At 36 weeks pregnant I’m feeling pretty huge. As you can see from the bulging belly, my baby’s getting bigger and, by dint of being pregnant, so am I. My feet are puffy, my backside is wobbly and my hips are full. I also have bigger boobs, a bigger pocket of flesh under my chin and bigger thighs.
It’s fair to say I am big with a capital B.
But you know what? That’s OK. BECAUSE I AM GROWING A HUMAN.
The other day I got a press release. It was just the latest in a long line of bombardment about body image and guilt that made me roll my eyes before waddling off and eating a piece of cake. The press release started something like, “If you’re pregnant or have just have a baby and are worried about losing that extra weight then….. ” and there it lost my attention. Because, you know what? At 36 weeks pregnant the LAST thing I’m worried about is losing weight.
My main concern at the moment is how I’m going to get my knickers on in the morning without falling over. If I’ve managed to make it to 9am without forgetting something then I’m winning. I’m worried about giving birth, about how I’ll juggle a newborn with a four year old, about my daughter’s reaction to being a big sister, about the demands of breastfeeding, about how I’ll cope on two hours sleep a night… the list goes on. It’s fair to say I’ve got a lot on my mind – but my weight isn’t one of them.
I don’t think I’m alone either. Most new mums I know are too busy getting to grips with their baby’s latch or working out the best brand of nappy to fret over shedding their new love handles or getting a “rock hard stomach”. Experience tells me that after you’ve had a baby it takes a while before you can stop looking at your new bundle of joy with awe and actually focus on your own face in the mirror – let alone the rest of your body.
It took me a good few weeks to accept my changing body shape and get to grips with the fact I wasn’t fat – I was pregnant. Now, a month before I’m due to give birth, I actually quite like my body. It’s done something amazing by getting this far in the whole baby-making process. Despite what the body image police would have you think, I reckon my big pregnant belly is the first thing people probably notice about me at the moment – not the slightly larger behind and wobbly bingo wings.
I’ve enjoyed looking after myself this pregnancy, going to regular yoga and aquanatal classes. I’ve eaten healthily and drank lots of water. But it’s not been because I was trying to curb the weight gain – there’s only so much you can do about that anyway. I’ve looked after myself because I want to feel healthy and give myself some tlc. Being able to walk up and down the beach rocking a tiny bikini and tight bum cheeks couldn’t be further from my mind.
I’m calling time on all the “Get Back Into Shape Quickly!” campaigns. I know that when the time comes and I feel ready I’ll don the trainers and go for a jog, or sign up to some postnatal yoga. And I’m sure I’ll moan to my husband at some point about wanting to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, I’m only human after all. But right now? Just as I’m about to give birth? I don’t think so.
I’m not going to be a “Snap Straight Back Into Shape Mum”. And I honestly don’t care. I’ve got bigger things on my mind.