Kicks and Cankles: Embracing Your Inner Manatee
Since the dawn of time, women have experienced pregnancy. It's not a new thing. And yet, here we still are, being pregnant, and trying to figure it all out. Morning sickness and crazy side effects aside, there comes a time where you reach what I like to call "The Whale Stage." This isn't something every pregnant woman will experience, but it is something most will feel as they reach the end of their pregnancy.
Via National Geographic
It might interest you to know that the Manatee is a marine mammal that grows to be between 8 and 13 feet long, with a weight between 440 to 1,300 pounds (and you thought you were big!). This graceful marine mammal can swim up to 15 miles per hour (not too shabby) in short bursts, and its peaceful and grazing nature often gives it the nickname of a "sea cow." Hmmm. Who knew you could weigh a thousand pounds and still be referred to as "peaceful," "graceful," or even "voracious." My point is that manatees are pretty freaking awesome, even though they have "considerable bulk." Give yourself the same benefit, sister.
My feet, days before the birth of my first child
With all that's going on in the world, you'd think a pregnant woman's body image is last on the list. But I'd like to think that we can find real appreciation for our bodies and empowerment, even when our bodies have reached epic proportions. True, Wonder Woman has one hot bod, and I'm not saying that's not nice to have. But when the baby showers are over and the waiting sets in, you begin to feel like a great lump of blubber that is ugly and not worth much. Let me show you how wrong you are.
Me at 41 weeks pregnant the day before my first child was born
The picture above is of me as I'm about to go to the hospital for a final check before an early induction the next day. I had gained 55 pounds, had swollen feet, ankles, and legs, and nothing in my closet fit but the above outfit. I was MISERABLE, and more than ready to get that baby out of me.
Long story short, my labor and delivery could have gone better. I ended up with a 16+ hour labor that culminated in 3 hours of unproductive pushing, and lots of tears. My son was born via C-section at 8:23 that evening, and a couple hours later, I got to meet him.
Proud New Mommy
Look at my eyes. There's pain there, for sure. Exhaustion? Definitely. But there's also pride. You can see the love and tenderness in my eyes, despite the horrible ordeal of the night before. Motherhood is no small battle, but boy is it rewarding. And awe-inspiring to witness!
After hearing that story, are you still thinking about how big I was or how much weight I gained? I think not. Women are warriors, and women who carry children and birth them are some of the fiercest warriors on this earth. We actually create life in our wombs, nurture a growing body, and bring it into this world. Regardless of how you bring a child into this world, you should celebrate your awesome skills and perseverance. Because pregnancy is not an easy thing, and you are amazing for doing it! Your body is incredible, and so are you.
Your body was made for this, and you are ready. Even though you might feel large, ungainly, unattractive, or just plain whale-like, please take a moment to marvel at your body and what it's actually accomplishing: creating and bringing a life to this earth.