2.23.2007

The Third Trimester Spread

Today I hit week 30.

The only image in my head this past week, as I've literally felt my belly stretching, was one of those gro-sponge animals you find in your Christmas stocking. I could feel the changes taxing my waistbands and pushing my skin to new limits. The hips widened, the waist broadened, the and the expansion went just as north-south as it did, east-west, if you get my drift. Let's just say mama got back.

It sucks. Big time.

The clothes I packed two weeks ago are not fitting the same way. Slimming oxfords now look boxy and short, and long tees protrude in the back like a bustle on an 18th century ballgown. If my breasts enter the room 5 minutes before the rest of me, then my ass leaves 20 minutes after I'm gone.

But oh, how the memory of it lingers.

I want to be one of those confident, cool in my own body women. One of those women who can grab handfuls of my own fat and stroke my cellulite while purring, Pretty! Womanly! The type who thinks all pregnant women glow with radiant beauty, and that stretch marks are just kisses from God's favorite puppies. But instead I'm the woman that can't stop doing ass checks of every woman I pass on the street. In fact, if I have spent any time with you in the last few months, then yes, I have thoroughly examined your ass and deemed it superior to my own. Yes, that goes for you and you and you too, Missy.

It kills me to have spent last weekend in the Babystyle dressing room, nearly tearing the too-tight XLs to get them off of me, all while listening to a perky young thing in the next room oohing and aahing over how absolutely adooooorable every piece is and she just can't choose between them.

Meanwhile - white! She was buying white maternity clothes!

The nerve.

I can't look at my huge body and say it's beautiful. I don't think it is and I'm sorry for whatever first-wave feminist sensibility that may offend, or whichever whiny Gen X parent blogger I might sound like. Perhaps what my body is doing is beautiful with all this baby-making business, but that's an important distinction.

Lord knows I want to grab me a big honkin' swig of that Dove Kool-Aid, so I can see real beauty in real shapes, above all my own. But here's the funny thing: I don't think I should have to.

Instead what I wish is that we--I--could stop caring so much about physical beauty altogether, and start valuing whatever it is that comes after beauty in life. Maturity? Wisdom? Lower car insurance rates? Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that perky boobs and an enviable rear silhouette are best left to the 20-somethings. Those of us in our 30s and beyond, we've got far superior things to offer the world. We're in possession of traits that matter more than peachy skin and taut, toned arms that don't ripple in a gentle breeze. I am older and not quite hot but still fairly cool woman with a decent sense of self and profound love of my child. Hear me roar.

But it's hard when you're seated in a leather chair at work, terrified to stand up, for fear that someone will snap a photo of the indent from your ass cheeks and email it around the office.


47 Comments:

Anonymous reluctant housewife said...

I hear ya sister. Me and my 34-week ass. We're in for the homestretch.

he.

2/22/07, 11:15 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

I just remember that "back fat" when pregnant made me feel old. Older than even the big belly, droopy boobs and wide ass. I worked like a dog to get that off afterwards. You will, too.

2/22/07, 11:39 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I understand how you feel. Thanks to my long torso, combined with my entering-third-trimester belly, 3/4 of my maternity shirts are too short, leaving a gap between the shirt and my pants, and displaying to the world my unflattering, stretch-marked belly and flat belly-button.

Not to mention the people who think I'm a freak when I stand up from my desk at work and try to hide the contortions of pain on my face from the stretching as I stand.

2/22/07, 11:50 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

I never thought about that chair picture possibility. Because god knows my office chair was one place I was comfortable in those final weeks, and my ass rarely strayed (except to go out for Indian and Thai). Meetings can be conducted via conference call, you know.

I did not love my pregnant body, but I have to admit that I was too enthralled with everything that it was doing to care too much about how LARGE it was.

Also? Screw Babystyle. Those pants fit me up until Month 4. Then I was off to Motherhood Maternity (the outlet! on 57th Street!) like a shot. Overalls rule.

2/22/07, 11:56 PM  
Blogger movin'mom said...

I am older and not quite hot but still fairly cool woman with a decent sense of self and profound love of my child. Hear me roar.

Can I steal that quote from you...you took the words out of my mouth (exception I'm not pregnant)

But I would have 26 kids if body weight wasn't something I would have to lose afterwards.

2/23/07, 12:10 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

shit. i'm pretty sure whatever i have to offer to the world (inferior to what you can offer, of course), it doesn't include perky boobs and an enviable rear silhouette. am i just screwed forever?

2/23/07, 12:24 AM  
Blogger slouching mom said...

Oh, do I love that Violet Beauregarde. And, come to think of it, Augustus Gloop. And Mike TV? That's my son!

You are doing everything right. Here is a graphic tale that might help you know that:

My mother gained 12 pounds when pregnant with me. Not only because she continued to smoke and drink away, but because she had serious weight issues and could not tolerate gaining more weight than that.

And I? I was 10 weeks' premature and weighed 2 pounds. Welcome to the world, indeed.

Own that butt -- it's proof that you love your baby.

2/23/07, 12:32 AM  
Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

I can so visualize that chair indentation picture! :)

I'm cursed with my maternal family's "bubble butt" as we so affectionately call it. It's not going away anytime soon, I'm afraid.

2/23/07, 12:46 AM  
Anonymous AdventureDad said...

My wife felt the same way. She felt like a whale and didn't enjoye either one of our pregnancies. Week 30, you're almost there? (I'm sounding optimistic for the first time this year)

Nice weekend

AD

2/23/07, 4:50 AM  
Blogger Queen Haline said...

I think you are headed in the right place in this blog. It may take awhile to get there, and you may not totally let go of your desire to be cute, perky, young and boobalious.... but you are on your way.

Instead, I transfer my (failed)desire to look good onto my kids. They better be really fucking cute!

2/23/07, 5:30 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

At least you're not afraid of the office chair staying stuck to your butt when you get up. So it can't be that wide.

And I really had to bite my tongue when a friend who's 25 weeks pregnant said, "It's really weird but I'm not that big!", and I thought, "Just wait a little." (And when I was pregnant I only started buying maternity clothes after week 25. Ha! But I'm told that if ever I had a second child I'd go from pregnancy test to maternity clothes right away.)

And on the feminist side, I think there should be things more important than our looks too. Maturity sounds good.

2/23/07, 5:48 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Shoot, for me the BEST part of pregnancy was knowing that for ONCE in my life, I didn't have to worry about being thin. I had permission, in fact, I HAD to be overweight. WOOOO HOOO!!!! Live it up. It'll be over pretty soon and then the REAL fun begins: post partum butt. Now THAT sucks.

(But the pregnancy face in the last few weeks, now THAT I could have done without...)

2/23/07, 8:38 AM  
Anonymous the new girl said...

The Dove Kool-aid.

Where can a girl get her some of that?

The way those ladies are lovin' themselves up...it looks like it's pretty. good. shit.

2/23/07, 8:55 AM  
Blogger EE said...

Pregnant or not, I always check my ass every time I'm in a bathroom...to see if it's gotten any bigger.

2/23/07, 9:07 AM  
Blogger Loukia said...

I know what you are saying. I gained soooooo much weight when I was pregnant, I look at pictures now and just think 'wow'! I too barely fit into the XL MATERNITY clothes, and that scared the crap out of me. I ate healthy, but a lot. And I did have McDonald's McFlurries almost every day. I was so very big. At first, it was cute, then it got... not so cute! And I'm still struggling to lose the baby weight, almost 19 months later, believe it or not. It was a shock to me how long it took. 3 weeks after I had my baby, I was going to a friend's wedding and was expecting to fit into a normal size 10 (or 12, or 14) but no. Back to the maternity store I went, and wore a freaking maternity outfit to her wedding. And I had people asking me when I was due. That killed me. I was like, 'um, my baby is at home, and he is 3 weeks old'. Ahhh... anyway...

2/23/07, 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Sigh. I hear you on the breasts entering/ass leaving thing.

And unfortunately, I don't even have a current pregnancy as an excuse -- just the aftereffects from my last one.

2/23/07, 9:35 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

You need to stop shopping at the 'cool' places---Motherhood Maternity is the place to feel small. Their clothes run nice and roomy!

Hang in there. Here can be your mantra: "My ass will look great, in 2008". Many hugs.

2/23/07, 9:47 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

There are more of us (with our stretch marks and expanding rear ends, pregnant or not) than there are of them, the perky, pretty girls. Although, being in LA I'm sure it doesn't feel that way.

2/23/07, 10:01 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

I'm two years post-baby and I still feel like my body betrayed me. I long for the days I could put anything in my mouth and still stay the same slim 126 pounds.

You body is doing something beautiful. But I completely understand why you don't feel that way.

I don't feel that way and my body is baby-free.

I wish we could take a pill and be skinny again. Instead, we have a bitter pill to swallow.

Ugh.

But I hope you feel better soon. And I am sure if I were to lay eyes on you, I'd find you glorious. We are our own worst critics.

2/23/07, 10:42 AM  
Blogger Denver Dad said...

Didn't you once tell me that I was supposed to call you hot?! Well, mom-101... YOU'RE HOT! Don't believe me? Go ask your husband... he'll back me up.

2/23/07, 10:50 AM  
Blogger Fidget said...

if you are only afraid of them seeing your ass dent you are still OK. I hated getting up out of the waiting room chairs at the OB for fear that I would stand up and the chair would still be wedged on my ass.

2/23/07, 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I can't believe you don't look gorgeous!

I also can't believe you're thirty weeks already. I'm sure it's gone lot faster for me than you :)

2/23/07, 11:28 AM  
Anonymous FishyGirl said...

In my family we call it bucket butt, and after 4 kids, I feel safe in saying I will never not have the bucket butt again - mom only had 2 and she kept hers, so I'm screwed, for sure.

Fat bottom girls we make the rockin' world go round.

2/23/07, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous TSM-terrifically superiorily mediocre said...

Preach it, sister!

We 30-somethings have MUCH more to offer the world.

I know that I can make a really good lasagne. And only with years of practice.

2/23/07, 11:59 AM  
Blogger Candice said...

I just wanted to tell you that I really like your blog. I've been following it for about a month and a half now. I go to the George Washington University, and we had to pick a blog to follow for our University Writing class. I like the way that you add humor, and even though i'm not going to become a mother anytime soon, I sympathize with you!

2/23/07, 12:34 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Sounds like LA is getting to you.

But I totally can feel your pain with getting older and losing boobs, a figure, etc. I'm not pregnant anymore but was not too long ago, and I have yet to regain my shape. Whatever it was in the first place.

But thanks for the wake up call to quit my whining, because it's all about what's inside that really matters. Truly.

2/23/07, 12:42 PM  
Blogger Meena said...

Have you been in my head? I swear I've had most all these thoughts (except the butt ones, I got one of those small, flat ones that doesn't grow, just seems to be getting flatter, I know soon it will probably melt down into my thighs). One thing I never understood - why all the cellulite while pg??? It's like it suddenly appeared! And I remember in the 3rd tri, especially with my 2nd, every day a new stretch mark or two would appear. A new one! Weren't the old ones good enough???

I don't claim to have it all together, but I've taken to focusing on health, rather than physical beauty. Do I feel healthy? Do I feel strong? Am I setting a good example for my kids? But don't get me wrong, I'm sure hoping the healthy thing will help me lose a few pounds and some of the belly flab! :-) So far, I haven't lost anything, but I can run two miles and that makes me feel pretty darn good!

2/23/07, 12:56 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

The sad, sad realization of getting older. I am not pregnant, but hear what you are screaming.

2/23/07, 1:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

I hear ya. What is with that overnight transformation? I feel like my toddler - one day clothes fit, the next they are hideous.
now do we have to go shell out on MORE maternity clothes to get us through to the end? The alternative being walking around with our shirts sticking straight out from our asses/bellies.

2/23/07, 1:43 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

what? are you telling that stretch marks are NOT just kisses from God's favorite puppies. well fuck me.

i just trawled my blog from last August, and lo and behold there is a post there with exactly the same sentiment, also with image if violet being rolled by the oompa loompas.

And I can tell you now that 3 months postpartum, my body is toned, strong, tan and magnificent. It's like I'm eighteen again.

BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

2/23/07, 2:01 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

You're crazy. You look amazing!!! You're unbelievably gorgeous.

2/23/07, 2:02 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

What IS it about the 30 week mark? It's like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

2/23/07, 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

I need to see it to believe it.

My ass wins this one.

You know. The Big Ass Oscar.

2/23/07, 3:10 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Oh, I do ass checks on everybody, too. And I'm not even pregnant.

Does this mean I'm incredibly insecure? Or a pervert? Or both?

2/23/07, 3:24 PM  
Anonymous dorf said...

For the first five years of your life, every single photograph of me is posed with you and Jeff in front of each thigh. Welcome to the family!

2/23/07, 4:04 PM  
Anonymous dorf said...

For the first five years of your life, every single photograph of me is posed with you and Jeff in front of each thigh. Welcome to the family!

2/23/07, 4:04 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Down with beauty! (at least until after you have your beautiful, perfect baby, when you will surely return to your beautiful, perfect self)

2/23/07, 4:17 PM  
Blogger J said...

Sigh. Remember when Rachael was pregnant on Friends, with her cute little fake tummy sticking out of her clothes, and her tight little butt and perky boobs? God, I hated her for that. Even though I knew it was fake, I looked like an eggplant when I was pregnant, and I was NOT happy about it.

2/23/07, 4:18 PM  
Blogger Redneck Mommy said...

My pregnancies are so far behind me, I can barely remember them through the haze of eyerolling and christmas concerts and snotty noses.

However, bestfriend is also at week 30. And I'm always looking for new ways to harass her.

And taking a pic of her ass imprint may be the way to go....

Thanks for the tip! BWHAHAHAHA!

2/23/07, 4:50 PM  
Blogger Girl con Queso said...

Ha! "stretch marks are just kisses from God's favorite puppies." Hilarious.

2/23/07, 10:15 PM  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

I feel your pain. I NEVER was able to see the whole "hot mama" thing while pregnant. Just the giant whale I seemed to be.

2/24/07, 10:01 AM  
Blogger BlogWhore said...

u are such a beautiful person, i can only imagine the outside looks just as beautiful as the inside is.

2/24/07, 1:23 PM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Since Bossy's kid is ten I suppose one could consider Bossy in her 93rd trimester by now, but anyway -- she thinks she's still spreading.

2/24/07, 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

My butt is enormous even when I am not pregnant (and I am in my twenties, and my butt has been, ahem, out of proportion since I was twelve, so, nyah). I suggest you do what I do: ignore the cellulite, and pretend you're J-Lo.

2/24/07, 9:22 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I feel for you. As my (current) spouse told me recently, YOUR BABY IS 2 YEARS OLD! YOU DIDN"T *JUST* HAVE ANYTHING! (as related to my baby weight that lingers relentlessly.) So I can appreciate the What The Hell - I Have Ten Thousand Other Great Qualities rant.

But the ass indent - that made me howl with laughter. With. Not At.

As they say to all young beauties - Rome fell and so will those. Lather , rinse, repeat.

2/24/07, 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I have been missing you, and came to visit on your blog. Clearly I should have visited in person, so you could adjudge my ass superior to yours! Hope you are doing well -- will write something long soon. Life has been too busy and sometimes even rough.

Melis

2/27/07, 12:20 AM  
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