pregnancy and body image

pregnant pool lady

dear baby,

i wrote this post a year ago, roughly.  and now i want to write a quite different post.

i want to write a post in gratitude, rejoicing in the confidence being pregnant has brought back to me about my body. i don’t really recognize that person, or that voice from that post a year ago. who wrote that? certainly not this lady! because this lady says: i can wear whatever the hell i want and i look good while i’m at it.

being pregnant makes me feel so feminine and powerful and in control of my body. i know that is not the case for some but fortunately it is for me.

we’ve spent much of these last weeks of pregnancy poolside and i’ve drawn upon that confidence about my body in a way that i’m sure i wouldn’t have last year.  my legs aren’t shaved. who cares?  my suits don’t fit quite right. whatevs!  i’m huge and have fatty thighs and spider veins. not a big deal!

if anyone has had a problem with it, it really has been no cause for concern of mine. i’m guessing that if anyone has been unsettled by my appearance they’ve just kept their opinion to themselves which is exactly where negative thoughts can be kept: to their owner, poisoning his/her own mind.

which brings up another positive for me; now that i am back in a mental place where i love and revere my body, i look more favorably upon others as well. i see a beauty there that was lost to me for a while. and really, i mostly don’t find it any of my business to have an opinion about another person’s body and physique.

it is so freeing and nice. the world is a much nicer place when you love yourself and feel positive about the person you are. it’s just nice.

and i’m thankful to you, baby, and this pregnancy for bringing me back to this place. it’s regrettable that i drifted away from here for some time but i’m glad to be back now.

{universe, please help me hold on to it this time.}

because i’m sure i will have you soon, {right?} and drop some weight and become able to reach my legs again for shaving and what not but from here on out those personal appearance things will be for me and will not be about avoiding negative thoughts from others.

our week

i don’t know where these days are going.

it’s friday and i got up early to write out a little about our week and i really can’t remember much that has happened save for a few big events. we spend much of our time here at home these days and i fear i’ve not really been able to stay present while here. my mind seems hyper-focused on chores and organization and cooking and errands.

and it all seems so ordinary.

and i feel like that has taken up a lot of my brain space this week: reconciling with the fact that i’m going to lead an ordinary life.

i, like most of my generation, was ingrained with the idea that i was a special little flower and that i was going to go out and do great things in the world. i have genuinely, 100% honestly always believed that I was going to lead some out-of-the-ordinary life. mainstream life was not good enough for me.

but here’s what i see when i step back from myself:  31 years old, lives in ohio, full-time mom, drives a pt cruiser, listens to neil sedaka live in concert on the 60s station….

it’s so ordinary. it’s so vanilla and blah. it doesn’t feel like this was the life i was supposed to lead. it’s not how my life played out in my head. and it certainly doesn’t seem to measure up to the adventurous lives of my peer group before i got myself saddled with motherhood. 

and feeling that way feels terrible.

then i sit down here to this space and i start to take a look back at the weeks and i’m once again glad that i’m recording life here because when i scroll back through the days and weeks and months i see a whole mess of ordinary, every day beauty.  it’s not over-the-top exciting and most of it is mundane but there is so much beauty shining through this ordinary life.

and i feel a bit foolish that it took me SO LONG in my life to see that. i feel like even from my earliest days i’ve wanted to live a life different and more exotic than the one i have. i’ve wanted to be a completely different person. i’ve even survived much of these last few years by telling myself that this is just a little pit stop in my life and that i’ll be zooming off to great adventures before long.

but that is not guaranteed to me. nothing is. and what a waste of an ordinary life it would be if i never ended up in this spot able to see how beautiful even the dullest of moments here on earth are.

so, this week i sat around on my porch a lot, watching my child cut grass with a pair of scissors {seriously}. i cooked some meals for my family. i took my girl to the pool. i ran errands. and i spent a whole lot of time gazing at a growing belly.

it was thoroughly ordinary. and it was beautiful.

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* sending you all the best for a super, super moon weekend *

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topbabyblogs

bump day

that bump. how that bump made us jump.

here’s some advice. do not write a post jokingly calling your unborn child a jerk-baby because your unborn jerk-baby will get on the internet and read it and then give you the in utero what for.

we had a last-minute ultra sound last night after this little person gave us all a scare of a 40-week breech flip.

the good news: baby is not, in fact, breech but in lovely position.

more good news: we got to see him/her as a family which was nice since mike and darla weren’t present for my last ultrasound.

the ambiguous news: u/s info shows i may have a little more time growing this person than previously thought. maybe not. it’s all devil-science-magic anyway! but i’m wrapping my head around the fact that we may be hanging tight for a while. maybe not. ooh the excitement…the thrill of the wait…the anticipation…the stretching skin!!!!

the bad news: i’ve now called my jerk-baby a jerk-baby 3 {er…4} more times so i’m sure to experience some additional wild times from this kiddo here at the end in retribution.  it’s ok, i deserve it.

baby bump

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pregnancy eats

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pregnancy eats this week consists of spicy chorizo tacos because you’ve heard that spicy things kick-start labor, right?

it was worth a shot.

so this taco dinner was in celebration of two things: my due date and my momma sending us taco funds.

see….

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^^^ look at how cute she is labeling it and all ^^^

well, the due date came and went and baby and i are still a We. but i’m ok with that. i’ve chilled out a little bit about getting this person here. the smudging session helped change my energy towards the process both emotionally and mentally. plus, once it became apparent that little one wasn’t going to make an entrance on July 7th, the most sacred day of the year, then i kinda relaxed.

you see, July 7th is Fred Savage’s birthday. i have to confess i did not treat fred’s birthday with the respect it deserves this year. i was so caught up in my own disappointment of having a non-savage baby that i didn’t feel like celebrating the greatest american that has ever lived. and that was selfish and wrong.

dear fred,
i’m sorry i missed your birthday this year. fred fest WILL happen for 2015. promises, promises. and i’m sorry my jerk-baby wouldn’t come out of me on your birthday. 
love,
elaine

so since we rolled on past the 7th it didn’t seem like such a big deal to keep on going past the 8th. but mike and i decided it was nice to celebrate the due date anyway, just because. it’s an accomplishment to grow a human for this long, friends.  my hope is more ladies will start seeing it that way instead of an affliction to carry your little person past dates.  even though, i get it. i’m much more physically miserable with this pregnancy than my previous, and i’m one of the lucky ones with very little complications. so i understand the ladies that have 9 mos of misery and are ready to be done. but the hardships of an older body kinda make me even more proud to carry this person onwards until the universe sees fit to bring him/her this side of my pelvis. it just felt like something to be celebrated instead of bemoaning.

plus, these dates are so fluid. it’s a window. and honestly, i am NOT a charter so my dates for calculating were ballpark figures anyway. so this person will truly be here when they are supposed to. i’m relaxed. i’m cool. i burn incense and wear fringe shirts now so i can handle this…

and also, it was an excuse for tacos.

BUT i would like to make an announcement that two things will be happening from now on:

1}  i will be watching episodes of the wonder years nightly until this babe arrives in repentance for my treatment of fred’s day.

2}  i will not be answering any questions/texts/emails/fb messages about whether or not i’ve had this baby. this blog revolves almost completely around my over sharing and need for attention. once i have this baby, trust me, you’ll all know about it!!!

bump day

y’all, i love this bump. i really do. but i hope i do not have another bump day post next week. i hope i have a baby. in arms. not in belly.

i officially have a big sister on my hands. the photo below is of darla telling the baby he/she has a “stinky poop toot butt.” this sounds like older sister teasing at it’s finest already.

bump day

bump day

sigh. all the love for this rounded belly.

dear baby,
i baked a stock of biscuits for the weekend. and there’s jam. this means we’re ready to meet you.

pregnancy eats

pregnancy eats

i’m in my final weeks {days?} of pregnancy. i think i’ve earned to eat fatty foods in secrecy!

the fruits ripening and coming to harvest in central ohio at the end of my pregnancy is one of the most generous blessings the universe has ever bestowed on me. i didn’t think it possible, but black raspberries taste even better when you’re 9 months pregnant.

so this is me as of late. fresh fruits over ice cream paired with ginger ale + homemade strawberry syrup. and yeah, there were some jalapeno stuffed olives in the mix too. because, pregnancy cravings. yes.

gawd i love food while pregnant.

mothering the mother, parenting the parent.

resting

this may not look like much to you, but it was a game changer for me. that’s me putting my feet up and getting a little extra rest this past weekend.

my parents came into town and offered their love, care and support to my family. my husband and child showed me extra kindness. i benefitted from some extra back rubs, some help with chores, a couple extra pairs of hands to care for my girl. and a nap. A NAP! it has me thinking and feeling.

oh no! here I go again:

in my birth doula and postpartum doula training we studied the idea of mothering the mother and how important this is for an expecting or new mom. i feel if we get down to it, it could be applied to any mom at any stage of her motherhood and yeah, partners too. we all need a little mothering. and i’m not talking about “smothering.” i’m talking about the real work of mothering we do. the mothering that sits next to you and rubs your back while you talk about your fears. the mothering that fixes you a snack or helps you make your bed. the kind of mothering that reminds you that you can do hard things, that you are capable of great things. real mothering empowers you and reminds you that everything is going to be okay. real mothering reminds you that you are loved.

it’s a goddamned impossible world out there and this kind of mothering has always helped me face it with a little more courage.

when i receive even a small dose of this it helps me to give it away more freely. part of being a mother, in my experience, requires drawing from a bottomless emotional well to make sure the lives around you are adequately watered and flourish. it can sometimes be hard to find others that are willing to deposit back into your well, because maybe they are running low too.

i cannot stress how much kindness and caring can mean to a pregnant mother or new mom. the small things add up. a little bit of kindness goes a long way. we all know this applies to many relationships in life but my point of view right now is that of a full-time mom, giving her all away to one courageous and cute child outside the womb and giving her all physically to one growing within. even though i’ve not yet met this little person earthside, my body is still mothering this being 24/7. and that is exhausting. my 5 year-old at least gives me an 8hr break during most nights. after those two little peoples, most of my other relationships in life require some level of mothering. and i meet those demands with various levels of success depending on how much i feel i have to give away on any given day.

so, the extra “mothering” and “parenting” i received from my own parents and family this weekend has helped me hit the reset button a little bit. i’ve said it before and i know i’ll say it again: i am so lucky to have been born to parents and into a family that gets this idea of support and love as fundamental to the functioning as a family unit. i know how hard it can be for people who don’t receive that love and support from their families. i think my parents did a great job of backing off and letting me spread my wings as a young adult but then stepping back in to be by my side once i became a parent.  they did not do so in a smothering way, but in a way that tells me they will be there while i go through the hardships of middle-life. they did so in a way that tells me my life is still my own to figure out but they’ll be there to listen, to remind me i’m doing my best and that every once in a while i deserve a nap.

i hope i will remember their example when life calls me to step into the role of grandparent and tread the waters of parenting a parent. because i can feel right now how important and necessary that is during this phase of my own life. and i can feel the effects of their presence in our lives these past few months in the functioning of my own nuclear family. i can feel how we’re all seeming to pull together a little more and offer up a little more kindness. this during a time when it would be so easy to buckle under the stress of it all and lash out a little more often. but no. there’s a closeness and kindness that keeps building and makes me feel excited to bring a new life into the loving folds i feel growing here.

so, in closing, i just want to express gratitude for all the mothering of mothers that takes place out there, and all the parenting of parents. these are small things with great compounding effects on the world. at least, on my world.

avoiding maternity clothes

how
i did
avoiding
maternity clothes
this week……………

maternity

^^^ berry picking in all white because i never really make good fashion decisions ^^^

maternity

^^^ dark colors and long sleeves for an outdoor festival during a 90 degree day because again…. ^^^

maternity

 ^^^ a very important outfit these days. i’m very thankful to my regular bathing suit for hanging in there as a maternity suit. this may or may not qualify as a good fashion decision depending on which side you’re on ^^^

* wish me luck with next week. or better yet, wish me luck with a birth and a first week in postpartum clothes!*

weekending

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^^^ catching “flierflies.” please, universe, let her mispronounce this word for as long as possible ^^^

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^^^ so, this is a thing in our house now ^^^

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^^^ butttttter ^^^

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^^^ remnants from cheerio math ^^^

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^^^ making up over a bowl of grapes after fighting over literally the smallest toy in the world: a lego piece. ^^^

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^^^ a short venture to comfest ^^^

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^^^ love ^^^

well, that just looks like a picturesque weekend, huh? my parents came over for a visit and were once again such a huge support and help to my little family. i am so lucky to be their daughter and to have been born into a family that shows such support and love.

i’m slowing way, way down. i was on the go until the last-minute with my pregnancy with darla and i’m surprised at how much i can’t hang with this time around. there is a big difference between pregnancy at 25 and pregnancy at 31. it has some thoughts and feels forming for me for a later post that i think will all come together once i’ve had this next birthing experience.

for now i’m trying to stay focused on what I can do and not lament what i cannot. these pics are a nice reminder of that. even if all i do in these last few days/weeks of pregnancy is sit out back and watch darla chase fireflies then that’s enough. it’s abundantly enough.