Let’s Hear it for “The Girls.”By Rachel Zients Schinderman
July 27, 2010
I just found my old maternity bras in our garage. I’d been down there before scouring for them, but between furniture, Benjamin’s old clothes, toys and books and who knows what else, it seemed they were gone for good. Until, like a parting of the sea, Jay headed down to make a little space so we could maneuver through the chaos. And while bringing down my suitcase after our recent babymoon trip to Hawaii, there they were, resting in perfect view, as if they were asking, “Where ya been?”
This may not seem monumental, but when you are growing a human person in your body and that said body is growing in every sort of direction on a daily basis, the bosoms need a little extra care. It’s not just the boobies that are growing, but they are one of the first indicators of when my body is getting uncomfortable. Well actually it’s my back that’s trying to hold them up that is feeling the pain.
I know they have an important job to do. They are growing so that they can eventually feed our child. I know this rationally and intellectually. In fact, I know this about the whole experience of being pregnant. I know that my body is growing and changing and getting bigger (even though I am eating relatively well) because it is not only housing our future child but growing and nurturing it.
It’s beautiful actually.
But it is hard to feel beautiful when your back hurts or your breasts are falling out on all sides or your thighs rub together chafing or when someone says in passing after seeing your belly, “No more doughnuts for you.”
It’s especially hard because not to toot my horn or anything, but I used to be rather adorable. It’s been awhile since I have been incredibly adorable. But I have turned a few heads in my day. In fact, these very same breasts that are causing me such agita used to provide me with ample attention. When I was about 22 and they were young and perky, I went to theater school. I had this one teacher who used to say, “Lead with your tits!!” He didn’t mean just me. He meant everyone. Own what you’ve got. Enjoy it. Make them stare.
But it is hard when they are staring and you don’t want such a constant gaze. I don’t know why pregnancy invites people to feel comfortable to comment on your body. And negatively at that. I am already having a hard time of it. I don’t need the little old lady at the bagel store asking me when I am due, and after I tell her she cocks her head funny taking in the size of my belly, and now knowing I have more than two months to go, says, “Sometimes doctors are wrong.”
So I’m big.
My husband keeps telling me he doesn’t think that I am so big. And I actually believe him. I believe he believes that. This is why I married this man. But regardless of other people’s responses, good or bad, sometimes I just feel a little displaced in my own body. I am no longer completely in control, which I guess is a perfect allegory for motherhood. I admit I am ready for it to be done.
Except for one part.
I love to feel the baby move. I love the kicks. I love laying on our couch and Jay leans into my belly and says, ”Hi, this is your Daddy” and then my belly dances. I love playing with Benjamin with his Elmo and Big Bird finger puppets. He places one of them on my belly to see if the baby moves enough to knock it down. Benjamin usually makes me laugh and the toy goes falling to the ground way before our experiment is complete.
This most likely will be my last pregnancy, so moments like those, I treasure. But chafing thighs, not so much.
It is not just vanity, though admittedly that plays a part. (I have been pregnant before and I know it will not just all fall off with great ease as it does for some women.) It is about being comfortable, about having to move differently in your own body than you have always been used to. It is a shift in how you know how to be. That is why finding those specialty bras (and not having to buy new ones) in my garage was such a coup.
I am trying to own it, to show off my belly, to lead with my tits, as they say. So I will hold my chin (or at this point chins) up high. For those who want to know how much weight I’ve gained or look at me with judgment, just remember, I am a walking science experiment. I am growing an actual person inside of me and then these ever growing bosoms will be able to feed that person. That’s pretty cool. So even though I haven’t actually had one doughnut through this entire pregnancy, maybe I’ll go reward myself with one now.
” I had this one teacher who used to say, “Lead with your tits!!”
I will lead with my tits from this day onwards.
Your donut abstinence is not simply jarring to me, but suggests that you are possessed of a discipline and acceptance far beyond anything of which I am remotely capable. I would be of the mindset: “I’m pregnant- I’m going to get bigger anyway, so I might as well have a donut.” That mindset would lead me straight into a daily donut habit that would crush me post-partem.
You clearly have a clearer vision of things. Good luck with the rest of it, and thanks for getting Simon to lead with his tits!
This was touching and illuminating. Thank you for a great post.
Leading with my tits,
My best with your pregnancy. My wife and I were talking about pregnancy and babies and conception and reproduction and all that lives in the (m)(p)aternal world on Monday. To be pregnant really is a fascinating thing to think about. Not me. My ovaries are on the outside. But you know, a woman. When you really stop and think about it, it’s such a little miracle — a baby. An actual living being inside of another living being . . . just living, hanging out for a while, kicking, feeding, swimming. I don’t have any kids yet. Never experiences birth or fatherhood or acronym heavy tests at the doctor’s office; but man, it’s got to be such a beautiful thing.
Indulge in your donut.
My wife has about 2 weeks left in term. This is #4, and she’s grown differently with each baby, and recovered afterward differently. I’ve always marveled how the body can be so elastic, but then indeed gestation is the ultimate marvel, so that seems appropriate.
Good luck, good health, and fuck anyone who thinks it’s their place to judge your dose of miracle.
Oh! I’ve just realised, I’ve been very rude.
Rachel, of course, congratulations and good luck and health to you and your family!
And Uche, I had no idea! How did I miss this development? Love and health from Australia to you, your wife, and the (growing) family!
Congratulations! What wonderful news.
All best wishes and PLEASE some pictures eventually.
You are a glorious work of nature, perfect in every way.
Do not let anyone spoil a moment of this glorious experience!
Thanks for sharing this, Rachel. A very honest piece.
Well, my baby is kicking at the moment, so this registers. We’re a month out from birth.
What I didn’t realize is that the kicks become movements later in the pregnancy.
Early on, it was these cute little flutters. Now it’s like somebody’s elbow is rubbing up against my hand.
I didn’t know you were having a baby too.
This is wonderful!
I can’t wait to hear who it is in there!
Nice post! “Growing an actual person inside” of you–now THAT’S an accomplishment. I have a fear of heights and I’ve gone skydiving, but now I feel small. In a good, smiley way.
My sister is pregnant for the first time. She’s a small, gorgeous person and will, undoubtedly, struggle with just the sort of things you’re talking about. Right now, however, nausea is the word of the day.
Rachel, oh dear, I laughed with often deep ruefulness at your apt descriptions of body changes…..that entire clever mechanism that simply takes over one’s physical being like a ship’s captain aiming for port.
But, Rachel, I never thought I’d weep at this wonderful post of yours. Yet here it was, the weep-trigger: “My husband keeps telling me he doesn’t think that I am so big. And I actually believe him. I believe he believes that. This is why I married this man.”
All congratulations to you and your dear husband and another fortuitous birth!
May I briefly hijack your comment space to congratulate Uche and his wife, as well! Wow….and Brad and his wife!! August is a major TNB baby month!
Thank you everyone for reading and Mazel Tov to all those expecting…and just so you know, I finally broke down and had some donuts tonight…yes that’s plural! DonutS! 🙂
Um, wow, thanks guys. Feeling sheepish about hijacking, so I’ll just redeem myself by mentioning how I’m doing all the hard work while wifey’s racking up all the points…
Stupid joke don’t even work considering she’s nesting like a mother (shut yo mouth) right now…Bob Villa couldn’t touch her, this month.
Congrats to Brad, and all others in the queue. Mazel Tov in turn!
Seriously Uche, were you always this awesome? Or should I personally thank your wife?
Looking forward to news of miracle #4, you lucky man.
Lori is pretty thermonuclearly awesome, yes, but I’m happy enough to be her surrogate. At least for the receiving compliments business, not the gestation business, which looks a bit much for me.