Week 14 ~ May 8, 2004
~ The Body Pregnant
I have become so vain. Whenever I catch a glimpse of my reflection - in a mirror, shopwindow, etc. - I almost always take a moment to check the size of my growing tummy. I pull my shirt tight around me and examine the small bulge, wondering if others are noticing it yet.
Charon notices. Whenever she sees me checking out my belly, she asks if she can give the baby a kiss. And Pete always smiles when I lift my shirt to show him the baby.
I've told some friends how ready I am to start showing, and they reassure me that they already notice a difference in my midsection. I think my whole waist and hips area has thickened, and that's good. I'm tall, so I think there is some room for baby to grow into me length-wise before having to stretch out in front of me.
I know that with Charon, it took awhile for others to recognize I was pregnant. I was teaching 7th grade English at the time, and I had decided to wait and tell my students about the pregnancy once one of them guessed. (Seventh graders are often completely upfront, letting you know what they are thinking.) One day in April, when I was about five months pregnant, several girls in my morning class approached me. They shyly inquired as to whether I was expecting. They were so considerate about it, being careful not to offend me if it wasn't the case. I told them yes, and the due date, and told them they could share the news with others. By the end of the hour, after the whispers had traveled around the room, we were discussing my pregnancy as a class.
I remember the news spreading through the halls, and looking forward to seeing which student in each class period would be the first one to confront me with it directly. I have a very clear (and sweet) memory of getting up in front of my fourth period class to start the lesson. As I began to explain what we would be doing today, D----'s hand shot up, and I called on him. "Are you going to have a baby, Ms. M?" I laughed, said yes, and answered a few more questions about the baby before we began our work.
This time, at 3.5 months, I think they'd already be guessing. (Especially if they caught me preening in front of the classroom window, or my computer screen!)
I think the pregnant body is really beautiful. I just started taking a prenatal yoga class - Yay! Check off one of my goals! - and it is so fun to guess which month each of the women are in. Everyone's body is different, and handles pregnancy a little differently. I've always thought yoga poses look so graceful, something like a quiet dance, and looking around the room at everyone posing with their rounded middles is quite lovely and amazing.
When I was pregnant last summer, I had Pete take pictures of my growing belly. I had forgotten about these, and one day in December I finally decided to download photos from my digital camera. There was my tiny baby inside me, my miscarried baby. It helped me to remember the reality of the pregnancy. I saved some other things to help me remember - the pregnancy test, my notes from my midwife appointments, my D&E paperwork - but the photos of my little belly made that pregnancy tangible to me again.
I haven't yet taken any photos of my belly this time. I promise to do that this week.