Baby and I have made it to the home stretch! While I don’t think baby will come before his due date (we’re a punctual people), you just never know. So I’ll record my experiences with pregnancy, body image, running, and faith now. Just in case. For those friends and family who’ve wanted to see bump photos…here they are.
Pregnancy & Body Image
I was one of those ladies who liked her body, flaws and all, because I could run far and do dead hang pull ups. I didn’t worry about whether or not something made me look fat or if my husband thought I was attractive.
Then I got pregnant. At 36 weeks and up about 30lbs, I’m not running far or pulling up anything other than my pants. The rapid changes in my body have caused me to question things like,
“Will my husband still think I’m sexy?” and
“Does this outfit make me look fat and frumpy?” and
“How do you possibly recover from a baby coming out of…there?!”
I’ve cried several times over these questions and others (thanks, hormones).
If you’ve ever watched Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (it’s on Netflix) you may recall how “inhumans” react when their dormant alien powers suddenly manifest. It scares them, they can’t control it, some change physically. They’re shocked to realize this is their “true identity” and some wish they could just go back to being a normal human.
That pretty much sums up my entire first and second trimester.
People easily said,
“This is natural. It’s what your body is made to do.”
My initial inner response was,
“It doesn’t feel natural. It’s freaky. I’m out of control. I want to be normal again.”
But then there were also moments where I thought,
“Whoa. I have super powers! Who knows what I’m capable of?”
'My body may never be the same. Doesn't mean it can't be better!' Read Pregnancy & Body Image Click To Tweet
The good news is, the third trimester has brought more acceptance. Probably because once I started feeling the baby move, I started to focus more on him and less on me.
Still, I used to know my body. I knew how to keep it healthy and train it to do what I wanted to do. I remember what my body was once capable of. I know my body will never be “the same”, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better, given time and good training. Plus, there are SOME things I can still do quite well.
Pregnancy & Running
I was 11 weeks pregnant at the Portland Marathon and it was a struggle fest. After that I kept running short and easy into my second trimester. I could feel the expected loosening in my hips/knees, so I focused on good form. At some point, I got frustrated because I couldn’t go far without needing to pee. UGH!
I stopped running regularly in my second trimester. Not because it was uncomfortable or my doctor said I shouldn’t. Mainly because I was really, stupid-tired and a brisk walk was actually accomplishing the same huff and puff and heart rate increase. Now I’ve got the waddle, my hip bones ache like I’ve been running for hours, and even my leg muscles down to my knees feel strained.
THE MATERNITY BELT
Wearing this helps! I started using it when I was still running because it reminded me to maintain good lumbo-pelvic hip position. I wear it now for my walks, trips to the grocery store, or even doing chores around the home. I’ve had little-to-no lower back pain.
This belt is the only maternity thing I’ve purchased. That’s right. Even the maternity capris I live in were a hand-me-down gift from an angel (Katie from MomsLittleRunningBuddy). I can get away with wearing loose workout clothes and things from J’s side of the closet.
Pregnancy & Faith
I feel compelled to say that pregnancy has been amazing and miraculous, but those words don’t feel right. The best way I can describe my feelings so far is…”this is weird.”
Of all the spiritual lessons I could glean from pregnancy, I just come back to the fact that God can’t be fully understood. I may be an outlier here, but I kind of question whether or not God’s idea of growing a baby in a belly and then squeezing it out of a comically small-in-comparison tunnel was really such a genius idea?
Pregnancy has helped me continue to release my illusion of control. Learning how to be better at not borrowing worry from tomorrow. Remembering that God does things His way for reasons that I don’t have to fully get in order to benefit from. I’m human and see the world imperfectly. So yes, some things that are natural and part of God’s design are going to seem alien and weird to me. And that’s OK.
Facing the End of Pregnancy
Random and silly thoughts I have as I face the end of pregnancy:
- “I’m excited for the baby but…I’m counting down to sushi and wine!”
- I catch a mirror-glimpse and think “Whoa, where’d that come from?!”
- And the reverse: “Isn’t my belly supposed to be bigger by now?”
- “Pregnancy hasn’t been bad. I should have an easy labor, right?”
- “I hope baby looks like me.” (I’m adopted – no one in my family looks like me)
- “If he doesn’t look like me we have to have another one.”
Pregnancy is kind of awesome in the fullest sense of the word: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear. Like the “awesome” power of an atomic bomb. Part of you says, “Cool – that can happen?!” and part of you says “$!@# – is that really happening?!”
It is jaw-dropping that my body grew an entire human from a single cell.
It is mind-boggling to imagine somehow that baby human is going to evacuate my body. The lease is running out for my unruly little tenant. Every day I feel him pushing against the confines of his cramped quarters. It won’t be long before he moves out, leaving a mess for me to deal with.
Yet none of that really compares to what’s next. We’ll have an actual baby. HEYO! And that’s what I focus on. Like an immature 15 year old, I kind of plug my ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA” instead of actually visualizing the magical and mysterious process that comes between one moment when baby is in my belly and the moment baby is in my arms.
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