The Photo That Was A Turning Point In My Pregnancy
Would it? Wouldn't it?
These questions plagued my mind soon after finding out I was pregnant with our fifth child. Would this one "stick?" Would this one grow to full term, heart beating and lungs screaming in the delivery room? We'd lost our first and fourth children early in the pregnancies, and our second and third children -- at three and five years old -- were living proof of hope. I knew the odds were in our favor, and appointment after appointment confirmed that this baby was indeed growing, and growing well.
As this pregnancy progressed, I was hesitant to embrace my growing midsection. I wore tops to conceal this blossoming life. I didn't want to share the news until I knew, with more if not absolute certainty, that this time it would last. I was at that awkward stage when people may have assumed I was pregnant but would more likely think I was just bloated. I let them think the latter.
Morning sickness is such a misnomer, especially for this pregnancy. It was more like all-day nausea interspersed with bouts of low blood sugar. It wasn't pretty. I wasn't pretty. At least I didn't feel it. I wanted to fast forward toward the end of pregnancy when my belly was unmistakably full of baby (not food), I had an appetite again and my normally oily skin would be called a "glow."
At some point during the third month, I went out of town for a client visit. Glad to have an actual appetite for once, I gorged on an open-face roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy at the hotel restaurant. And dessert. That was a good night.
The next morning I woke up and was quite alarmed when I looked in the mirror. While it was probably partly due to my indulgence the night before, my belly was... popped. Like, officially pregnant, overnight.
As all good social media users do, I snapped a selfie in the bathroom mirror (after getting ready for the day). I sent my husband a text and uploaded the pic to Facebook. I was quite surprised by the 200-some likes and many, many positive comments. But I was most touched by my husband's simple response: "Wow! You look beautiful."
Beautiful. It's something every woman wants to feel, pregnant or not, and for the first time, I felt ready to completely embrace this pregnancy. No more flowy tops. No more strategically positioning items in front of my body to disguise my figure. I would wear whatever I darn well pleased, and if it accentuated the bump, even better. I would caress it, and rest my hand on it as pregnant women are wont to do.
This belly was here, thankfully, to stay.