Do I Look Pregnant or Just Fat?

I’ve always had body insecurities – who hasn’t? While at school the majority of my friends were naturally skinny and I went through that stage of trying everything I could to be just like them. Turns out, I’m just not built that way and it took me a long time to actually (sort of) accept that. Then all of a sudden my body doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to the baby it’s trying to grow, but those insecurities are still niggling away at the back of my head.

It’s difficult, because I would mention my worries to people and without a second thought their response would be “but you’re pregnant?” Yes, I’m fully aware of that, thanks, but it doesn’t just negate the former 23 years of my life battling with body insecurities. I am proud and a little intrigued at my body successfully able to do it’s primary function, but after that, it’s bloody difficult to accept that I have two suitcases worth of clothes that no longer fit me – and I’ve done well with only really gaining weight in my stomach and waist area.

I spent the majority of my second trimester asking Darren “Do I look pregnant or just fat?” or “Do I look pregnant from behind?” I love being pregnant, it’s great fun and – aside from the insecurities – has been a bit of a breeze (apart from the heartburn, dear God the heartburn!), but I was paranoid people wouldn’t realise. One day (probably frustrated with the same question) Darren responded, “Why do you care what other people think?” and it’s a valid question, I was worried what absolute strangers who saw me for a nanosecond as they walked past thought of me. Everyone I know is well aware I’m pregnant, why do I care what random people think?

Unfortunately it’s a valid question for the whole “Why do I want to be ‘skinny’ in the first place?” question, but that’s not really what this little blog is about.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been described as both ‘tiny’ and ‘ballooning’, those commenting on how big I’ve gotten have been around since the beginning. But I’ve noticed it’s the ‘tiny’ and ‘small’ comments that I crave, but why? Shouldn’t I not want that? Surely I want my baby to be as healthy as possible, I don’t want it to be underdeveloped or at risk of health problems. I eat properly, drink plenty of water, avoid all the things I’m meant to and try to get some exercise in between my job, master’s degree and moving house. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my body is able to just grow a little tiny human without me putting too much effort into it and I’m honestly terrified the baby will be born with a problem that has been purely my fault. I don’t in any way restrict myself from eating when I’m hungry, or nap when I’m tired (within reason). I’m doing yoga to stay calm and create all those happy endorphins baby needs. I don’t actually hate it, the stomach, it’s quite fascinating.  Sometimes, I do catch myself in the mirror and just marvel at how weird it is to have a belly protruding from my hips, (kind of like a massive beer belly some middle-aged men grow). It’s the fear of being mistaken for just being fat.

I’m currently about 28 weeks pregnant, this is when things start to get even bigger very quickly. The beached whale stage, if you please. But as those old insecurities ingrained in me haven’t disappeared just yet, hopefully they’ll settle down when I begin to look very pregnant. I suppose we’ll just have to see.

So for anyone else who wasn’t or isn’t massively confident of their body beforehand and found they didn’t love their bump during pregnancy no matter how much we’re told we should, it’s alright, because you’re definitely not alone in it. Just remember to keep both yourself and baby safe.

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