Tonight is my husband’s work Christmas party. His company is a small, locally owned company that fits all the good stereotypes about such businesses. It is owned by a father and son and one other business partner, and the company has a family focus and feel to it you just can’t hardly find anymore these days. We took champagne to his office on our wedding day (we got married on a Friday at noon) to toast with his co-workers, for example, because that’s just the kind of place and people that are there. His bosses have all made a point to personally congratulate us on our marriage and house and baby with cards or emails or both. He gets a birthday and anniversary card every year from his bosses. It is really from them, too, not the assistant. To add to this lovely atmosphere, each man’s wife is wonderful! They are all fantastic, nice, beautiful ladies that seem authentic. All of these ladies are moms and have college degrees and look like they shop at stores I have never even heard of in sizes I have never been able to wear. Now, let me just say, that if any of these ladies were to read this, I’m sure they would giggle at my description of them. Not only are these ladies great, but they don’t seem overly focused on the fact that they are great and beautiful. Herein lies my problem, though. I feel the need to look fantastic.
Yes, I realize I’m fantastic, too. Yes, I realize that even though I weigh more than any of them has ever weighed (pregnant or not), I am beautiful, too. Usually, I’m quite content to wear what I happen to have in my closet, throw some makeup on, and take the time to actually do something to my hair. This year feels different, though, because my pregnant body is just not cooperating.
I have red splotches randomly on my face (I have rosacea, but it is usually controllable except, apparently, when I’m pregnant) coupled with acne on my chin and neck (who gets acne on their neck?!) and puffy eyes (because my body has decided that with an increase in mucus production my eye lid area is going to be puffy for the rest of this pregnancy). My wardrobe is lacking, to say the least, which does not help. If my face is a mess, at least I could put something really cute on and everyone would notice my cute outfit (wishful thinking, don’t burst my bubble of hopeful thoughts combined with self-pity) instead of my face. But, alas, I have one pair of jeans and one pair of leggings and exactly two shirts to choose between because nothing else fits anymore or because my other options are too casual. I spend most of my days (working from home these days, don’t judge) in exercise pants and a shirt that doesn’t sufficiently cover my belly with a hoodie over that because I’m always cold (and because my belly is too big for the shirt). So, no this year I don’t feel like I look fantastic, or that looking fantastic is even a possibility.
Let me stop my pathetic whining for a moment to say that, again, I am quite aware of how amazing it is to even be pregnant to begin with and that I am incredibly happy and grateful that I have all of these pregnancy related appearance issues. I will gladly take the good with the bad. I certainly won’t be putting any infertility tags on this post just to show some sensitivity to all the women in the world that would kill to be fat and ugly due to pregnancy. I wanted to make a point, though, that not every pregnant woman feels like she is “glowing”. I certainly do not feel that way. Most days, I avoid looking in the mirror completely. I take a peek at my belly in profile to make sure the shirt I’m about to wear to the store or to get my daughter from school sufficiently covers without any patches of skin peeking out, but that’s about it. I take a picture once a week to chronicle my growing baby and belly, but even those pictures are of headless bodies. My brain won’t even cue my fingers to type the appropriate prepositions or pronouns in my sentences anymore. I have to proof-read more carefully than ever before in my life. This greatly impacts my day since all I do all day every day now is write! I can’t even control my brain or fingers! I feel slightly disconnected from my body. This body I currently occupy is much different in certain aspects than the body I usually occupy. That body is under my control (for the most part, ignoring the PCOS issues) mostly, and I don’t feel disconnected from it. I feel like it is mine and part of me. I feel like that body is a direct reflection of me, that what I am directly responsible for what it does and how it appears. Right now I feel like a passenger, like someone else has taken the wheel and their driving is questionable at best. I know I can’t be the only pregnant woman to ever feel this way, either. Why have I never heard anyone else say any of these things?
I also know I’m going to have to deal with this before labor. If I want a natural, intervention-free birth, then I’m going to have to figure out the balance between surrendering to my body and allowing my mind some measure of control. I have certainly read enough to know that labor will be much more difficult if I try to fight it every step of the way. I have to get out of my body’s way and let it do what it was built to do. But the question that keeps coming back to me over and over is, what do I do with my mind? If anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear it. I am not a visualization kind of gal, as in that part of my brain is broken. I can’t picture anything anyone ever tries to describe to me. I always just nod and say something affirming and move on. Sometimes, that has come back to bite me in the ass. Like the one time my hairstylist described what she wanted to do and I just blindly agreed. But, that’s a different story for a different day. I can’t even picture something I know about intellectually if I haven’t seen an accompanying picture. In my anatomy and physiology lab in college, I did pretty well because everything was learned through identifying that precise part on a skeleton, or dissection, or through a microscope.
Tonight, I will spend an hour on my appearance–adding makeup, wiping it off again, adding different makeup, trying my four pieces of appropriate clothing over and over, and (probably) straightening my hair. I will suck up my appearance woes and know that I am the only one there bothered by my lack of a cute outfit or screwed up complexion or ever widening hips.
Now, instead of worrying about my appearance, I go back to worrying about labor and delivery. For some reason, this has conjured a bit from my childhood.
Oh look, there’s another typo…ugh. I give up. Interpret my sentences as you so choose.