Body Image

June 1, 2007

It seems I have hit that self-conscious stage of pregnancy.  I didn’t expect it to happen.  I’ve never been particularly self-conscious about my body before.  I have my issues of course, the gap between my front teeth (bad dental work), the crook in my nose, my disappearing chin when I lean my head down.  But as far as my body itself, I’ve been content with it.  When I was in high school, college, and those single years following, I had a pretty sexy body.  It went through lots of minor changes, a few pounds gained here or lost there, but that never seemed to bother me.  Even throughout the pregnancy with PJ, I was happy with the way I looked, always wanting my belly to be even bigger.

Up until last night, I was thrilled with my body this time as well.  I love that my belly is getting bigger, faster.  I love my bigger boobs.  But I’d thought those were really the only changes my body was undergoing.  I don’t have any stretch marks, either from PJ or now BabyN (and I hope and pray it stays that way).  What I saw last night proved, though, that I am not altogether unchanged.

M has been wanting to take belly shots for me ever since I did those special ones several months ago.  Finally last night I let him.  I knew I had complete editorial control, so I did whatever he suggested, letting myself be goofy and uninhibited for the first time in pictures.  They were truly au natural, too, because I never bothered to put on make-up over my pimply face or do something with my stringy hair in bad need of a haircut.  As you can imagine, I was less than pleased with the results.

If I cut off my head (like in this photo), most of the pictures aren’t too awful.  My hair was uncooperative and my pimply face had weird expressions in many of the pictures.  There were a few where I didn’t hate the face, but oddly enough, they were the ones I ended up hating the most–because I saw my body, all of it with nothing covering any flaws.  I will not post those pictures.  As much as I’d love the assurances that they’re not that bad (I already know that), I simply can’t be that immodest to let anybody other than M and me see them.  But I saw in those pictures that the body image I’d captured in my head was absolutely not the least bit similar to the body image captured on camera.  My sexy boobs resemble that of a budding pre-teen, barely visible above the belly.  My butt is getting bigger, something I’d adamantly refused to admit before.  My curvy shape (you know, the one with a waist) from before the pregnancy is gone, replaced by a chunky, boxy, masculine-looking body.  I have huge guns from toting around a toddler all the time.  I’m not the petite, sexy thing I once was.  I don’t know why I expected to still be, but it was quite a reality check to be confronted with the fact that I’m not.

I am going to attempt to take another round of shots later today, in front of a mirror where I can see for myself what looks sexy.  I’m hoping that if I can capture on film some of that preggie sexiness I’ve felt up until last night, maybe I will be able to embrace my body for what it is now.  Maybe I will be able to accept the changes instead of fighting them and letting them affect my mood, like I am now.

By the way, if you’re interested, we also took a couple of pictures that are fit to publish on the family blog.  They aren’t much better than the others as far as my face and hair are concerned, but I’ll still post them anyway.  Here is one of them, so you can see I’m okay showing off at least something I wasn’t perfectly pleased with.  Besides, it will teach me to be a little less critical of myself.