Friday, June 10, 2011


Alright, I’m about to write a pile of anti-feminist crap. Beware. Its coming! Put on your deflective armour because you may just need some defensive tactics…

I always envisioned myself becoming a beautiful pregnant woman. I mean, the kind that I would see on the streets that glowed. These women all just looked like they had sprouted a belly independent of the rest of their bodies. From behind, I couldn’t tell they were pregnant. They walked confidently and proudly. They were fit and flowing with that pregnancy brilliance, an energy aura as colourful and visible as an African scarf wrapped gleefully around them and trailing in the wind. They didn’t look like balloons; they looked like perfect pregnant pears with little normal legs carrying them on their way, smiling.
I, instead, am beginning to look like a butterball turkey. I have ballooned outwards in all the wrong places. I have gained ten pounds in 11 weeks—a startling amount considering what all the guide books and websites have said about the first trimester and how women are meant to gain 2-5 pounds—and it is mostly gathered in the thigh and ass regions, which is making me extremely self-conscious and completely unable to wear any of my pants.
My pear shape is the unfortunate kind.
My doula tells me that every woman is different and that meant-to or supposed-to statements in books like the ones I just referenced are based on averages and not expectations.
Yeah, yeah, I know all that.
I also know that I may very well look like a beautiful pregnant woman after this trimester when I have happily discarded the blues, or should I say: the storm cloud above my head, the scowl on my moody lips, the nausea creasing my forehead, the bags under my exhausted eyes, the strain in my shoulders as I attempt to hold up these increasingly ridiculous boulders that used to be my breasts…
Or will I just get used to this?
I’m just descending into terrible pits of teenaged despair. I actually feel sometimes like I did when I was sixteen and obsessive about my weight and body size. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this frame of mind—so long in fact that I actually feel nostalgic for it, even though I know how incredibly unhealthy it is. So many years have gone by without bothering to weigh myself, without stressing about my body weight even though it fluctuated, mostly because I could rest assured that I was eating healthily and that I was consistently active. And here I am, pouting at the mirror and chastising myself nearly every day. It’s disturbing.
Ah, there it is. I landed on it. The difference now is that my diet has completely changed. I’m constantly craving Western food like bread and cheese and ice cream and yoghurt—foods that are full of fat and calories. Also, with the exception of cycling to the subway, a forty-minute commitment on days when I pick up work about twice a week, I’m not doing much in the way of regular physical activity. Mostly because I’m exhausted all the time and don’t really feel like doing much more than laying on my back reading a book and then getting a snack every two hours. So, my habits have changed and therefore my body has changed.
(Adult voice of reason interrupting here)
“No, my dear, it’s not just about habits changing. YOU’RE PREGNANT. Your body is changing because you’re bringing life into the world! You should listen to your cravings. You should listen to your body when it wants to rest. You should celebrate your fat ass and thighs! You should get the #@$! over yourself and recognize that this is merely a nine-month commitment that precedes becoming the Mother you have always wanted to be. Stop being so bloody superficial!! Your body WILL recover!”

And that adult voice of reason usually wins and gets me to move on with my day, sweeping the adolescent thoughts aside.
I certainly am hoping, though, that I can learn to enjoy this, even just parts of it. I have heard several women tell me—independent of each other—that they really didn’t enjoy being pregnant at all; it was giving birth that was so incredible and the thing they would do again if they could. I should keep that in mind. Perhaps feeling so disgusting and not enjoying being pregnant is not a sign that I will be a terrible Mother at all. Perhaps it’s just about being honest. In fact, it may even be evidence that I’ll be an even better Mom because I’ll always be able to be honest with my child. I’ll be able to say,
“Actually, sweetie, I really didn’t enjoy it when you lived inside of me but I love being your Mom and I’m so glad we could bring you into this world.”
Today I’m going to avoid weighing myself and try to avoid all mirrors.
That’s the only option because this Momma Bear is HUNGRY and LAZY and nothing is going to keep us (baby and me) from food and rest.


  1. actually, you're working a lot more than cycling 2 days a week... you're building parts. you're dividing cells. you're body is working over time, and it's no wonder you're tired. i'm tired just thinking of it! the first trimester is (from what i've heard) the hardest...

  2. You're right, Sarah... totally right. Building body parts is some serious, silent, internal exertion!! About a week ago when I was lying around the house, I told my sweetie I was busy making a SPLEEN and he laughed but agreed. Thanks for your encouraging comment!

  3. Oh, my dear, it is so, so hard when we think we've failed at our own politics. I don't think what you've written is anti-feminist. Your 4cm little Spark is causing a firestorm of changes in your physical and emotional bodies, and you're giving yourself room to process it in a place where people can support you. I can't say with any real authority, but if I had to guess: if you were getting anti-feminist about this, I imagine it would look like you pretending everything was just fine.

    A lot of women I know struggle with pregnancy, for an assortment of reasons, but largely because the experience of pregnancy is not meeting their expectations of pregnancy.

    When I was pregnant, I remember thinking: man, no one told me this was gonna be a whole-body experience! I have pregnant eyelashes here, for Pete's sake! Of course, looking back, I can smile and laugh at my pre-pregnant expectations, but in a way I think one can only after having gone through it.

    That said, I would also invite you to consider that your postpartum body might be different than your pre-pregnancy body. That living in a mother's body is less about "getting your body back", than it is about figuring out how this new body works. Which isn't to say you *won't* lose your pregnancy weight, just that the way you know your body now, the way it feels and moves will change in some way during this process.

    I'd like to say: "it's all good", but I know if your mind is anything like mine, it will have to take a couple of spins around that idea before it can agree.

  4. OK, now I have some anti-vegetarian news that I am not entirely comfortable disseminating as a staunch, lifelong veg: all of this tiredness is made worse by the lack of red meat. That doesn't mean I'm suggesting you take up omnivory, just letting you know one more reason to go easy on yourself!

    I made it through two pregnancies without ingesting meat, but you do have to be extra careful about getting enough iron, B12, etc.

    Congratulations to you. All my best.

    PS feel free to use some of the album-support money I donated to get more pickles!