Here’s a bit of honesty for you: I don’t like being pregnant. There’s this weird pressure to be in good spirits (which is impossible to be at all times no matter the state of your uterus), deny the anxiety of impending childbirth (which really hurts) and be ok with people who are not medical professionals asking you if you’re dilated (which is super off-putting).
I am extremely grateful that I have not had fertility issues and that I have the ability to bring babies into the world. However, actually being pregnant is not my idea of a good time. The third trimester practice contractions, getting stuck on the couch, constant need to waddle to the bathroom aspects of being this close to meeting my girl are not fun.
Granted, it is fun to watch her foot move across the top of my belly and daydream about holding her and singing her lullabies. To me, pregnancy is a necessary means to a much desired end. It is also one of the few times when the journey is most definitely not the destination. The past 37 weeks have certainly happened. Now I just want to meet my Louise. Because that is the point of all of this anyway.
My body is mine. I know that other people can see it, but seeing is not ownership. Seeing what I look like and knowing what I think and feel are not linked. My body is not a topic for conversation. My body is not the most interesting thing about me, but it can do wonderful things. It can simultaneously hold a toddler and stir a pot. It can walk the dog and push a stroller. It feels sensations and tells me when it has done enough.
So don’t ask me if I am pregnant. What do you hope to gain from it? To make me feel uncomfortable about the perfectly natural thing my body did that made it change? That no matter what I tell myself, I am self-conscious about? To force me to acknowledge that I don’t look “perfect?” To try and force out information that I obviously have chosen not to share? I’m not pregnant, by the way, but you will find out when I am when I choose to tell you.
And don’t suggest that spandex will help. Or that I don’t do sit-ups. I exercise and am in better physical shape than I was before I had a baby. And spandex is uncomfortable. I like to feel at home in my skin and my clothes, not like I’m a sausage.
What will help is for you to not talk about my body. Because it is mine. I take care of it, cover it, and try my very best to love it. It’s mine to share as I will.
So the next person who refers to my “pouch” or asks me in sincerity if I am pregnant is not going to like the end result. Back off. Ask me about what flowers I want to plant this spring or how my child is doing. Ask me my feelings about the weather. Just don’t talk about my body.