*Draft from last week that I didn’t click publish on, since i’ve subsequently not had a day off at new job and have been work-eat-sleep-repeat for the past 8 days.. sorry*
Hey readers & mommas.
For everyone who has already experienced this or is currently experiencing this… I’d like to say I am officially part of the swollen leg/feet club. For some reason I thought I was going to be exempt from this particular pregnancy symptom, since by 25 weeks I hadn’t encountered even the slightest hint that my feet/legs would swell.
That all changed this past week, and at the same time I started one of my part time gigs, which, while wonderful being at a baby store for the knowledge and discounts, is also continuous standing/walking for several hours. Elevating and reclining is now a daily to-do.
Mommas, I feel your pain.
Another new hire at the baby store just found out she was pregnant the day before she started working, she is almost 10 weeks along and two years younger than me. I’ve been talking to her about my first trimester and encouraging her and commending her for taking on such long standing shifts in the midst of the fatigue and nausea she is experiencing. We mentioned several times how “tiny” I am for 26 weeks along.
Her comment brought up a point that I have been discussing with her with as much softness and kindness as I can, since it touched on a sensitive topic for me:
Everybody and every body is different.
This is a lesson I’ve been learning and reinforcing to myself for years, as I’ve struggled with self-esteem and compulsive comparison behaviors. It’s been hard for me to look at someone I think is prettier or more fit and not feel self conscious, or smarter and not feel stupid, or more accomplished and not feel inadequate. And embarrassingly, hard for me not to feel better than someone I perceive as less educated, less fit, or less intelligent. (Yikes. Just typing that makes me feel disgusting.)
The flip side or ironic side is that I am in above average shape/fitness for most women my age despite my insecurities. Whenever I’m complimented on my appearance or someone just comments on it, I don’t know how to respond.
Pregnancy has really helped change this whole issue for me.
When my new coworker and brand new momma to be, commented on how tiny I am for 26 weeks, I instantly replayed my mother’s comment in my head “I can’t believe how big you are…I wasn’t that big until my third trimester with my third baby”, then I racked through all the catalogs of pictures in my brain of all my pregnant friends and how they looked during pregnancy, and then looked at this young woman, who already seemed to be showing at 10 weeks, then looked down at my belly, and back up at her eyes, full of wonderment and interest in me.
I smiled, and I said, “you know, the only thing I’ve really learned for sure over the last 26 weeks is that every single woman and body is different”. I shared with her the difficulties I had experienced and the longer list of pregnancy ailments that I haven’t encountered. Telling her that her journey will be completely unique and that remembering that is the most important thing.
Without going into a lot of detail, I told her that I have always been slender and athletic, and that I’ve already put on over 20 pounds, so for my body, I’m walking around in a dramatically different state, even though to the average onlooker, I may appear “tiny”. I urged her to love each day and each week during her pregnancy as she will be growing her precious baby. To love her body as it changes and to do her best not to compare herself to anyone else.
I watched one of my friends go through her entire pregnancy in a state of total grace and beauty, gaining minimal weight, not suffering from sickness or perpetually swollen limbs, and was envious of her, even before my own pregnancy.
Comparison is shallow and pointless.
Pregnancy is teaching me humility.
I have an overwhelming respect for mothers that I thought I had before, and turned out I didn’t even have a clue. I know this will continue to grow after I give birth.
Every body is unique.
Love to all of you.