Bump Watch

It’s fair to say that I have always been fascinated with pregnancy, even when I wasn’t keen on having children myself yet. It is an amazing feat that the human body creates a whole tiny human from a single cell, supporting and growing it then expelling a baby into the world. Like so many other things these days, pregnancy has now become the object of cosmetic scrutiny too, from bump watch features of celebrities and their ‘baby bumps’ before even a decent 12 weeks has elapsed, to comments on their weight gain, it seems the pressure is on to not only grow a human, but look good whilst doing it.

On a personal level, I didn’t expect to gain tons of weight in pregnancy as that’s not my natural predisposition anyway but I also didn’t want to. This wasn’t from a vanity perspective, but a health one. Women who gain a lot of weight in pregnancy (in case you’re wondering, the normal range is about 1.5-2.5 stone) are at risk of gestational diabetes and at higher risk of complications in labour and postpartum. That’s not to mention the difficulty of losing it afterwards. Aside from these thoughts, it is a huge shift in your body image and whilst I have loved seeing my baby belly emerge and swell, I still catch sight of myself sideways in shop windows and am surprised at how different I look.


(A selection of bump shots from readers around 20 weeks)

Added to all of those things are the constant comments people feel inclined to make about your changing shape, that you may or may not feel so confident sporting. Anyone who is pregnant or has been will know that they range from the complimentary, ‘You are so neat!’ or ‘It’s all baby, you haven’t gained any weight!’ to the unintentionally panic inducing ‘Look at the size of you!’ and everything in between. I have tried to take them all in my stride – I want to grow a healthy baby, who is gaining weight normally and keep myself healthy enough to breast feed easily afterwards. Comparison is also the thief of joy – my best friend is 6 weeks less pregnant than me and although quite a way off when you compare a 20 and 26 week bump for example, she has also been carrying a completely different way to me, not popping out a bump until much later. At one point I felt like a house by comparison, but I know I was desperate for my bump to pop out and now at term, it all feels like par for the course as I realise I haven’t actually morphed into a baby elephant as it sometimes felt like I would!


(A selection of bump shots from readers around 28-31 weeks)

Lastly, there’s the power of the pregnant blogger (I don’t count myself among). I know before I was pregnant and during, I have looked at my favourite bloggers sporting a neat and fashionably dressed bump with no weight gain and then snapping back to shape almost instantaneously it seems on social media. Whilst I know the reality is not always presented, it’s hard to remember that when fashionable maternity clothes are few and far between and you just can’t stretch that non-maternity dress over your bump anymore!


(A selection of bump shots from readers around term – 37w+)

All this made me think, women carry so differently and look so different in pregnancy, why not make a montage of women, all at the same stage of pregnancy and here are the results. I want to thank each and every one of you that sent in your pictures – I’m so grateful and I loved looking at so many happy, proud, glowing faces. Funny snaps in the booze aisle at the supermarket, holiday pictures, excited dads getting in on the act, post waters breaking grins, and a generally fab time in your lives. This is the real shape of pregnancy, and every single picture is beautiful. Thank you so much!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Weeks 14 – 20

Our 12 week scan was actually done a day before I was 14 weeks, so it then didn’t feel long before we’d be seeing baby again. At 16 weeks I really started to feel a difference in how tired I was, getting back to my usual bedtimes (almost!) and being able to actually do something with my evenings again. It was so liberating and fortunately co-incided with the work in our bedroom coming to an end from a building point of view and us having to start the clean up and decorating prep.

The majority of these weeks for me were spent waiting to feel movements. I had been told I have an anterior placenta which means it kind of cushions me from feeling any movements at the front. At 18 weeks I was on my sister in laws hen do and after coming home early and a week or so of ‘was that something?’ feelings, I got three definite kicks as I lay in bed waiting to go to sleep. I didn’t feel anything for three days after that, until a few more at work and then it became more frequent as I kind of ‘tuned into’ what I should be feeling. I expected it to get stronger too, which some of the movements have done, but not hugely. It was only sitting waiting for our 20 week scan (at 19+6) that I felt one so strong that I thoughts Pete might feel it, but of course he couldn’t, it was still too early. For any of you waiting to feel those movements and wondering what it is like, the best way I can describe it is to say it’s like being softly flicked from the inside, or like when your eye muscles twitch involuntarily. 🙂

I also spent a lot of this time waiting for my bump to pop out. From a medical point of view I knew I should be able to feel it above my pubic bone any time from 12 weeks, but I didn’t feel it until 14 weeks. It was 16 weeks before I felt I looked different in myself but I don’t think anyone else would have known (or been brave enough to ask,) then at 19 weeks, it just came out of nowhere. I bought my maternity jeans at 17 weeks, because my normal jeans still fitted but if I sat or bent in them I just felt like they were digging in really uncomfortably.

These weeks felt like they flew by. After the initial weeks of counting the days until we could relax and assume everything was ok, which seemed to crawl, the weeks are just disappearing before we know it. When our 20 week scan came it was soooo much bigger than before, I had a proper ‘bump’ and sitting waiting for the scan was the first time it really went nuts, moving around for 45 minutes or so constantly. After all our deliberations about finding out the sex we decided to have the radiographer write it down in a cute card we bought with the intention of looking at it later together, perhaps in Barcelona when we could get excited properly. Baby had other ideas though and in what I hope doesn’t set the tone for his or her behaviour in the future, baby was cross legged with its bum firmly wedged down in my pelvis so they couldn’t see at all and we left none the wiser. Fate maybe? In actual fact I wasn’t disappointed at all in the end. We had already decided we would keep it to ourselves anyway, so it made that decision a lot easier!

I hope you enjoyed the update readers, I’ll be back with a 20+ week one soon. 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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