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April 7, 2011

The Ugly Duckling Pregnancy

This is one of those posts where I just know that I'm going to get hate mail. And that's totally okay because I've been debating whether or not to actually write this post for the last few weeks and it's finally bothered me so much that if I don't write about this, I'm going to get an ulcer and die. But at least I could add that to the fun list of pregnancy symptoms I'm compiling over my lifetime. It's fun, really.

When I was pregnant with Nathaniel, I anticipated my baby bump from the second those little pink lines appeared on the pregnancy test. Arguably, I ate myself to the point where I had a bump in my first trimester, packing on a not-so-discreet ten pounds in the process. And then came the real bump in the second trimester along with another twenty pounds that I readily attributed to bloat, baby, and my passionate love affair with trail mix. But once we hit the fifty-pound mark in the third trimester along with a baby bump the size and shape o' Texas, I quit counting. And then I ordered another side of french fries.

This time, my approach to pregnancy has bordered on paranoia. I'm literally counting each and every calorie that goes into my mouth. One M&M? 4 calories. A cup of red grapes? 104 calories. One Olive Garden breadstick? A whopping 150 calories.

My midwife wasn't a huge fan of my militant, 2000-calorie, I'M STARVING approach to pregnancy and she advised me to relax a bit. So last month, I relaxed. I put down my iPhone calorie app and ate. And I gained 9 pounds in a month.


Granted, my total weight gain thus far, a grand total of 12 pounds, isn't anywhere near unreasonable, especially considering that by this point in my first pregnancy, I was much closer to the neighborhood of 25 pounds. That's also the neighborhood where the people across the street are shooting squirrels from their front porch while throwing back a cold one and kissing their cousins. It's not a friendly place.

But whether it's the worry over weight gain or the fact that I am completely unable to find any maternity clothes that make me feel remotely attractive, I can't help feeling a bit like the ugly duckling with this pregnancy. I'm thrilled to be pregnant; I hoped and prayed for this baby with all of my heart, but watching my body change to accommodate this new life is vaguely reminiscent of kids in the back seat of a car whining, ARE WE THERE YET?!

I'm well-aware that there are women who can't get pregnant and I'm not writing this to sound insensitive; quite to the contrary, I want to be enjoying and celebrating these changes, but watching my waist morph into my hips and seeing my already large boobs explode off of my chest with an enthusiastic battle cry of MORE! BABIES! is enough to motivate me to avoid the mirror these days.

It might have something to do with the fact that I'm rotating between a stash of six maternity shirts that currently fit my growing belly. Or the fact that my staple brand of pregnancy clothes drastically changed their sizing between my babies. Or the fact that I still have some lingering body image issues that didn't quite get resolved in therapy. But whatever the reason, I'm tired of feeling like a pregnant Yul Brenner. I want to embrace this time, knowing that it could easily be my last pregnancy. I want to feel sexy and attractive. I want to have the confidence to walk around a place other than my living room.

But til I figure out exactly where my inner beauty queen is hiding, I'll be building forts in my living room with the toddler. Sans french fries.


  1. I was a health fanatic when I was pregnant with my first. I exercised most days and if I ate McDonald's I worked out enough to lose all the calories I gained from my cheeseburger and fries. While nursing, I became underweight so I've started underweight with my second pregnancy. I'm more relaxed about what I eat, but I'm still desiring to exercise as it dramatically helped with my post partum recovery.

  2. Pregnancy isn't a very glamourous time. I'm not doing great in the weight department, but I feel like I'm doing better than last time. That definitely makes me feel better! It's hard though!!

    I think you are absolutely adorable though!! I love your round little belly!

  3. In each pregnancy I gained 45 lbs and 55 lbs respectively. But I lost it all pp so I figured it's what my body & baby needed. Best thing that I did was buy a few cute maternity outfits to help me enjoy my pregnancy body more.

  4. Thanks for all the supportive responses! I would love to find some really cute maternity outfits, but I'm having trouble finding anything that will work with my new figure [read: boobs] that won't have me sweltering in the summer. Hopefully I'll be able to find time to run to the Mall of America this coming week and will have more success!

  5. I have found Old Navy is my best friend for clothes right now. I do not have a baby bump right now (which is really, REALLY starting to bug me!!) so I feel really unattractive right now. I just feel fat, at my last appointment at 14 weeks my weight was the same as before I got pregnant. However I have a feeling when I step on the scale on Wednesday for my 20 week appointment I will have gained some pounds. Long story short I know how you feel. Lol.

  6. Please don't forget that pregnancy brings a couple beauty boosts too. Added hormones give way to thicker, shiney hair. And, although it rings cliche, skin really does take on a gorgeous glow! I know that doesn't make up for the massive shape changes, but on you, Alyssa, it looks beautiful!

  7. I feel much bigger at 14 weeks than I ever did at 14 weeks with Brayden. Makes me wonder what the rest of this pregnancy will bring. I totally understand where you are coming from. Hang in there- you look great!

  8. Thank you for posting this. My fantasy pregnancy was perfect; cute belly, stylish clothes showing off the "bump". Then I looked in the mirror and realized my pinkie toes were pregnant too. I kept a little secret to myself because I thought to say it out loud would be to break a certain "code". I wasn't one of those women that loved being pregnant. I adore being a mother and once I realized that these two things were not mutually exclusive I became more willing to talk about this. So thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing.

  9. I am late to this post but I feel compelled to leave a comment. I am a long-time lurker who has not commented here before, but I must tell you that you are one of the most beautiful pregnant women I have ever seen. I do not have any kids yet (I'm a newlywed, woo woo!) but I LOVE to read pregnancy/baby/mommy blogs (and blogs in general) and truly, you are one of the more gorgeous pregnant ever. I hope I look half as good as you when I have a baby!

    I know you didn't write this post to get comments like this, but it's true. Hang in there, it can be very hard to accept changes in our bodies...but you're growing a human and wow, that's freakin' awesome. :)

  10. Congratulations on being a newlywed! That's such a fun stage! And thanks for what you said- that's very sweet of you!