I took a leap of faith when I became pregnant. A leap that looks a lot like something that results in the birth of a child. Before I was pregnant, I looked at a pregnant woman and saw the outcome of a beautiful baby. Now that I’m in the process of having my own beautiful baby, I realize it’s more than just a baby. Being pregnant is physically trying on your body. You give up your whole being to have a child. I used to tell a friend that body image didn’t matter because she was growing a HUMAN BEING! She was bringing a baby into this world. She was engaging in the most selfless act and it didn’t matter what she looked like. I still believe every one of those things, but I come from a different angle now. I truly understand how important that is.
When I found out I was pregnant I had a hard time imagining what it would be like in months 8 and 9. I couldn’t envision what shape my body would be or how it would feel to have the extra weight. I didn’t know what it would be like to wear maternity clothes or struggle to find something that fit. One thing I knew, it was a miracle to have a baby growing inside me and I promised to cherish every second. I’ve held strong to that notion and have enjoyed being pregnant. I’ve rejoiced in the miracle growing in my belly and I’ve been thankful for each ache and pain.
From the first trimester my body went through changes that affected my wardrobe. Being a naturally small person, I didn’t own any clothes that were bigger than my current size. I didn’t have fallback clothes that I could wear while I was waiting for my belly to pop out. I was stuck in an awkward in-between stage of no one knowing I was pregnant and being able to fit into maternity clothes. I found comfort in a portion of my closet that contained longer shirts. I made it through the weeks by unbuttoning my pants. At the point where I had to start unzipping them, I was thankful to have been more than four months along and have the pregnancy be public knowledge. I willingly borrowed clothes from friends and slowly began to show. Around six months I bit the bullet and purchased maternity pants. I was beyond tired of wearing pants that wouldn’t button but was afraid to buy them for fear that I’d have to buy more at the end of pregnancy. I still wasn’t sure what my body would look like at the end, so I wanted to wait as long as possible. I found that I’d given up on comfort in order to save the pocketbook. I wouldn’t change the way I did it, but I did find a lot of comfort in the maternity pants the first couple of wears. Although they were a little big, they were still a lot more comfortable!
I will admit that I was very worried about finding maternity clothes, pants specifically, that fit my current clothing style. I didn’t want to suffer through months wearing clothes that weren’t me. I wanted to be comfortable and dress to the comfort level that fit me. I was thankful to find clothes from the same store I buy “normal” clothes from. I realized that I could be comfortable and wear maternity clothes. This may be a large part of why I didn’t struggle with my self-image. Because I was comfortable in my exterior, I didn’t think negatively about what was going on internally. I saw the awesome creation for what its intention is.
To an outsider, pregnancy is about the birth of a child. To someone experiencing it, it is so much more. My hope is that others enjoy it as much as I have. I hope that woman are able to leave their insecurities behind and experience pregnancy for what it is. It’s not about the size of the woman or where she gains her weight, it’s about the creation of the child inside her. It doesn’t matter how much I gain during the process or how fast I lose it after the birth of my child. What matters is I’ve been able to bring a healthy baby into this world. I am his source of nourishment and my body is responsible for making sure he has a healthy entrance into this life. My insecurities and self-image doesn’t get him anywhere in life. It won’t ensure that he’s fully developed and it won’t mean he’s smarter than anyone else in his class. What matters is that I provide for him in a way that benefits him.