The Secret Life of Baby Bellies

11
Sep
2012
belly

Confession: before I got pregnant I was fascinated by pregnant bellies. I would watch pregnant women moving around the world, going to meetings, buying groceries, talking on the phone, acting completely natural. One hand idly resting on the shelf of their stomach while they continued to look and sound and behave the same way they did before a human being started growing inside of them. I couldn't understand how they could be so casual about it....weren't they obsessed with their bellies? Wasn't every glimpse of it a reminder of the bizarre fact of having a PERSON inside of you? Looking at them, a voice deep down inside me would scream "How can you sit there and act like nothing is going on?!?"


I’ve made no secret of the fact that I consider pregnancy to be one of the greatest #swindles of all time. There is just so much bullshit involved that I cannot believe people willingly do this to themselves. And I’ve had it easy, I know. I hear horror stories every day of just how bad this shit can be.

The one shining light of this experience is the fact that I was an early shower. I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks, had a noticeable bump at 6, and was so obviously pregnant that I had to tell my co-workers by 10 weeks. At 16 weeks I was measuring 20 and now at 18 weeks I am what can best be described as huge.

And I fucking love it.

I don’t know why exactly, but having a pregnant belly is just so fun. And infinitely fascinating…to me at least. I cannot pass a mirror without checking out my bump to see if it’s gotten bigger since I last looked. And before you judge me for being ridiculous, let me say for the record that moretimes it has. And although it’s considered very poor form to touch a pregnant woman’s belly uninvited, I fucking love it. Please keep this in mind if you should happen to see me in the next 22 weeks.

So here is a collection of random thoughts about my belly.

Here’s another confession: I think that whole “making a heart with your hands” shit going on in the above photo is corny as shit. And yet I find myself doing it in the elevator mirror at work at least once a day. I can’t help it! If you’re visibly pregnant and in front of a mirror you have to check out your belly. And you have to put your hands on it to be able to tell how big it’s getting. And once your hands are on there they seem to migrate into a heart shape all on their own. It’s unavoidable.

The thing about a pregnant belly is that you really do have to have your hands on it all the time. When you’re standing, it feels a bit precarious, and holding on to it helps you feel more secure. When you’re sitting it’s annoying – it’s in your way. And like anything annoying – a hangnail, and ingrown hair, a scab – you have to just put your hands on it all the time.

I have a relatively big tattoo on my belly that I always worried about before I got pregnant. But so far it’s still intact and doesn’t look any different than it ever did.

My belly has grown to near-epic proportions but I’ve only gained 2lbs. And the babies are only about 5 inches long and only weigh about 10oz each. How the fuck does that work?

When your baby moves inside you in early pregnancy it doesn’t feel much different from gas. In fact I’m pretty sure that 40% of the time that I thought I felt flutters it was really just my lunch on its way out.

The world love pregnant women. They really do. Except patrons of the TTC who still don’t give up their seats. Whenever someone looks at me, looks at my belly, and grinds their (lazy) ass deeper into their seat, I think of @dryjayjack. Not because he’s the kind of asshole who would do that, but because of a post he once wrote on his blog about why he won’t give up his seat on the Metro just because a woman is wearing heels. Whenever someone refuses to give up their seat for me I start to get annoyed and then I think “welp. They’re not responsible for my life choices”.

But I side-eye them all the same.

A pregnant belly is like a planet inhabited by random pains. My shit hurts all the time. Whether it’s because I just ate and I feel like I’m about to bust open, or stretching pains, or who knows what, I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.

Also? Bending over or lifting your legs while you’re lying down will make you beg for mercy.

Newfangled headphones are not at all conducive to playing music for your belly. I need some of those old school Walkman joints. I sometimes try sticking my headphones into my navel but it’s rapidly disappearing.

Oh there’s another one – my navel is disappearing. This freaks me the fuck out. The one thing I don’t want – that I’m sure to end up with – is one of those navels that sticks out so badly you can see it through my clothes. That’s just creepy.

There are a million different textures in your belly. Some points are soft like dough, others hard as a rock. Some feel like there is a giant bubble just beneath your skin, sometimes you poke at it and feel something you’re positive is a part of the baby’s body – even though you know that’s impossible.

For me having a belly makes me feel like I’m part of a secret club. I expect every other pregnant person I know to instantly want to e my bff (They don’t). And when I see other soon-to-be mommies on the street I feel an immediate kinship and I stare meaningfully at them, ostentatiously rubbing my belly and grimacing to illicit the commiseration that is the secret handshake of pregnancy. But mostly they just ignore me completely – too fascinated with their own bellies to notice mine is my guess – or look at me strangely.

I guess this secret club is so secret that it only exists in my mind.

But as much as I’m obsessed with my belly, I do often forget about it. Sometimes I’m in meetings or in line somewhere and I’ll catch some young girl staring at me in fascination and I’ll be like – what the fuck are you staring at?? And then I remember. Oh right – you’re looking at me and thinking “how they can you be so casual about that belly? Aren’t you obsessed with it?  How can you sit there and act like nothing is going on?!?”

What say you fellow mommies out there? What was having a baby belly like for you? And my as-yet-un-knocked up ladies: are you as puzzled by baby bumps as I once was? Speak on it in the comments.

 

 

 



29 Comments

  • I’m still reading this post but had to comment… HOW HAVE YOU ONLY GAINED 2LBS???

    I know you and I know that you did not have any type of belly before. Where has the weight gone? I just don’t understand. Baby physics is weird.

    • Oh, I also must add that pregnancy still seems very sci-fi to me. Like dude, THERE’S A PERSON GROWING IN YOU. I know it’s the circle of life and all but seriously… mind. blown.

    • max says:

      Ha! I don’t get it either, but from the back I look exactly the same as always (except a slight waddle) and from the front I have this gigantic belly that feels like it weighs 10lbs all on its own. I keep waiting for the day that I wake up and I’m 10 times my size.

    • HLBB says:

      I wondered the same thing too.
      And I’m jealous.

      If I don’t hit the gym at least 3 times a week, I gain 2 lbs.

      This one has a duo growing inside her and that’s it.

      Am I allowed to be jealous?

      Also, as one who is without child… they don’t fascinate me in the same way. I do wonder how does one have sex with a belly…

      (yes…that’s where my mind goes)

      The baby MOVING in the belly? It both fascinates and freaks me out.

  • IrieDiva says:

    aaaawwww cute…i’ll revisit when ur at week 30 – 35 and really know what “huge” means especially since you’re having twins…twins?!?!?! on your tiny body? *passes out*

    lol good luck on your journey homie. i didn’t have any horror stories either but im still in no rush to get knocked up again. the heart burn, the constipation, the can’t find a position to sleep in, the not being able to walk for 5 minutes without needing a chair, the 9 month long morning sickness that lasts all day…yeah im good.

    • max says:

      Hahaha yeah I cannot imagine what I’ll look like at 35 weeks. I’m guessing something like a pickup truck?

      And I’m dreading the onset of heartburn. Insomnia and permanent discomfort is bad enough!

  • Reecie says:

    I love this post. you know I love this post! I told you I am fascinated by pregnant bellies too. omg I will probably act just like this when I get a bun in the oven. LMAO. and I am totally one of those women that stares at pregnant people. I went to the gyn about a month ago and was in awe at alllllllll the women there in your “secret club”

    I’m so happy you’re happy :-)

    • max says:

      Thanks Reecie!
      My mum is always telling me about how many pregnant women are at her gym. I feel dry that I have pretty much abandoned working out. But I hope I’m around to see you pregnant. You will be soooo cute!

  • Amos Banks says:

    The most tripped out part about the belly is during the last week or so. Take your tongue and poke out your cheek. You will see that coming out of your stomach. Just like Alien!

  • Krystllyght says:

    This is such a sweet post! I felt the exact same way during my first pregnancy and I did feel like I was in some sort of club because my sister and my brother-in-law’s girlfriend were both pregnant at the same time. They didn’t get stretchmarks tho, those heifers. I remember telling somebody that during my first pregnancy, I was my most happy in my entire life. I expected the same thing with my second but that was not the case even tho I remember gushing and crying to totally random people how great my hubby was. They were like, that’s great O_O. I was pregnant with a friend so that was fun but my job had me crammed in a seat all day and I gained upwards of fifty pounds so it was a little more painful. I wound up having to put my keyboard in my lap. All in all, they were both still great experiences. What I found funny during my second pregnancy was how many guys were into it. I’d never seen so many dudes interested in asking about the gender or due date. It was a little strange. Maybe because the crowd was older this time. You sound like you’re having the time of your life! Best of luck!

    • max says:

      I’ve found that too – that men are far more interested in the intricacies of pregnancy than I would have imagined. My male coworkers have millions of questions for me…and they’re a lot better at stomaching the gross stuff than the females!

  • Gem says:

    max iCackled @ the thought of you sticking your headphones in our belly button! hilarious.

    this post makes me so giddy. i love babies and hearing about expectant mothers. and your experiences with your belly are so fun/funny! i cant wait til its me! well, i can wait, and i will wait a tad longer.

    this post totally made my morning :) but try and eat things that will actually help you gain some weight to cushion those babies max! carrots and lettuce arent doing it ;-)

    • max says:

      Girl I try so hard to eat as much as possible but apparently I’m not hitting it. Before I got pregnant I hardly ate and pretty much existed on bagels and french fries. Now I’m so starving that I’m eating more and better than ever but STILL not gaining anything. But the doctor says the insurgents are a good size so I guess they’re working it out.

      • Gem says:

        well if they are healthy, thats all the matters.

        i will NEVER know the swindle struggle of eating and not gaining weight. right now im THINKING about my lunch and my stomach is expanding… *sigh*

        • max says:

          It’s so bizarre…I’ve been unnaturally fixated on my weight my entire life. And the one time I want to and should gain weight is the one time it’s eluding me!

  • LOVE THIS! In large part because it is this whole different side of Max (still you but an additional layer of complexity)! Anywho, Tanya, I’ve always thought that growing babies inside of you is some crazy ish! WE.GROW.PEOPLE. To me, that seems 100% less realistic than believing a stork if going to drop a newborn off at the nursery down the hall.

    Other random thoughts: Haha @ your headphones aaaaaaaaand despite what you say, I still believe that every pregnant woman is part of some secret club, complete with secret handshakes and err’thang!

    Excited to keep following your journey into new motherhood,

    LC

  • quiche says:

    Pregnancy just looks too uncomfortable for me .

  • I love the honesty of this post. You managed to capture all the things I’m deathly afraid of in my distant future as well as all the things I will be sure to say aww about it.

    I love it. And if I see you, I’ll give you my seat and then reach down and touch your belly gingerly.

    :)

    P.S. I live in el ay, and never ride public transit, so I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll run into you but… lol. Just in case.

  • Nnenna says:

    At 8 weeks, I was HUGE as well, but unlike you it was with one child. Let me not scare you with what happened while he was coming out.

    I remember running for a crowded tube and making it just in time. All the men started despite the fact that I was 4 months pregnant and I just smiled at them. A woman gave me her seat in the end. She was so embarrassed. I didn’t give them side eye though. I was too busy being zen by stroking my belly!

  • killa says:

    we’ve got those retro walkman headphones! gonna have to get a pair of those for the three of you :)

  • Sheena Rina says:

    Yup fully agree, pregnancy is the biggest lie that ever got sold. Not magical at all. In fact, it hurts like a mutha! You have two inside you, I only have one…he enjoys punching my vagina and kicking my ribs.

    One thing I always wanted was the belly…-_- 27 weeks. Still no significant belly. I look like I’m 12 weeks. I’m so disappointed. So now all I do is stare at other women who are obviously all ginourmous and way behind me in their pregnancies.

    :) You’ll be having your dating scan soon. Lovely. That scan was pretty awesome.

    xxx

  • Cara Mia says:

    Oh my dear, welcome to being pregnant with twins. In my first trimester, I actually lost 21 lbs, but still managed to grow a gut. I was sick as a dog from the hormones…like violently ill, and still my stomach grew rapidly, because…well…there is more than one kid inside.

    I loved my belly though. Even when my ugly disgusting stretch marks showed up (around 6 months, when I was measuring 40 around, as would a full term pregnant woman) I still loved it. When the babies start getting bigger, and space starts getting tighter, the kicks that were once gas bubbles, and then cute tiny flutters become what I used to call shark fins. You start to see a hand lift up a portion of your stomach and then it travels down or up just like a shark’s fin peeking out of the water. Knees and elbows were the big sharks, poking up and roaming around.

    I took endless pictures of my belly. I didn’t share very many, but I will try to find you so I can add you on FB so you can see how giant it got. Literally, from the front, I didn’t look huge, but when I turned to the side, I was like a torpedo. And strangers would rub. they would rub, and put ears to my belly, and sometimes even shout at it. That was the most annoying because that would occassionally wake up the sleeping “wombmates” and send them into a disrupted schedule frenzy.

    I used to cradle my belly towards the end, and kind of waddle around, hoping nothing just tumbled out, because it felt so heavy. I wore this thing called a “tummy tube” that helpd me feel secure and supported, but even still, I did always have a hand above and below, kind of holding the giant mass in place whenever I would move, so that I felt better and contained.

    Finally, I wish i could be there with you on the train to swear at every one of those jerks who wouldn’t move for you. People are supposed to be nice to pregnant women. Its like, your one time in life where literally no one, even the most racist, classist old man, can say or do anything mean because you are providing the world with life. I would most certainly yell at everyone who remained seated, and make sure they knew that you had more than one baking, so they felt even worse.

  • Aaaaargh, I really want a kid (or two) but I just want it to appear in my arms… And I want my body and hairline to be intact (like I was never even pregnant) very realistic I know! *read sarcasm*
    Very nicely written Max!

    C+C

  • Natassia says:

    I’ve just has twins myself, well 6 months ago but I always used to hold onto my belly. I felt like if I didn’t they might just fall out!! It was my second pregnancy ans everything felt so different. Trust me once u have those twins you really will feel like you’re in a club. Tour know how many people approach me in the street now just to talk about the babies or tell me they’re a twin! And everyone has that look of admiration for you like ‘how the fuck u have twins and still look decent?’ And most times they will straight up ask you. Good luck from one mother of twins to another. You’ve got so much fun ahead!!

  • No Labels says:

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I admit, I’m fascinated by the whole aspects of pregnancy. I have never been pregnant, but I definitely would like to someday. Thanks for sharing your experiences–I actually look forward to going through the same discoveries and aggravations as you are currently experiencing.

  • miss cosmic says:

    er. haven’t been here in a minute, but my jaw literally dropped. the great max logic is not only monogamous, but PREGNANT too? maybe the mayans were right and the world really is ending on friday after all. lol. congratulations max! *picks jaw up from floor*

  • Alex says:

    Pregnancy, bellies, babies, and all that has always creeped me out. Whenever I’ve seen a pregnant woman I cannot help but stare, and the reason why I do it is because I wonder why they are doing this lol. Don’t get me wrong, I know our species has to live on but seriously, pregnancy scares me.


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