My first pregnancy was a little too perfect. I literally felt that “glow” people talk about, and I truly never felt more beautiful in my entire life. I’ve always been overweight, but when I was pregnant that first time I rocked my bump, and welcomed my ever-changing body—every new stretch mark was exciting and left me filled with amazement that our bodies are capable of creating little humans.
People would give me that look of concern when I was nearing the end and ask me how I was doing—how I was really doing, and I’d have to practically convince them that I never felt better. It wasn’t until I was around 38 weeks that I finally started feeling the wear and tear (aka aches and pains) of being pregnant.
The days, weeks, months, and a year and a half flew by, and in in the blink of an eye I found myself pregnant again with our second daughter. I still liked being pregnant, and felt good in my skin, but I started that pregnancy with the 10 baby pounds I never lost from the first time around, plus way too much pre-pregnancy weight. I felt pretty (but not necessarily beautiful like before), and the only glow I had was the glistening sweat dripping off my face since we lived in Georgia at the time, and I was constantly hot.
My first and second births were vastly different (induced the first time with an epidural and the whole shebang, and the second time I went all natural), but the first time it took me a good year to get on board with even thinking about having a second child. After my wonderful labor and delivery with my second, I told my husband I wanted to do it all over again the very next day.
My husband, by the way, is my rock. He has never wavered in telling me I’m beautiful, whether I’m knocked up or not. Actually, between you and me, he thinks I’m even sexier when I’m pregnant. Bless his heart.
So here I am two years after I last gave birth, in the single digits (as far as weeks go), prepping to do it all over again for the third time. All things considered, this has been my easiest pregnancy out of the three. The heartburn I experienced the first two times hasn’t reared its ugly head (seriously, just breathing the previous two times brought on heartburn), and despite being diagnosed with gestational diabetes this time, I’m thankful that things are looking fine and healthy for both me and the baby.
But I don’t love being pregnant this time. I absolutely, positively adore feeling him move and kick around in there at all moments of the day, but I hate how my confidence has completely bottomed out. I’ve taken maybe a very tiny handful of pictures of the bump—unlike previous pregnancies where I documented every growing inch with excitement—and I know I have a valid excuse (keeping up with two little ones is pretty time consuming), but really it’s because I don’t like the way I look right now.
I don’t like that nothing fits me (I refused to buy new clothes this time, because technically my old maternity stuff still fits), but all I want to wear are my stretchy yoga pants. I don’t like that I grunt every.single.time I even think about bending down to pick something up. (Y’all, my husband actually bought me a “claw” reacher thing for my birthday to help minimize the grunting; I’ll love him forever for that gift). I’m frustrated that my 5’2″ frame leaves nowhere for the baby to grow, but out (way, way, way out; yes, kind stranger, I’m positive I’m not having twins thankyouverymuch). I’m mostly annoyed that I feel like a giant whale (or sub in another ginormous mammal: elephant, hippo, etc.) 90 percent of the time, and I really, really, really miss feeling that glow.
As much as I don’t want this pregnancy to end, because I know how much I’m going to miss feeling every jab, hiccup, wiggle, and stretch (it’s simply amazing), I’m ready to have my body back. Don’t get me wrong—I’m so incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and I’ve genuinely loved each experience from pregnancy, but I’ve also been pregnant and/or nursing nonstop for more than five years, and I miss myself. I know this is a season I’m in, and this too shall pass, but I think I’m finally ready for this stage to be over.
My husband and I joke that 2017 will be the year he gets a vasectomy, but I also hope it’s the year I find confidence in myself again. I may not be a super model, but I’ve always felt at least comfortable in my skin, and I know that confidence comes from the inside out.
I know delivering this baby won’t immediately change my outlook (hello sleep deprivation and lack of any personal space), but it will be the beginning of a beautiful change for myself.