This week, I want to talk about my belly. Or lack thereof.
As of today, I’m two days shy of 18 weeks pregnant and, according to most everyone (without a medical degree), I am way behind on my baby-bump development. As one hilarious (and lovable) friend put it, I lack the decency to actually look pregnant. My mom says, I now look like a typical woman my age who doesn’t work out (Thanks, Mom!).
All that’s changing, however. I spent this past Saturday shopping for stretchy skirts, leggings and long tops because… *drumroll please* … I finally have a baby-bump. A little one, ’tis true; it’s small enough that my partner eyed it skeptically and asked if I was sure it wasn’t just gas, but it is – in fact – a baby bump. One big enough to render my low-rise skinny jeans unbuttonable.
Which brings me to my latest pregnancy lesson: There’s no normal. Once mommy’s healthy and baby’s healthy, there are any number of variables that can combine in any number of ways to make up a “normal” pregnancy. This is why I can find myself stricken with hyperemesis gravidarum in my first trimester and ongoing morning sickness in my second, even though – when she was pregnant with me – my mom just had morning sickness in her first trimester. It’s also why, despite the fact that I’m just about four and a half months pregnant, I generally look like I’ve had a pretty large lunch. (Of course, the fact that I’m six feet tall might have something to do with that.)
“Normal” where baby bumps are concerned varies widely from woman to woman as a cursory Google search will show. Here are two different women at the exact same stage of pregnancy:
I’m closer to the former than the latter, but I won’t be doing any gardening any time soon as I haven’t yet entered the blissful honeymoon period of the second trimester. You know, the one where you’re supposed to glow, have lots of energy and practically levitate with prenatal joy. I’m mostly tired and somewhat nauseous. But hey, that’s my experience!
As I get farther along in my pregnancy, even the blogs that are supposed know what to expect get more wishy-washy. Here are two quotes from the same website:
“Is it normal to look more pregnant than I really am?
Yes, most likely. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for how women show during pregnancy, says George Macones, head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.”
“Is it normal that I don’t look pregnant yet?
Yes, most likely. There isn’t a specific time when moms-to-be are supposed to start showing, because it happens differently for different women.”
I personally take this to mean that normal (as it pertains to an otherwise healthy pregnancy) is overrated and I’m free to carry on catching as many Zs as possible and wearing my skinny jeans for as long as the little keyring I installed in my zipper will hold them up (or until I find one of those stretchy elastic waist-band thingies).