Sunday, December 12, 2010

23 weeks pregnant..... (whose body is this, anyway?)



Now that I am entering my 6th month of pregnancy, there have been changes happening over the last few days that are sending my emotions into a whirlwind.
Now I can feel her kicking, and the little fluttering movements I once felt are stronger, and feel like fingers drumming inside my belly. This week I can no longer bend over to put on my socks or boots while standing, and my body has taken on a completely different appearance.

As each change has happened to me physically, they bring on a set of feelings that leave me exhausted with the surrender of one more lesson that this adventure has left me with. Other than marriage, I have not yet traveled on one journey that has made me question who I am, more.


Inside every woman's conscience lies her ability to criticize herself more harshly, and often, than anyone else around her. We begin our battles with insecurity young, often struggling to fit in with the other little girls we are playing dolls with. Our shame and self-awareness comes in the form of our looks, and eventually, our downfalls and insecurities with where our lives are heading.
With each chapter of my life beginning and ending, I have moved in and out of these motions fluidly. They come like an old friend, but not really a friend at all. Rather, a familiar pain or inconvenience that we just grit our teeth and learn to bare through. As the years have gone by and I have found my place of peace in life, these moments fall farther and farther away - until I am almost shocked to find myself in the middle of them again.

And here I find myself on a Friday night, standing in my favorite bikini and staring at a body I don't recognize. In it I find pieces of the old me, my toes and ankle bones (maybe not for long) and a few inches around my upper waist that still feel like the body I call home. I have no idea what possessed me to put it back on for the first time in months. It is in the 30's outside and the beach and Summertime seem like only a figment of my imagination in these dark, cold days.
But I did, anyway. And on my belly, I found little spidery pink lines that I can only imagine are the beginning of what most Mothers like to call their badge of honor. Marks left from 9 months of growing and nurturing and building a human being inside our bodies.

They're here. And no matter how strong and confident we are, something inside us wants to cry out like the little girl playing dolls with her friends that feels left out. Something is so vulnerable, and familiar, and painful.
I needed that moment to feel sorry for myself, but quickly realize that life is changing and happening, whether I want to dig my heels in the ground and stay put, or not. This is my next chapter of surrendering to Motherhood, and the body that will come with it.



When it is all said and done, I am still me. Whether my future beach days will only hold visions of one-piece Mom swimsuits, or not. This acceptance came quickly, and almost painlessly. Like one quick moment of panic that immediately melts into a sinking realization that everything will be okay. Because stretch marks are not the end of the world, and in the incredible adventure and journey that I am taking, and will continue down for the rest of my life, something so small and insignificant almost feels like an afterthought.

It's nights like these that I barely recognize myself. Not because my body is growing and changing and I can't find me, anymore. But because my mind has grown, and changed, and in these thoughts, the old me....insecure, vain, a shameful little girl with her dolls....that is the only me I am starting to not recognize.


45 comments:

Monica said...

This is so beautiful and well-written, and once again I applaud you for your unbelievable honesty when it comes to your motherhood. Most women stick with the notion that it's all sunshine and roses and happiness, when in reality, I'm sure I would have feelings similar to yours when the day comes that I am carrying another life.
Thank you for continuing to be honest and inspirational, no matter what :]

elsie said...

congrats on entering 6 months! thanks for sharing your thoughts!! ♥ i can't imagine!

Jessie said...

I think you still look amazing in your bikini!

mirella said...

You look gorgeous! I went through similar feelings in my pregnancy and still to this day. It's been 1.5 years later and I am still trying to fully accept my new body and to come to terms with the fact that it will never be the same. Things have shifted, adjusted because of what was required in order to grow my baby, to give birth, nurse, and take care of her. I was looking at photos of myself on my husband's iphone this morning from when we were engaged three years ago and I look so different! I'm not mourning the old me, just trying to find my way in this new body. It's an ongoing journey. And I'm proud of what I was able to do, amazed even, that I was a life-source for another. The sacrifice was well worth it. Thanks for your honest post :-)

mama D said...

i felt the same as you. . . i didn't have a single stretch mark until - bam! - 37 weeks, and there they were. and not all of the lotions and potions in the world could stop them. my son is now 17 months old, i nursed him for 15 1/2 months; and i won't lie and say my new body still doesn't make me sad at times, but seeing him happy and healthy makes it all OK. in a perfect world, i still have about 10 pounds to go. . . but who knows? it may never be the same. and i think, well, i'm not the same either. i am a mother now. and that is a most precious gift and i wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

congratulations, and i wish you much happiness as you grow - in all ways!

Victoria said...

My belly button "popped" the other night eww! :)
I think you still look fine in your bikini!

G. said...

Besides you are one of the prettiest girls I`ve ever seen, you do have one of the most gorgeous bellies I`ve seen in a while.
I totally agree with those comments above: motherhood and the joy of seeing a healthy little human being (that, once, came out of your body) is well worth all the effort, pain, changes, whatever...

Sometimes I still try to imagine how my breasts look liked "before", but then: I fed a tiny human, how awesome is that???

Keep on putting together those beautiful, honest posts and sharing your thoughts and feelings. It is so encouraging.

Take care xxx

Valerie said...

You look so beautiful and your baby belly is gorgeous! I appreciate your honesty regarding the changes you are going through and everything you have written I have thought about myself as well. I did love being pregnant but felt so discouraged when I saw the stretch marks bloom on my belly. Unfortunately, I had what appeared to be a road map to the bowels of hell sketched on my belly. My youngest just turned 3 and the angry red marks have faded to thin, less noticeable silver lines. Have hope that you may be sporting a bikini again one day and know that no matter what, you are beautiful!

nell said...

Beautiful :) You will put that bikini back on when you and your little lady are walking down the beach together. They are just what you said "little badges of honor". There is a beauty in the way your body changes after growing your babies. I hated my body for a long time after N was born. Now, almost 8 months later I've come to love myself again.

C'est Moi said...

As I enter week 38 of my pregnancy, I must say that I am a shadow of my former self... a much larger shadow! I was small before I got pregnant and so when people see me now they think I look incredible and that I haven't gained much weight at all. What they don't know is that I've gained 40 pounds - which is a third of my former weight - and it terrifies me.

But at the same time, I know that it was essential for me to gain weight with this pregnancy since I didn't have much extra before. As our bodies change, our daughters grow, nurtured by the good foods we are eating (and some of the indulgences, too - like your love for Chick-fil-A and my love of a Wendy's single with cheese...)

I've been fortunate not to get any stretch marks with this pregnancy, that is, any in addition to the ones I already have from when I gained and lost weight during my younger years. Those lines you see may be the outward appearance of the network of veins that are coming to the surface to keep your little one healthy and strong.

Pregnancy was very hard for me - I had difficulties in the second trimester that were emotionally and physically difficult - and to be honest, I haven't enjoyed it the way that my friends enjoyed theirs but that doesn't mean that I'm not ridiculously excited to meet my girl and be her mom.

Keep being honest with yourself and others; that's the best gift you can give.

xx

Aura said...

I always love your beautiful support, ladies.

Mama Mash said...

Hello Aura,

Your words ring so true to my ears. Before I was pregnant I was quite thin, I didn't get stretch marks until the very end of my pregnancy and to be honest I hated them and still do. I know it is normal to get them but I am vain and have let the way I look get the better of me. At the end of the day though I see my son and know he is worth it, more than worth it and I am just being silly, in time the marks will fade but I will have my boy forever.

You are looking lovely, you have such a beautiful baby belly. I wish you all the best.

Hollie said...

Aura - before having Emma I never wanted to have kids. The thought of what pregnancy does to the body mortified me. I didn't have ANY stretch marks until a couple of days before I had her, and at that point, I was too preoccupied with other things to even think about it. Now, I can honestly say that they have never bothered me one time. I imagine it's like what having a scar from a war wound or a shark attack that I survived would feel like, only a million times sweeter.

Annie Kennedy said...

I think your bump is very cute :) Thanks for sharing so honestly with us.

Kristina Fournier said...

I got a few tiny ones early on on my thighs, but none anywhere else until the very end as she started to drop as I went past my due date. Even then they were so faint, it wasn't until after her birth and the following weeks as my belly went back down that I truly saw how many there were. I have tons! Mostly around my belly button and below. And with my darker skin pigmentation (I'm Mexican, and even though I'm fairly light skinned throughout the majority of the year, I turn brown very very easily) and my tummy turned about 4 shades darker than the rest of my body after I gave birth. No clue why, even my doctor seemed puzzled as to why my whole belly was so dark, ha. And because of that I did wear a one piece this past summer, but it's nearly all faded now, and with the lightening of my skin my stretch marks don't stand out as much. And even though I would have preferred to be one of the lucky few who didn't get them - I did. I am such a tiny woman and I had no way to grow but out. I was huge! And I don't think anyone who got as big as me could have come out on the other side without them, ha. And while I am not particularly bothered by them, there are times I just look in the mirror and don't recognize myself. Not just because of the stretch marks, but because my whole body has a different shape to it since giving birth. When Stephan notices me having one of these "moments" he just kisses me on my head and tells me I look great. That he is the one that did "that" to me and how glad he is that he did. Giving life is such a miraculous thing, and in hindsight my body was such a small price to pay. :)

Jgee said...

The changing body and the changing mind, and the process of surrendering are all part of this amazing journey of motherhood. I think pregnancy gears you up for the colossal changes of when you meet and parent your little person. I've gone from being a pretty crazy control freak to so much more at peace with just being. It is nice and humbling, and just another gift our darling babies give us.

Brown Girl said...

I love reading your posts because they sound like my thoughts...

Shoe said...

Pregnant or not, I think your body is beautiful, and even more beautiful is the story that is now growing inside it. Thank you for sharing

:)

Shoe

Ruthie said...

Aura, your honesty is beautiful, as are you. Lines or no lines, I think your husband and daughter will love you just the same, if not more, for the gift you're giving to each of them. Loving yourself despite what changes pregnancy and birth brings your way may prove to be a challenge at times, but you seem to be dealing with it all so well. I was at 6 months when I found out I was expecting 2 rather than 1. My little guys are fast approaching 3, and I've come to terms that my body will never be quite what it was before. Most days I'm okay with that, but there are always going to be days when I'm not. There are so many different kinds of beautiful, and you'll always be beautiful.

Kathleen said...

I'm 5'0 and 100 pounds, pregnancy really turned my self image upside down. I never realized that so much of my identity was wrapped into being "petite". Jake and I were on a walk one day when I was about 7 months along and I just burst into tears (this happened quite frequently)because I didn't recognize my own shadow.
and yes aura, everything will be ok. I'd gain 1,000 pounds over and over again just to wake up to my beautiful little girl's smile every morning. This time in your life, holds so many changes for you and your husband, you'll be stretched (literally and proverbially) in so many amazing ways.

Jessica said...

Sigh...oh Aura. This is so lovely, and so close to some thoughts and feelings from my own mind and heart. Even though my precious girl is almost 17 months old, I still contend with the changes to my body, from nurturing and birthing her. The not so taught tummy, the stretch marks on my hips and lower belly (which I actually didn't get until AFTER I gave birth when my skin began to contract back down to it's normal size), the new width of my hips that had to stretch out in order to bring her into the world. Sometimes looking in the mirror I long for the body of my former self, but then I remember, how each mark, scar, pouchiness, etc. all tell a story of where I have been and what I have done in this life and how I received all these "warrior stripes" by being gifted enough to bring my angel into this world.

We all have moments of insecurity, but then we are reminded of all that we are blessed with.

You are so genuinely beautiful. Inside and Out.
All that beauty just can't be contained on the inside it just has to emanate from you physically as well!

Blessings and Love and can't wait to hear more from you soon!

Monique said...

It's wonderful that you are growing and evolving right along with babyjoon. Much love to you.

Chela said...

I slathered organic lotions on my belly every single day of my pregnancy and was so relieved when I reached 9 months without one little mark. Three days later I looked in the mirror and saw what my mother calls "love scars" and burst into tears. I felt ashamed at first for being so vain, but then decided to be honest with myself and just let the tears flow and the frustration seep out. I was utterly disappointed and that was the truth. I cried it out and that was that. They were there, there was nothing I could do about them. They would be my constant reminder of the dying to self that would take place in my heart during the first months of motherhood, where I would realize that there is much, much more to life and much freedom in focusing on others and not so much on myself. I can't say that I love my "love scars," but I appreciate them and what they mean. I love my baby, and that is what really matters. Sometimes he runs his hands across my belly and stretch marks and I think how ironic it is that he was the one that put them there, and I am left with nothing but gratitude that it was because he was growing healthy and perfectly that the marks showed up in the first place. Reason enough to give thanks.

You are among the most beautiful women and pregnant women that I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

you are the most beautiful pregnant lady i've ever seen. i wished i looked half as good as u when i was pregnant. i was already overweight so getting pregnant put me over 200lbs. i'm still close to 200 7 years later. i just cant seem to keep my weight off :/

Jenni Austria Germany said...

i just noticed the ''oklahoma'' button....i am from oklahoma!!! so happy to see that :)

Julie-Inspired Shares said...

Look at you! Growing so gracefully and beautifully...what a gift you have there, little baby. My friend is pregnant right now with her first, and she's seven months. She's mentioned that her body is no longer hers...her life is now for that little baby. I think it's just so beautiful...
Julie xo

Melissa Blake said...

This post made me smile today, so thank you! :)

accidentally, kle said...

Such a beautiful post. I admire you for being able to put into words emotions I've only been able to chaotically muddle through x

SISILIA+JOSHUA said...

Oh, my goodness!!! Okay, first of all, we used to know one another on LJ back in the I think boylovesgirl name. It's good to come across your blog on this giant interweb world. Makes it a whole lot smaller.

Second of all, ahh, I love how this blog is labeled "our littlest adventurer" because that's exactly what my husband and I call our little Oliver Wylde.

I too am pregnant. I'm exactly 30wks today as a matter of fact. This is all too surreal to bump into you online and oh how I can so relate to your blog. I have 10 more wks to go until we see our little one and decided to start a blog of our own for our far away family. Your baby bump is the cutest!! I'm so going to follow your blog now that I've come across you again. It's so weird (in a good way). It's like discovering old friends.. even though we really don't know each other in real live except through blog entries.

I don't know about you, but I sure miss sleeping on my back. Although, I find it difficult to breathe that way. Oh, but I just can't wait to sleep on my back again! Not to mention my jeans. I want to fit into them again. I'm just glad I'm all belly and my feet and hands have not swelled up. It's horrible that I still wear my four inch heels, but I just can't help it. I feel like it's the ONE thing that is still me while my body is being hijacked.

You take some rest and hugs to ya.

XOXO
Sisilia

liz. said...

these are the things that make me so scared to have a child. your words are so supportive to those like me, that have struggled with body image and bdd. I hope that one day to find someone, be married, and to have a child. right now the focus is to love my body enough to have a life inside of it. your voice and honesty helps solidify my ability to carry forth a notion that it is possible.


thank you.

Stacey & Robert said...

Hi! Have enjoyed your blog for quite some time and love your baby posts. Starting to think about the baby path as well and it's nice for some insight. :) Do you mind me asking - did you have maternity insurance prior to conception? Trying to still figure that all out!

Anna said...

Absolutely beautiful post. You've made me cry, and I understand the lost, scared little girl feeling. And I also understand the eventual acceptance. Praying that the rest of your pregnancy goes well.
*Anna

Sini said...

You looks so great. And it's wonderful to read your story how you are growing up to be a mom. I got a panic feeling, when my friend left me alone with her daughter (7months old) and I realised that someday I will have my own. That panic feeling, it was weird - I'm not grown up yet in my mind.. I guess the change comes with the time.

Meemo said...

Since becoming a mother, my forearms have become more muscular. Everytime I look at them, I'm reminded of all the times I have lifted my boys. In 14years of being a mother, that's a lot of lifting. I feel like Popeye.

Your body will be forever changing and it's good to just embrace it.

rebecca said...

Thank you for your honesty. It's helpful to me right now - at 17 wks pregnant I'm having similiar thoughts. Sometimes I feel ashamed for feeling vain about my "old life and body." It's just refreshing to know that other women have moments when they too have those feelings. Thank you.

Stacey @ Entropified said...

My dear girl, you're absolutely beautiful.

Did I see you and your husband in a Canon commercial? I swear I did.

BethanySusan said...

yay for you. you look BEAUTIFUL.

Lady Jennie said...

I have only been at peace with my body while pregnant and breastfeeding.

My journey at age 41 and three kids later (this weekend I thought and then hoped it would be four but that turned out to be just a stomach flu and a late period) I find that I have to go through your journey of acceptance, but on the other side.

O'Melly said...

Wow, you remind me so much of myself! It's almost scary!

Lil Muse Lily said...

you look beautiful Aura. get used to your body not belonging to you. well after the baby is born. but all worth it of course. ;)
i used almond oil throughout my pregnancy and it really worked wonders.

Fair Lady of the Stable said...

Everybody else has already said anything I could say, but most importantly - I really enjoyed reading your blog and this post. You have plently of wisdom in our fairly commercial watered down world, thank you for filling my brain with quality reading fodder :)

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Thank you for your true honest feelings Aura. I always enjoy reading your entries. You look amazing, changing body and mind and all! oxox

Rachel said...

I've wanted to comment for a while but we've been moving countries with a 6 week old baby so I've been a little pre-occupied you might say...

I totally understand how you feel! I was writing about it on my blog too and I naively thought that once you have the baby, everything goes back to normal right? Ah, not so much...I really had (and am still having) a hard time with relinquishing my body to another human being's needs. But I do have to say, its all worth it. When I look at his little face sleeping so innocently in my arms, ah my heart! Would I do it again? Um, some days, yes most days, no. Maybe that will change with time...but I do want my body back! And those happy hormones they talk about where everything is bliss? I think I only had two months of that before third trimester inability to do anything blues set in.
So to me, these sleepless nights on the other side (which are a lot less sleepless when you co-sleep I'll admit) are much easier for me than the pregnant side of things!
this is me giving myself a pep-talk: http://wokabout.net/2010/09/11/the-belly-diaries-31-weeks-pt-1/
Are you still planning a homebirth? I think that's so wonderful!

Rachel Elizabeth said...

First off you are beautiful. Secondly, it is so so hard to relinquish your body to another being. Pregnancy prepares you for motherhood in so many ways, it teaches you sacrifice before you are ready to willingly give it. I know you might not believe it when people say it but it is so worth it.

Stretch Marks said...

I did love being pregnant but felt so discouraged when I saw the stretch marks bloom on my belly. Unfortunately, I had what appeared to be a road map to the bowels of hell sketched on my belly.