Well, we're in the home stretch. Our baby girl will be here in about 7 weeks (we hope- but on the flipside I'd rather have her bake as long as she needs to, to be healthy).
I've been spending a lot of time trying to get the house ready (and by the house, I mean my parents' house as they have been kind enough to let us crash here to save money while Jeff is in his last semester) and I have been finding myself feeling more and more like a beached whale.
Its so funny how the world around us changes. I have had so many friends deliver babies this summer and I have a few that are due right before me and right after me- its been interesting to see Facebook light up with pregnancy related statuses and to see what's ahead of me at different stages, and to remember what I've been through. It seems like the whole world is pregnant right now...
As my beached whale feelings have started to surface, I've been looking to my friends that have just recently had babies and seeing where they are physically, mentally and emotionally. Many of them lament the loss of the body they had before baby. Many of them, to me, look amazing for having had a baby as recently as they did, but when you complement them on it they graciously thank you, but add that they still have a lot of work to do...
I have been hoping that this beached whale feeling would go away, but I fear it may last a little longer than I would like. As these fears have surfaced, I had been finding myself wishing I hadn't eaten this or that, wishing I hadn't gained as much weight as I have ( 34 pounds so far, and I'm sure I will gain more) and dreading what is to come for me personally.
My weight has always been a struggle. It wasn't until I was diagnosed as insulin resistant in 2003 that the light finally turned on and I realized how I could eat like a bird and still be overweight. The funny thing is, I'm not even as heavy right now as I was when I was first diagnosed back in the day. I struggle because I know what a hard long journey it was before baby to get the body that I had and I fear the struggle that may come after she gets here.
Amidst all this self-loathing I was completely awestruck one day by the miracle it was to feel this little girl moving around inside my belly. Lately, I've been finding myself really enamored with my body and the miraculous things that it is doing right now- and in a weird way, in spite of the beached whale feelings I've been having, in spite of the recent pictures people have taken where I feel like I look like I have 4 chins (seriously- I don't see them when I look in the mirror, but when I take a picture its like they materialize!)- I am finding this strange sense of comfort.
Let's break this down...
Point #1: 33 weeks ago my genetic material happened to be in the right place and fused with Jeff's...immediately cells, microscopic but full of life, began to divide into a mass of random tissues...from this mass of random tissues somehow a baby has managed to form- if I really sit and think about it my mind is officially blown. I know some of you darlings don't believe in God, and that is okay- but please don't be offended when I say that when I sit and think about the miracle that is the creation of life I can't help but think of what a genius He must be. This process of dividing and growing is so intricately designed, I can't help but have my testimony strengthened that God does exist. How blessed am I as a woman to be able to experience the growth of life first hand? It boggles my mind to think of everything that goes into the formation of a healthy embryo, then fetus into what will eventually be a baby. How blessed are we to have order in nature?
Point #2: At the beginning of this 33 weeks, my body inherently knew what to do to protect the healthy mass of dividing tissue that would be my baby. My body naturally did what it needed to do to make sure that this mass was not only protected, but nourished. Did you know that when you're first pregnant your blood volume increases at least 50% in order to cater to the growing baby. Without this extra blood supply, a baby cannot grow or thrive. My blood has for 33 weeks been nourishing my baby. Not only that- my blood has for 33 weeks been her source of oxygen...I didn't tell my body to do that- isn't it amazing what our bodies do without us even asking?
Point #3: You body creates and releases special hormones to aid in delivery starting at the second trimester and continues to do so until birth. This hormone, known as Relaxin, is created and distributed throughout the joints of an expectant mother allowing for her to stretch further. It literally, as the name suggests, relaxes her joints so that her bones can spread to make room for a growing baby and so her pelvic bones can spread during delivery...My body is doing ALL of this right now...while I live my life, while I clean, while I shop, while I teach...without me even feeling aware of it...
Point #4: While I've been carrying this baby, my body has been preparing to be able to nourish her even after she is born. My body will produce food for my baby- I will be able to continue to protect her by sharing my antibodies through that nourishment during the first few weeks of her life, and after that my caloric intake will provide the calories she will need to continue to grow and be strong outside the safety of my womb...wrap your mind around that for a minute- without me even telling it, my body knows how to do this- and thank heavens my body knows how to do it- I wouldn't even know where to begin...I think we women folk are all lucky that we don't have to think about how that is even accomplished and have to tell our bodies to do it step by step...I may be a good multi-tasker, but I don't think I'm that amazing!
So...in short...I find myself wondering- what is the use for mourning for the body that I had before my baby took it over (brain and all) I should be celebrating my body that IS...its pretty remarkable and amazing. While I know that all of these realizations and thoughts that are boggling and blowing my mind aren't going to help me lose weight to look the way that the fashion magazines tell me I should look, I also know that I wouldn't want it any other way.
Here is to feeling like a beached whale! That beached whale feeling is accompanying a process that is pretty darn amazing. No- I may not be my pre-pregnancy size 4, but no matter what size of jeans I end up in I know 2 truths:
1- I want to celebrate my body for the miracles it has performed during this time
2- As long as I do what I know I need to do to be healthy everything will work out.
I can add a truth #3- something my husband reminds me of every day...I am beautiful (and Jeff wouldn't tell me that I am if he didn't mean it.)
So, this is for all my friends who are struggling after the birth of their baby, for all those who are currently joining me in the beached whale phase, for all of those who are struggling dealing with the movement from regular jeans to maternity clothes, and for all those who are barfing up every meal- It may be hard to see, and believe me, I'm not perfect at it yet (remember I have 4 amazing disappearing chins...) let's celebrate our bodies. Let's love what they do for us every day without us even having to think about it.
Perhaps this is a lesson for all of us darlings- you may not have the body you want. It may not be cooperating with you so that you can accomplish some ultimate goal ... our bodies are pretty amazing. We should remember to love ourselves a little more and worry a little less about what Anna Wintour tells us we should be. I think, more than anything, I have decided that I want to test a new theory...
are you ready?
Love your body and it will love you back.
Try it on for size darlings, let me know how it works out for you- I will definitely keep you posted on how testing this theory works for me.
Hugs and loves until next time.