When I was pregnant with my first, I was so excited to be expecting at last, I couldn’t wait to ‘show’. Having taken two years to conceive, I welcomed my new round belly with delight. Of course said belly had, for a long time, nothing to do with an expanding uterus and baby and everything to do with jumping back on the carb wagon I had forsaken in order to conceive.
My excuse? Pretzels and pasta did wonders for nausea.
The bigger I got the better, until the point my knees gave in and most people assumed I was having twins or nearly due. Of course, I hadn’t even entered my third trimester.
Something else happened: the bigger my stomach got, the stronger the positive force of attraction drawing people’s hands. What else could explain the phenomenon of perfect strangers reaching out and stroking, what is considered by most to be an intimate part of the body? Until you are ok with me reaching out and stroking your stomach, don’t even think about reaching out to touch mine! I digress.
Fast forward to baby #2 conceived about 19 months after having our first. I am sitting in my wonderful midwives’ offices. I am about 8 weeks in and already looking exceedingly pregnant. People are once again are very excited to see me and hands are already starting to reach out! I don’t even know if this one is a keeper yet–we lost one in between at about 10 weeks–and I am already having to contend with bump molesters.
I am perplexed. I know it is too early for a proper pregnancy bump and yet I seem to have one. I pose the question to my midwife. She raises her eyebrows slightly and responds something along these lines:
That’s a combination of the relaxin (aptly named) released in pregnancy to loosen ligaments and muscles, combined with completely weak abdominal muscles letting all your organs push your tummy out.
Me in disbelief:
Sorry? What exactly does that mean?
Oh honey…well you should have been doing more post natal Pilates or something else to firm up your tummy. Too late now of course.
Me slowly entering state of shock:
Why DIDNT YOU WARN ME? I would have DONE SOMETHING!
She ignores this comment and since she is inspecting things deep in my nethers, I decide not to push it. She and I both also know this wouldn’t have changed a thing given that I totally ignored her warnings about eating too much, subsequently gaining a hefty 65 lbs during my first pregnancy. But it feels good to lay the blame elsewhere.
So wait, you are telling me that those people who insist on patting my stomach without asking permission are in fact patting my…well… my nice jam-packed sluggish intestines?”
(Yes folks, when you are preggers food moves slowly through your ‘system’ in order to allow the body to get as many nutrients as possible out of it. Best not ponder that.)
Midwife pauses momentarily:
“Why yes, I guess you’re right”.
She then kindly suggests I get a corset. The last of my dignity walks out of the room, leaving me perched on the edge of the table, naked from the waist down.
The next time a near-stranger and the like approached me, practically cooing with arms outstretched, I decided against initiating evasive tactics and welcomed their pats as did my last week of meals still stuck in there. I call it instant Karma.