Thoughts on: pregnancy, bodies, confidence, and our thinking [not a creative title]

Here’s the thing with being pregnant: at some point in the journey, there are moments where you don’t remember that you’re pregnant and then there are moments where it’s the only thing you can think about and there are in-between moments where it’s just the way it is, no big thoughts necessary. What I’ve come to realize is that I think about this whole pregnancy shebang more than I do anything else related to it – I can’t stand shopping typically, so I’m not out finding the cutest this-that-and-the-other and since we don’t know the sex (on purpose!), I’m not even bothering with clothes. Below, behold, some thinking.

This was post-first-day of teaching at school. I was 27 weeks at that point.

This was post-first-day of teaching at school. I was 27 weeks at that point.

Note well: This is not a rant. This is not one of those “Dear anonymous person” letters that I find incredibly grating in their passive-aggressiveness. This is not a directive, or a declarative statement, upon the world. This is just my brain, spilling out a bit over the edges. This is a reflection.

Within the span on 3 days, three different lovely people said the following things to me, in three separate conversation:

  • Are you sure it’s not twins?
  • It couldn’t possibly be twins, you’re not big enough.
  • 6+ months? But you’re so tiny!

Here’s what bothers me  – that last comment? It was intended as a compliment, you could hear it in the tone. I accepted it as one, like a slight pat-on-the-back for my efforts to…what? My efforts to provide a safe environment for a human child? My efforts to eat normal food and try to keep working out so I don’t lose my mind from teaching stress? My efforts are nothing more than what I would be doing otherwise in my life… and yet, it was a prideful moment. SOMEONE THINKS I’M TINY!

Dear friends, I have never to my recollection been referred to as “tiny”. It starts with the fact that I’m 5’10. It continues with the fact that I inherited some fabulous Mescall hips and a backside that defies my genetics. So why was I so quick to smile and say ‘thank you’ to the person who called me tiny? That’s what I did, after all. It made me happy. But I’m bothered by the fact that my brain processed those few words as a happiness-inducing comment. If you’re wondering what my response was to commenter number one, it was a quick uninspired “Nope, just one baby, but maybe it’s a large one”.  Sorry, kiddo, for throwing you under the bus like that. (But you’ve got Evans genes, so it’s unlikely you’ll be overly short. Also, we like to eat in this family. Just preparing you.)

Our self-perceptions are so fluid. One comment can stick in your brain for days, in a negative way, while another may boost your mood each time you think on it. Since when is it a “good thing” to be ‘tiny’ and pregnant? Surely there are some for whom this is a problem, not a situation deserving of compliment. I’m fortunate that post-first-trimester, I’ve been able to eat on a fairly regular basis. And no, it may not be twins – I get the implication – but maybe babyG has mama’s long legs and needs a lotta room and made it happen. That’s fine by me. I wouldn’t want to be explaining to this kiddo in three months, “Sorry your shins were so compact in there – but you know, appearances matter, and I couldn’t have people thinking I was too large!” Like I have any control in this situation! HA!

Oh, bother. Most of us struggle with confidence in our physical bodies. It used to be more skin-related, for me. Now it’s more shape-and-size related. All this thinking has shown me is that that confidence struggle doesn’t change, it morphs, but continues. Even when you’re supposed to be excited – and I am! – it’s not like you can pretend your body isn’t shifting and sliding and stretching all over the place and throwing you out of whack. If I could convince myself of anything, it would be thus: this body is what you need right now. Next week it’s going to look different. Don’t freak out. Let it be. Progress forward. See what happens and what amazing things this body can do that your old one can’t. Embrace the struggle. After all, it’s not like this is a new thing. It’s just different.

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One thought on “Thoughts on: pregnancy, bodies, confidence, and our thinking [not a creative title]

  1. Pingback: 7 Quick Takes: Hello, September! | Catholic CoffeeTalk

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