I am terrified of the whole pregnancy process. I should have bore all of my children when I was young and naive because the older I get the more complications I have seen or learned about from friends and loved ones. Things like my twin sister’s carpal tunnel (which would be great to experience as an oral surgeon), or her HELLP syndrome which almost killed her (and is much more likely to occur to me as a close relative), or friends on months bedrest or with early deliveries and complications, etc.
But sometimes the thing that really freaks me out is the body changes. Vain I know! I probably shouldn’t admit that and I’m not sure why it makes me so worried but I get depressed just thinking about it. Maybe it is because it is easy to say, “I wont be THAT girl” with the 9 months of morning sickness or the pre-eclampsia. But I can’t shake the feeling that I WILL be that girl this time.
Or maybe it is because I feel like I’m trying so hard to get my body to a place I am happy with now, that I am afraid to “mess it up.” I feel like there is now a new cultural phenomenon of “supermodel mom” where you are expected to be an uber-fashionable, thin, beautiful pregnant woman. Gone are the days of eating whatever you wanted for nine months, wearing sweats, and getting a free pass on your looks. Now, the norm seems to be adorable tiny women with their little basketball bellies, running marathons in their 8th month, and of course, documenting it with shots of them looking beautiful and cuddling that belly with all the emotion they can muster. And of course, looking like they stepped out of the salon in their hospital bed in the post delivery pictures and looking great in a bikini a month later. It doesn’t help that celebrities are back in the movies or walking the runways looking just as fit as ever within months (and sometimes weeks) of childbirth, sans stretch marks. I must not be the only one noticing this trend as I just found this article the other day about moms hating their bodies.
I haven’t been pregnant yet so maybe it is silly to worry about this as I don’t really know what my pregnancy will be like. But deep down I do. I am terrified I will be one of the “Blueberries.”
I remember Abe and I were at church one day when a very pregnant mother came in wearing a very blue dress. She looked so round and blue that Abe and I couldn’t help but think of a single large blueberry (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Since that time, “Blueberry” has been our catch phrase for the women who really are taking the pregnancy thing with all it has to offer – swollen feet, faces, and bellies (including the matching button)! You know who I’m talking about, the Brittany Spears and Jessica Simpsons of the world. And one day, me: Blueberry Girl.
I want to brush this idea off. If a woman is ever allowed to look fat or tired or simply not her best, than shouldn’t this be the time? Instead I feel an incredible sense of dread. I hope when I have that little baby bobbing around inside me I will feel the wonder of new life and the excitement of being a parent. Instead, I worry I wont be gorgeous like my friend Amber above (who was nice enough to let me showcase her amazing picture—thanks Amber!) and my mind wanders to the many otherwise in-shape and attractive women on my plastic surgery rotation seeking tummy tucks and boob jobs to augment their stretch marks and saggy skin—the toll of motherhood on their otherwise great bodies.
I try to remember my sister Amber’s perspective. Although she is my “younger” sister, she is very wise. I stole this picture and caption from her blog. She could have died during her pregnancy with her first child and you can see it in her face in this picture (she normally is much more beautiful). But I love the mentality that it is “evidence of the best sacrifice I ever made.” I hope I can remember that, even if I do become like a swollen fruit while pregnant or am left hoping for a tummy tuck after!