Friday, February 15, 2013

Blueberry Girl


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!



suz said...

I guess I passed on my "not-so-good-breeding-stock genes.

In the olden days, people like us died during childbirth so only the true breeding stock women survived to pass their genes along.

However, thanks to modern medicine, we are all still alive. I didn't die while trying to deliver you and your twin sister. I am grateful to have 5 great children though I had 4 (twins) rough and very blueberry pregnancies. What a miracle.So, bad preggo genes and all, I attest that it is worth it. (Of course, I never considered myself to be beautiful before I started having children so it wasn't much of a let-down when I still wasn't beautiful after.)ha ha ha

Rachel said...

oh no, I hope I wasn't the blueberry but I could totally see how I may have been. I was huge. but pregnancy IS awesome and amazing. and when you do it, you will hate it, but look back in total awe of the most amazing thing a body can ever do. It truly is.

Anonymous said...

The first two babies I didn't need a tummy tuck, but I must say I do now. Ha ha. Any way, the babies are worth the body changes and the complications I was so proud of myself after two c-sections, I had a vbac and although painfull, I'm glad modern medicine is around to help me do this. You'll make a great mom erin, trust me you can get your body back af terward.

Erin said...

Rachel I wasn't talking about you! You are right, pregnancy is probably the coolest thing a body can do.

Mom, I try not to blame you but sometimes I can't help it! But I should be grateful to be alive. Pregnancy is a big sacrifice.

And anonymous, I need to be less afraid or more excited that I will hopefully be able to accomplish something that cool.

Diana said...

Erin, I am certain your body will bounce back after pregnancy. With both of my kids, my post-pregnancy weight dropped much below my pre-pregnancy weight. My drive to lose the weight combined with nursing was a great weight loss initiative. I remember when I stayed at your place in the middle of my pregnancy. I felt like such a 'blueberry' then as well. It's hard to let go and let the body change in so many ways. And having Mark's babies doesn't help. His long babies make my belly grow so much! I'm sure you'll have Abe to blame for a good portion of rotundness due to his height. Nevertheless, when it happens, enjoy the process as much as possible. One nice perk (or perhaps I should say two!) is that I had the most amazing rack while pregnant.

Anonymous said...

Your blog makes you sound like a very selfish person who spends their time worrying about silly things. And calling someone blueberry girl is strait up bitchy.

Erin said...

I am sure you are right! I am selfish and I do worry about silly things at times. Don't we all?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your honesty in stating the very natural concerns that are almost universally felt by women as they contemplate pregnancy and childbirth.
To the other "anonymous" I would ask why the rancor in response to a series of blogs that seem to me to be a sincere attempt to share candid thoughts in a safe, supportive environment?
Erin, if we can't laugh at ourselves and with each other its a pretty sad commentary. I was DEFINITELY a blueberry! I think its kind of a cute way to describe that huge, round way we all feel like we look sometimes, (and the fact that your sister in law even feels that way is proof of how distorted our thinking can be) as well as a good reminder to not go monochromatic in those later months:-)
Until you've experienced it no one can prepare you for how worth it the birthing of new life is. However your child enters the world, when it is in your arms the real magic begins to happen!

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