The Conversation that Changed my Pregnancy: Or how I became a badass big bellied rockstar of a pregnant woman

“How much weight have you gained?”

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Badass pregnant women take bathroom selfies. I think?

“Pardon? Did you just ask me how much weight I’ve gained? Screw you.” Then I gave him the middle finger and walked away.

That was word for word a conversation I had with a male acquaintance at work when I was pregnant. I had never really talked to this guy before, “hi’s” and “how are you’s” in the hallway – that’s about it. So I was pretty damn taken aback when this dude asked me how much weight I’d gained. Sticking your middle finger up at someone at work is probably not the best thing to do… but it was just my gut reaction. That and punching him in the face but I was able to stop myself from doing that. Lucky for him.

What was most shocking to me, is this kind of dialogue happened ALL THE TIME throughout my entire pregnancy.

Suddenly it was okay for everyone to talk about my body. MY body.

As a woman, I’ve had my host of body image issues. But I’ve tried to rise above those and be happy and healthy. If inspirational quotes have taught me anything, it’s that I should be strong not skinny – or whatever BS skinny bitches are trying to tell me. That and to “eat dessert first.” I definitely take that one pretty literally.

Aaaaanyway, I digress.

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Dogs say “the bigger the belly, the better the pillow, we like it!”

The funny thing about my colleague’s question was that I didn’t have the answer. Yes, I was a pregnant woman in my third trimester… BUT I had no idea how much weight I’d gained… isn’t that weird? I couldn’t even guess what I weighed.

Why? Well let me tell you.

I was around 5 months pregnant, I went into the doctor’s office for a checkup. I was feeling fabulous! The extreme morning sickness I’d had for months prior had worn off and I’d even started running daily again. I felt good. Then the doctor’s assistant called me in and told me to jump on the scale, one of those old fashioned metal ones that only doctors offices still have. As she was sliding that stupid bar up and up, my anxiety started to skyrocket and my confidence plummeted. She wrote down the number. I cringed.

I walked (waddled) into the little room and waited for the doctor. How could this happen? How had I gained so much more weight than I thought? When the doc came in I told how angry I was at her stupid giant scale and my stupid giant belly that was weighing it down. Then she said the most freeing words to me I’d heard my whole pregnancy…

“Then stop getting weighed.”

What? I could do that?!?!? How was this not relayed to me as an option earlier?

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The only thing better than not being weighed at the doctor is going to get ice cream after the doctor.

The doctor elaborated, “Of course. I refused to get weighed when I was pregnant. As long as your baby is getting bigger and you’re both healthy, it doesn’t matter what you weigh. Just say no next time.”

Say no. I could say no!!! By golly gosh.

Flash forward a month, at my next doctor’s appointment. I was sitting in the waiting area… preparing. I could say no. I will say no. I can say no. I will say no. Why the heck was this such a big deal? I’ve been taught my whole life to be a strong, confident woman and I can’t say no to a 25 year old sitting behind a desk. Then the moment came.

“Alright Alex, let’s get you weighed.”

“NO!!” (shit, I think I said that a little loud. So I cleared my throat, ahem) “No thanks! I’m not going to get weighed anymore this pregnancy.” “……The doctor said it’s okay!!!!” I added for good measure.

Then the best thing ever happened… she put a big cross through the area where my weight was supposed to be recorded for the remaining of my pregnancy.

 

I DID IT!!!!

 

So, flash forward to when that colleague of mine (who probably just had no idea what to say when he bumped into me while getting coffee) asked how much weight I’d gained, I truly didn’t know.

When you’re a pregnant woman, your body suddenly becomes public property. People touch you, they ask very personal questions and often, the focus is on YOUR body.

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Croptops -perfect for big, pregnant bellies.

It’s up to YOU to take the (negative) focus off. Your body is taking on the GIANT task of growing a human, so give it a break and give yourself a break. Focus on the beauty of what you’re doing and the absolute blessing of what’s growing inside that big belly.

The next time someone asks about your belly or size, throw it back at them!! Be your body’s advocate. “Gosh I’m tired of talking about my size, can you ask about the baby instead?!” Or if you’re a little bit direct and rude like I am, saying “screw you” and giving someone the middle finger seems to get the point across too.

Whatever. Just be a badass big bellied rockstar of a pregnant woman. It’s much more fun anyway.

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Badass pregnant women use pugs as accessories.

Whose Body is This?

I took this picture six days after my baby was born. I took it after I had a shower (ah, glorious shower). I’d been so tired from my newborn baby and so sore from my c-section that I hadn’t showered since I was in the hospital.

I looked down.

Whose body is this?

Knees still weak from 24 hours of labour.
A terribly sore midsection from my resulting c-section.
On closer inspection, an incision line still raw, cut, so my perfect baby boy could be pulled out safely.
These bruises, where did they come from?
This squishy tummy with no baby inside.
Bits of tape left all over my body from the IV and epidural that had been strapped to me.
Blood running down my leg from the mass exodus my uterine lining was making – no baby left to cushion.
My breasts, huge, veiny and engorged. Leaking milk.

Whose body is this?

Eventually, I had to pry my eyes away. Oh my eyes, burning from sleep deprivation. And my mind, desperate to go over what happened this last week but not one ounce of energy to think about myself.

All I could muster up the energy to do was take a picture. I needed to remember this moment. Little did I know it would forever be burned in my memory.

Along with the question.

Whose body is this?

9 months later, I stare in the same mirror. The bruises: gone, the incision: faded. But the question remains.

Whose body is this?

Cellulite, oh the cellulite.
Will these stretch marks ever go away?
Breasts, still leaking milk but no longer so swollen and sore.
Were my nipples this big before?! Will they ever go back to normal?
My bulging tummy gone but a flabby one remaining.
Hello abs, are you still in there?
My back so sore from hauling around a giant baby.

I whisper something to myself, the same thing I told myself yesterday the day before, “It’s okay Alex. One day this body will feel like yours again.”

But for now, the question burns through.

Whose body is this?