Saturday, October 06, 2012

My Body Doesn't Love Me Anymore

My body is changing so rapidly that I can barely register one new development without another popping up. I am more aware of these changes now than I was during my first pregnancy, mainly because last time, I was solely focused on how tiny my belly was and how non-pregnant I looked.

That bothered me so much, how all my maternity clothes were huge on me (I wore regular clothes – in size M or L – all the way to the end since they looked less billowy than maternity clothes), how I didn't really look pregnant until well over the halfway mark. In the end, I looked totally pregnant and huge and uncomfortable, but it took a long time to get there.

This time, though, it's not like that at all. This pregnancy is payback for all  the complaining I did back then. I have no real idea how average my belly and looks as a whole are for this point of the pregnancy, but I have days where I feel like I've been lugging this bump around for ages and like my belly weighs an extra 100 lbs. I've been "looking pregnant" since about 12 weeks along. Weight-wise, I'm normal, and I don't notice extra fat anywhere (though I have the typical fuller face and overall roundness), but again, this belly. I'm achy, I'm slow, I get tired so easily. And I'm just about to hit 20 weeks! I'm good for just about the entire day, and then 7, 7:30 p.m. hits and all of a sudden it's like my body just can't take it anymore. 

I was in a panic late last night - I was so exhausted and in pain (by the end of the day, the muscles in my entire abdominal area make moving difficult and lying down painful), and I was seized with this terrible thought: what if this belly just does not stop growing? How big will this baby be, and how on earth will I get him out without my body being torn apart? It all felt so huge and impossible. If I feel like this now (and I don't remember feeling like this last time), what awaits me? 

So I've got all this stuff going on that feels foreign and worrisome and of course, it just bleeds to my appearance and I worry if I'm looking worse than I think I do and if it's repulsive (damn these hormones!). People look at me and smile and give me that "aaawwwwww" face, and I actually think I'm putting myself together pretty decently, but I feel waves of doubt. I feel it, really, just when it comes to my husband and how my changing body must be affecting him. I worry that I'm unattractive to him, that he's kinda grossed-out by what I look like now, but if that's true, no matter how honest we are with each other, what kind of asshole tells his wife such a thing? If I go by the facts - how often he tells me I look good, that his level of affection has not diminished in any way, that our sex life hasn't suffered - then I know all is fine. But... just but. How can I not expect him to be affected by this?

I know, too, that there are psychologically deeper reasons for this fear. The last time I was pregnant, that husband rejected me in many ways, and I know it left a permanent scar. It was, like everything in that marriage, a mess of mixed messages. On the one hand, I was adorable and he showed me off like a prize; on the other, he didn't lay a finger on me for months. It was an incredibly difficult time for me - thrilled to be pregnant and freaked out by the lack of affection and sex in my life. And he had no explanation for me, not a word. Not, "I'm tired," or "I'm scared of being a dad and don't feel sexual," or "You look terrible." Nothing. Nothing but getting mad at me and refusing to provide any semblance of an answer. When everything ended, I realized I'd never really recovered from that. And it was all well and buried until now. Not because I'm experiencing it all over again - far from it - but because it's all I know. I know what's possible, how bad it can get and how damaging it is, and I guess I worry I will live that all over again. Never mind that there are zero similarities between my life then and my life now - the deep psychological shit is sometimes just too strong to fully disappear.

I wonder, too, about my body postpartum, and what will be left of me. This, however, is too overwhelming and distant an issue for me to allow myself to get wrapped up in. I'll go insane if I pay any real mind to that stuff now. 

I'm back to the days where I need to tell myself to breathe deeply and just make it from one day to the next. Now, of course, I add: "and let my hormones not get the best of me, and let this baby make it here safe and sound." 

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Posted by Tere @ 10/06/2012   | |

3 Comments

  • Blogger Maria Northcutt posted at 10/06/2012 12:03 PM  
    Ooo I can really relate to this post. I had a similar awful experience with my first pregnancy/marriage seven years ago. I had my second baby ten weeks ago and everything was different. From the moment I told my new man I thought I was pregnant, the way my body changed this pregnancy, the way my baby moved inside of me, the birth experience (first time it was 74hours vaginal dilivery and this time an emergency C- section). The first days afterwards were really different too, being treated like a Queen instead of beaten and worse. Hang in there girl!!!
  • Blogger Mary Gilmour posted at 10/07/2012 10:05 AM  
    I was much bigger and showed earlier with my second baby than with the first - my guess is that the first pregnancy stretches things out that stay stretched. But, wait for it, the second delivery was much, much easier than the first and so was caring for the newborn.
    It is clear that you understand where the rejection worry is coming from but that doesn't stop it being real. I think, though, from what you have written about your man, that the whole package of who you really are is what he loves and wants. Including the bulge, since it is your new little son in there.
    give yourself some pampering, hmmm?
  • Blogger Tracie Rathsack posted at 10/08/2012 11:44 PM  
    Holy so totally accurate. This is my third pregnancy, my last a decade ago. I am aching and waddling and hurting so much I feel like a uber wimp!! or Blimp. Or something!

    I am WAY bigger and every time I talk to someone they go, "are you sure you don't have 2 in there?" *grin, elbow-nudge, wink wink* and I fight not to body check them with my overly large distended body.

    *sigh*
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