Your Relationship with Your Body Totally Changes During Pregnancy
If you’ve ever done yoga (“My body is a temple. Namaste.”) and then gone out to the bar, lined up shots of the same shit used to clean surgical implements and then grabbed some Doritos and mystery-meat taquitos from 7-11 all in the same day, you are aware that one’s relationship with their body is complicated.
That reality remains very true during pregnancy.
When I was pregnant, my body literally changed all the time. Each new day brought a – often unsettling – surprise in the form of random hair growth, a new area of discomfort on that growing plain you used to call a stomach or a whole host of other possibilities that seemed to come out of nowhere.
Areas on your body that you once didn’t think twice about suddenly itch, ache or throb. Boobs that once looked and felt the same, or at least were predictable around your period, suddenly seem to be reading from a whole new manual. Your nausea, center of gravity and shape all of a sudden make moving around uncertain, awkward or irritating. Tasks that were once second-nature (um, clipping your toenails…?) become next to impossible.
And these are just the small changes.
A larger shift takes place in your body and in your mind. Suddenly a vehicle that you had been relying on to work a certain way and feel a certain way seems to betray you.
When I was pregnant, my body became the enemy. It no longer functioned in the way I had been accustomed to. I felt old, weak and confused – I knew I’d get bigger, but this wasn’t anything like packing on my freshman fifteen. It looked like a body that I no longer recognized. The silhouette I had known all my life warped and changed in a way that was exciting but also scary – what if it never went back?
It was like the constant push and pull of desperately wanting that shiny silver-screen version of an adorable round belly you could balance things on and the reality of being uncomfortable every minute of the day and night. It was a give-and-take of being grateful that you had this amazing thing growing inside of you but being terrified your body would let you down somehow and all your dreams would vanish in an instant.
For me, when it was finally time to deliver, it was like this clarifying day because I finally understood what it was all for.
When you see your body in action, doing this thing that should be impossible, you just marvel. Of course, the nitty-gritty elements of labour and delivery aren’t pretty – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – but what a moment, when you realize your body can do something so earth-shattering. Our bodies are fucking incredible.