We're attending a bat mitzvah this weekend. It's a bat mitzvah, but apart from the religious significance, more like a wedding without the groom - a ceremony flanked by a dinner the night before, a party at the country club on the evening of the ceremony, and a brunch the morning after. I have nothing to wear to any of these events.
Until this past weekend when a couple of my girlfriends brought me bags of their old maternity clothes, I had two maternity pants and a couple of loose tops. Between those and my baggy pants, I've managed to get by, especially since I'm not going into an office these days. For more formal occasions, I had a dress and a jacket that I had from my chubbier days, which I thought worked well until my mom saw me last week and commented that I looked rather dated in them. Suddenly, I realized she was right.
I've gained about nine pounds so far with this pregnancy. Given that I'm in week 18, I think that's pretty reasonable. But that's not counting the 20 pounds that I gained with my prior pregnancies and failed to shed after my miscarriages despite my regular visits to the gym.
None of these pounds has come gracefully. I look at women who expand only around their waists while skipping down the street in their skinny legs and high heels, and I wonder why I wasn't born to be one of those creatures. Instead, I'm large everywhere. My face has expanded, my arms, fingers, thighs, butt. I look at photos of myself when Jeff and I got married a year and a half ago, and I miss that body.
Viewing myself in a full length mirror at the department store is not a happy experience. I went to Macy's a few weeks ago to try to find something decent to wear, and I was mortified to find nothing fitting the way they used to -- or even anywhere close. When I found myself reaching for an extra large, I felt compelled to hide the size tag.
I never enjoyed looking at myself in the mirror. Throughout most of my teens and 20s, I remember looking at myself and wondering why any boy would want to date me. I didn't feel comfortable in my skin until my late 20s. I think a part of it has to do with having developed very quickly at a young age. In grade school, I was often the tallest kid in my class, although I leveled out at 5' 6". When I was in first and second grades in Korea, my teachers paired us up after lining us in height order. I was often the odd girl out, trailing at the end. My mom remembers me running home crying that I didn't have a partner.
I tell myself that it's only for another five months -- and that I have many more inches to expand until this little guy shows up. That I shouldn't even think about this until late October. And I'd be willing to gain a hundred pounds if it ensured his safe arrival. But I have to learn to stop treating my pregnancy as a weight gain -- and hiding my belly as if it were excess fat. If anyone has any magic tricks for dealing with that, I'd love to hear some ideas.
This morning, Jeff suggested that I sign up for a pre-natal yoga class. I suddenly realized the brilliance of that idea. Not only will I be getting some much needed exercise, I am bound to surround myself with women with body shapes like mine. Maybe I will see the physical glory of this experience more clearly in their bodies than I see in mine.