**warning: the following contains 'belly' photos
Last week, at a birthday party for a one-year-old, at least two mothers informed me, with much scorn in their voices, I was not 'showing' at all.
They then went on to tell me 'not to worry,' with my second one I will be showing straight off the mark.
How does one respond to this kind of comment? It's like planning a wedding all over again. Everyone has an opinion and feels within their rights and even obligated to pass on that opinion. In this case, I am doing it all wrong because I have not 'popped' to their satisfaction. That the 'belly' is a mark of some kind of achievement and I have failed.
It should be said, these women and I had never met before this occasion and so have no reference on which to judge whether or not I am 'showing.'
This was my first experience of a kind of 'mummy shame.' I'm not a fan. Surprise, surprise.
To be honest, my changing body is one of the hardest bits of this experience for me thus far. At the time I got pregnant, I was the fittest I have ever been in my life. I had worked for over a year to get there and it was finally a part of my everyday life. I'm not talking about being 'skinny.' I'm speaking of feeling fit in my body and mind. Knowing what my body can and can't do. Being aware of what was going in and how it affects my mood and energy. Knowing that I could run across a train terminal with a full backpack and not die on the concourse.
I was in tune with my body.
Or so I thought.
Now, my body is harboring an almost completely independent being and it is really bizarre. My body can no longer manage simple tasks like bending at the waist. Getting dressed below the waist requires the kind of concentration I normally reserve for yoga balances (I have fallen over putting on my underwear more times than is comically allowed). I give myself a mini pep-talk before descending the stairs EVERY TIME as I am now a tumble risk and I am inexplicably tired after a few mundane tasks around the house.
I have had to learn a lot of patience with myself and my body. I am learning this little by little through my yoga class. I attend a pregnancy yoga class but it's more a place to practice breathing than anything else. I still attend my usual class and this is where my 10 years of yoga practice and body awareness is becoming really important.
In the past, I had no question that my body could do what my instructor asked of it. Now, I am amazed at what my body can no longer do and how frustrated I become when I can't follow the class in the same way I did before. However, in that frustration I have found a deeper connection with my body. I truly have to listen to my body and what it can't do. Instead of serenely following along with the class I am mentally involved in creating variations of each pose based on those 10 years of practice.
Surprisingly, not being able to follow along in class is strengthen my yoga practice and my patience. I find I am much more patient with myself and others. It also allows me to take care of myself for myself as well as for the little being inside. It's not a one way street.
All body connection talk aside, I still get a bit freaked out when Pruin starts kicking and wriggling. At times it literally takes my breath away. Not in a TOP GUN kind of way but in a what-the-hell-is-that? kind of way.
What will happen after Pruin enters the world? How important will my fitness be to me then? I don't know. I hope it is still a priority. My fitness levels directly affect my mood levels so I hope it becomes a priority again. But we shall see.
Until then, dear reader, I leave you with the following evidence that I have in fact started showing...something.
(preggo bum & thigh cellulite mercifully cropped out)