I’ve so been looking forward to catching up with you. Grab a coffee or tea, here’s where my head is at…the everchaning pregnant body, grief during pregnancy, and green tea.
In my late 20’s and early/mid 30’s, I struggled heavily with my body image.
Most, if not all, of those struggles, were the result of impossible societal standards pressed on young girls, passing comments about other women’s bodies (so and so has gained weight, she shouldn’t wear that, they could lose a few pounds), and of course, my own issues around what I thought a woman’s body was “supposed” to look like if it were to be deemed beautiful or acceptable.
I’ve never dieted, although I had moments in college when all I did was smoke cigs and chug Pepsi with Splenda and that time during my brief career on television when I ate grapefruits galore, drank coffee like it was going out of business, and of course, lots of cigs. It wasn’t on purpose but it didn’t hurt that it kept me teeny tiny and maybe a little hyper. Just what the camera wants!
The word skinny is all a bunch of bullshit…but it took me a long time to realize that. It’s just a word – a damaging and dangerous one at that, but a word we hear and is imprinted in us from the time we are 12 until forever. A word that is synonymous with beautiful and healthy. Even now, one of the most coveted compliments a woman may hear is:
You look skinny.
When someone says that to me, I think, shit, what did I look like before?
These days I have an ever-growing belly that seems to change daily and the truth is, I have never felt more feminine and dare I say, beautiful, in my life. I truly didn’t know or even think I was going to be that woman.
For a very long time I wasn’t ready to start a family because I didn’t want to lose my freedom (come July, that’s shot), and nor did I want to lose my figure or “ruin” my body with scars, stretch marks, and weight gain.
After my laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis, I received my first round of scars. Two on the side of my abdomen, one under my belly button, and speaking of belly buttons, the one I have now looks nothing like the one I had pre-March 2021.
My body really never went back to the way it was pre-surgery. Along with a diagnosis and healing, I was left with a little belly I never really had before. IVF medications and hundreds of shots to the abdomen didn’t help my cause in the months to come.
But here’s the thing, those scars gave me answers to lifelong pain and probably played a role in my getting pregnant.
Sure, I don’t know what I will look like a month after giving birth, but I’m a fairly realistic kind of gal and know that I will yet have an entirely new body to get used to. It will take time, patience, self-compassion, and some work to grow back into the skin I am in, but right now, at this very moment, I am loving this body of mine.
It’s weird to say that because I feel like I avoided it for so long.
I often find myself admiring my growing belly while looking in our full-length mirror, taking photos, and sending them to anyone that cares including friends that live far away and my dad. Oftentimes, Anthony and I laugh so hard at the end of the day when my bump appears extra round and hard. Every morning he rubs me like Buddha’s belly and says good morning to our growing baby. I love how much he loves it.
Yesterday, I had a moment that paused me. I was texting my 16-week bump to loved ones when I had this exceptionally strong urge to text my mom. My thumbs almost pulled up her number without me being able to stop them…but then I did.
Grief and dealing with the loss of June hits me differently during pregnancy. I feel like of all the things she and I had experienced in life together, this journey to motherhood would be the one we’d relate most to as mother and daughter.
When I feel this way, I remind myself that grief is just love that was once given and longs to be felt again. It can be comforting in a macabre kind of way.
I guess it goes without saying that I love being pregnant and honestly, sometimes, that alone surprises the shit out of me.
A few days back I randomly played the audio version of Gloria Steinem’s In Praise of Women’s Bodies – which I highly recommend you read or listen to. It’s short, sweet, and insanely powerful. I will leave you with two of my favorite quotes from her essay:
“But many of women’s body scars have a very different context, and thus an emotional power all their own. Stretch marks and Cesarean incisions from giving birth are very different from accident, war, and fight scars. They evoke courage without violence, strength without cruelty, and even so, they’re far more likely to be worn with diffidence than bragging. That gives them a moving, bittersweet power, like seeing a room where a very emotional event in our lives once took place.”
“Perhaps we’ll only be fully at ease with ourselves when we can appreciate scars as symbols of experience, often experiences that other women share, and see our bodies as unique chapters in a shared story.”
In other news:
I was on the hunt for a beautiful loose green tea and found what I was looking for at La Grange’s very own tea shop, Wonderful Matcha. What a gem that shop is…same goes for the folks that work there.
Verzenay Bakery in Lincoln Park is one of the most beautiful Parisian bakeries I have ever stepped foot in. The drinks and the food/pastries were exceptional. Get there. Now, I’ve got to get to Paris.
Lately, I’ve been whipping up matcha latte’s because they are just so darn delicious. In the event you’d like to try one yourself, here’s a delicious recipe by Love & Lemons.
If you’re wondering why all the green tea, I’ve always wanted to add more into my everyday life and also the added brain and health benefits.
The Lost Daughter Review (Netflix)…ehhh, love Olivia Coleman, did not love this film. Anyone else watch it? Thoughts?
A friend told me about the Nestig three-way convertible crib and I think this is the one! Such a sleek and innovative brand! Very Scandi too.
It’s been a pleasure catching up, let’s chat more in the comments below. Hope to hear from you!
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