The pregnancy paradox

I definitely waddle now.

For a few weeks there, I noticed the waddle when I started walking, but as soon as I gained any kind of speed, it seemed to give way to a normal walking gait.

Not so any more.

In fact, I feel like every day, I’m closer and closer to being the pregnant woman, complete with rubbing her belly subconsciously, grunting (in a lady-like fashion, of course) every time she removes herself from the couch, and becoming completely winded whilst tying her shoes (thank goodness sandal season is almost upon us).

Now that I’m comfortably into the third trimester (some books/websites say it starts in week 26, others say week 28, and I am now week 29, so I don’t have to wonder any more), I’m feeling rather pregnant.

I no longer have those moments when I walk by a mirror and am shocked at my own reflection, having forgotten that there is, in fact, a living thing growing inside my abdomen. I am somehow becoming even more forgetful – the other day, I got out of the shower, got dressed, and put on my make up before realizing I hadn’t washed the conditioner out of my hair. The pokes and prods at the doctor’s office have increased to once every two weeks, and the pokes and prods from Little Parasite have increased to several times a minute in some cases. They’ve increased in strength, too.

And today, for the first time, I got a no-context comment from a stranger.

Sure, someone who barely knows me noticed a bump during week 17, and the lady in the shoe store discussed swollen feet after I brought it up. A couple weeks ago, four work colleagues – none of whom had mentioned my bursting belly before – all brought up that I had popped. But today, I made a quick stop at the grocery store, and the cashier took one look at me and asked, “When are you due?”

We had a semi-awkward conversation about babies – I think she tried to shame me for finding out the sex of LP before it’s born and I absolutely shut that down – and then I left.

I realized that months earlier, right when I starting noticing that I kind of looked like I had an actual bump and not just some extra muffin top on my pants, I would have been thrilled at the interaction. It would have made me feel sexy and maternal and empowered and all kinds of emotions that I can’t really explain now, but I certainly remember hoping beyond hope that someone would notice.

Now? I mean, I’m glad people realize that I’m pregnant and not just smuggling a giant meatball inside my belly, but I kind of wish that it wasn’t so obvious. I know that from here on out, until the baby comes and probably forever afterwards, I will get offered all kinds of unsolicited insights about birthing and parenting and all of the things I’m definitely doing wrong. I will get bigger and wider and less graceful, and people will notice. And I wish they wouldn’t.

And therein lies the pregnancy paradox: for the first half of the pregnancy, I wanted the whole world to notice and tell me what a magical, special, life-carrying vessel I was, and no one did. Now that I’m admittedly huge, I want the whole world not to remind me that I am a bursting, bloating, bumpy baby builder, and I’m worried that’s all I’ll hear about.

Can we all just go back to talking about the weather please?

Seriously. It’s going to be 26 degrees today.

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