Okay, I possibly read too many Asterix books when I was little, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the sky is about to fall down. To prevent myself from going native, screeching for Getafix to come up with a solution instead of fannying about with the Magic Potion and making eyes at Cleopatra*, here’s another post.
The thing about being pregnant – or at least, being pregnant in 2014 in the UK (I can’t really vouch for another time and place) – is that you’re supposed to think that you’re amazing. There’s a lot of crap out there banging on about how you must love and cherish your changing body shape, how you are beautiful and how you must adore yourself even more the bigger you become. You are a Madonna (not Madonna, obviously, although that said, she’s pretty good on the whole Cherish front).
Those of us who are not enjoying our new body shape are ostracised from the Beautiful Pregnant Lady Club (BPLC). (I need to think of a better acronym. It’ll come in about two blogs’ time.)
“You’re not fat, you’re pregnant! You’re not fat, you’re pregnant! You’re not fat, you’re…” has followed me round this time like a particularly annoying Pharrell Williams song (actually, I think there’s only one Pharrell Williams song – yes, yes, I’m sure I’m right). And okay, it’s lovely that people say that – it’s very thoughtful and kind. But I think some of us retain the right to admit to ourselves (and the world) that yes, we are pregnant, but we are also a good deal fatter than we were before.
I don’t mind the bit that sticks out at the front – the bump is lush. It’s really very nice to be pregnant, and to get to this stage (SEVEN MONTHS – hoo-bloody-rah: see this for very good reasons why I’m hooing: http://bit.ly/1l7uatf). But there’s all the other stuff too – the biggerness of me all over. Thighs, ankles, face. Ugh. Horrid. Hate it. What’s more, I should be allowed to hate it without the BPLC hating all over me because I hate it. We – pregnant people who are not skipping through fields of flowers being at one with our expanding waistlines – should be allowed to be collectively disgusted with ourselves if we want to be. That’s all I’m asking.
Body image is a weird thing. In my teens, a friend and I coined the term “mirror face”. If you need it spelling out, it’s the face you pull when you’re looking in a mirror – especially if you happen to be applying mascara at the time. You’re leaning forward (THINNER!), you’re sucking your cheeks in (EVEN THINNER!), and your eyes are open wide (MORE BEAUTIFULLER THAN EVER BEFORE!). As you walk away from that mirror, you think to yourself, “Ah, yes, wonderful, like Robin Wright in House Of Cards”. Seconds – literally seconds – later, you catch a reflection of yourself in the tinted window of a Ford C-Max, and you think to yourself, “Ah, yes, wonderful, like Kevin Spacey** in House Of Cards.”
And now, not only do I have Mirror Face Issues, but I have Mirror Body Issues too. In profile, wearing the correct type of horizontal stripe, I think “Ooh, just like that famous model what was pregnant last year.” And yet caught in the reflection of aforementioned C-Max, I think, “Ooh, what was the name of that disgraced Lib Dem MP for Rochdale again?”
* It was to do with her nose. He went quite giddy about it. I thought this rather odd at the time.
** NB: Admittedly, this segue from Robin to Kevin probably isn’t quite so devastating for men. Although I’m pretty sure that everyone wants to look like Robin Wright, regardless of gender.