish they would leave it to my doctor.