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SOME THOUGHTS ON BEING 26 WEEKS PREGNANT, AGAIN

This morning I got a push-notification on my phone from the BabyCenter app, followed shortly after by an email with the same cheerful information: you’re 26 weeks pregnant, and have only 14 weeks to go!

That’s not a lot of time. I know from my experience waiting for Vivienne that it could be 16 more weeks, and I know from lots of my friends’ experiences that it could be more like 12. Regardless, I now have a Google spreadsheet entitled “To do before baby 2,” and have been filling it with every nesting impulse idea that comes to mind.

It’s a mean trick that my pregnant body feels best and most full of energy right when it starts to become physically difficult to do house projects. For the first time in months, I found myself moving furniture around this week and wiping up dusty corners that no one has or will see. Today my belly and back are protesting that decision.

. . .

I am having a harder time accepting my body’s changes this time. With my pregnancy with Viv, I felt more open to my body growing bigger and rounder, and was generally positive about the shape I took. I’m not sure why but it feels harder to surrender to that now, and admitting it makes me feel very silly and vain.

The other night I took a prenatal yoga class, and felt great wearing these bright, loud maternity leggings. In the middle of class and one of the warrior poses, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror in the back of the studio. It was shocking. I did not look how I was expecting to look in that moment. My belly and my butt, in part because of the pose, were sticking out quite far and I had to fight the urge to hop out of the pose so that no one would see me like that any more. So that I would see me like that anymore. I knew then and I know now it was ridiculous but it’s how I felt!

I’m also more sensitive to the comments people make about my pregnant body this time around. Or I’m letting them get to me more. It’s harder to shrug off the disbelief that I’m not due for another three months when I tell people my due date, or to say something nice when they comment on how big or pregnant or huge I look.

On Viv’s first birthday, Sean and I looked back at how quickly the first year had gone by and how funny it was that we ever obsessed over a particular phase. I’m trying to remember this now as I struggle with my surrendering to my body’s changes. In such a short amount of time, it will be back to being just my own or at least mostly my own. The demands of pregnancy and the early months of breastfeeding will be past, and these thoughts will feel so far away.

. . .

14 weeks, ish. And then this whole other person joins the three-person life that Sean, Viv, and I have spent the past 18 months building, celebrating, and loving. With Viv, I worried she would feel like an intruder into my relationship with Sean but she didn’t, at all. I trust that this baby will not feel like an intruder either and so I find myself curious. What will he or she bring out in me, in Sean, and especially in Vivienne? What will our transition into a family of four be like?

What kind of person will this baby be?

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September 17, 2015 - 9:20 PM

Magdalena O! - I’m curious about your immediate qualifications to feelings about your body, such as “I knew then and I know now it was ridiculous but it’s how I felt!” Why is it ridiculous? What makes it that? Is your body not what you imagine it to be and how does that imagi(in)ing take place? Where does it come from?

I ask, in part, because I’m trying to consider all the ways I interpret my pregnant body, especially in relation to commentary by others. Like you mention about people commenting how “big” you are. This for me is so frustrating because it is selfish and inconsiderate but it also fucks with my own sense of translating what is happening. Like you write about your yoga experience, to me, the internal reactions I have to others make me think I’m being ridiculous sometimes. Like, why do I let it affect me so much? How do I not let them inside me….

also, i looooove this line:
“In such a short amount of time, it will be back to being just my own or at least mostly my own.”

September 17, 2015 - 9:36 PM

whitney - I guess it felt ridiculous to me because I know that what my body is doing is powerful, amazing, and strong. It’s growing a baby and preparing me for labor/birth, which was hands down the most empowering experience of my life so far. And I want to honor that rather than spend time feeling shitty about how I look in a yoga pose. I guess I thought I was gonna look like how I usually look (like me!) but with a little belly and instead I just looked bigger all over. But that’s me too. This is all me.

I don’t know how to not let people in, and to not care. It’s complicated even more, in my mind, because I believe that most people are genuinely trying to be sweet and attentive.

September 17, 2015 - 9:42 PM

whitney - Also, I’ve found that a lot of the world is really sweet and generous to pregnant women. Makes me feel like a jerk for getting annoyed at people’s comments but whatever, it is/I am complicated.

September 17, 2015 - 10:38 PM

Russ Crispell - Whitney… when you were pregnant with Vivienne I saw changes in my daughter that I never realized at that moment that I would experience – and yet, I see you now, an experienced mother and you seem more at peace, more comfortable with “who you are” and what “you are experiencing”… simply put – you look amazing and as always you are my beautiful daughter who is soon to bring into this world another miracle. Just so you know, what I experienced seeing my daughter pregnant with Vivienne made me realize just how incredible you and other women are for the sacrifices and loving commitment you made to bring someone into this world. YOur mom gave me you and Josh and I am for that so thankful… We all owe our mothers the deepest of gratitude for being who they are. I love you, Dad!

September 18, 2015 - 12:10 PM

whitney - Thanks, dad! I appreciate the support and love from you so much!

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