Becoming A Passenger In My Own Body

pregnancy, changes to your body during pregnancy, body dysmorphic disorder and pregnancy, body dysmorphic disorder, bdd, this stuff is golden,

Like many pregnant people, I put my hands around my newly inflated belly. It’s partly because that’s what I see pregnant people do, but I also cradle my bump to highlight how round this belly is becoming. This is to prove to myself and others around me that this is a pregnant belly, that I have only changed shape due to another human taking over my body – not because I am no longer looking after myself anymore.

Sometimes I pinch my belly. I catch a glimpse of it when standing sideways in the mirror or just sitting down, and it looks so alien to me. I pinch it to remind myself that it is a pregnancy belly – the pinch is to make sure that there’s not lots of fat suddenly covering my stomach. When I do pinch, I’m only pinching skin, which reassures me that this dome-shaped belly is growing because of my continuously expanding uterus and growing foetus, not because I’m gaining weight.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder, in my case anyway, makes me need to control how I look. I don’t like giving that control away – not for a photo, not to a hairdresser, not even to this baby. I understand of course that I’m going through a completely natural, miracle-like transformation, in which I am giving LIFE to another person – but even that is adding to how much I sometimes freak out about being pregnant.

When I read my first and only pregnancy book, there was every possible side effect under the sun listed within the first few chapters. Pregnancy can cause bigger hands, bigger feet, a rounder face, bleeding gums, backache, headaches, bloating, constipation – the list goes on. That book only made me feel shit about pregnancy, so it’s currently sitting in my ‘to give away’ pile of books on the living room floor. There’s so many body changes that you don’t necessarily even imagine, and the not-knowing of how my body will react to pregnancy during the next five months is terrifying. I don’t want my chubby cheeks again – my face has only just slimmed out from the baby face I hated in my teen years. Neither do I want huge hands.

I hope I do not sound vain or selfish. I know that the baby needs room to grow. I know that having a baby is a wonderful thing, but I am scared nonetheless. Sometimes I am already fed up of being pregnant – I miss having more energy, I miss not feeling so hungry that I want to throw up, I miss my clothes fitting me. I miss not feeling so swollen. On the other hand, I am somewhat excited for the final months, the big watermelon tummy, my belly button looking popped out like the tie of a balloon.

I suppose I am just overwhelmed with all the changes. Not only is my body changing uncontrollably, but my whole life is changing. We are moving at the end of this month, so I will have to say goodbye to Edinburgh. My SO will start having to go to the office instead of working from home all the time. I’ll be moving to a new town, completely alien to the both of us. And then of course, by December I’ll have a new-born to look after.

With all these changes, I think I’m allowed to freak out about my body no longer being just mine. Letting your body take over as it creates another human, making you become a passenger in your own vessel, is mind-boggling stuff.

And don’t even get me started on how much child-birth is scaring the shit out of me.

6 Comments

  • Courtney says:

    Everything you’re feeling is completely normal! I’m pregnant with my second child now, and I think I’m having a harder time accepting my body than the first time around. But everytime I glance at myself in the mirror I remind myself why my body is doing this. When you hold your baby for the first time, you’ll fall in love instantly and understand how amazing your body is for doing what it did. Women are amazing human beings. Only WE can grow a life starting out from a seed into a watermelon. And that, for sure, is something to be proud of. Lots of love and good luck!

    • Lauren says:

      Thank you so much for saying that! It is true, and I have no doubt that I’ll be so besotted and amazed once the baby is born that I’ll forget all about these insecurities! xx

  • Quinn says:

    I’m so glad to read this because I honestly think that whenever the day comes (if it comes), I will have the exact same thoughts on it as you have in your post. I don’t have body dysmorphia, instead I have a …. I don’t even really know how to explain it. A complicated relationship with food, I suppose, that revolves around fighting hard against developing any kind of anorexia while being careful not to swing so far the other way that I end up binging. In a way I suppose it’s maintaining a very tight control on things in order not to lose control, if that makes sense? The idea of the many things you can’t control in pregnancy terrifies me even though I know I’m probably just overthinking it… Are you moving far from Edinburgh? Will you have people around to support you?

    • Lauren says:

      In a way I’m glad that my feelings aren’t alien BUT I wish you didn’t feel that need to control your body too! I’ve also noticed that going running has become another method of control, and if I feel like I haven’t run regularly enough, my brain tells me that I am instantly overweight/disgusting/lazy etc… Not really sure how to move on from those feelings, especially when the baby bump becomes so big that running will just be uncomfortable.
      Moving wise, we are going to live with my mum temporarily in Hertfordshire whilst we find a new place to live, which will probably be in West Sussex! I will have friends in London and family within 2 hours of me, which will be nice to have again!

  • Gloria says:

    Lauren, throw out those books. Don’t even read anything like them. They are written by ignorant people. Pregnancy is natural and your body is designed for it. (obvious I know but believe me, if you believe those doomsayers you buy into it). Choose not to believe but better still, don’t even read /listen to it. It’s possible to go through pregnancy and have no noticeable changes other than your belly becoming bigger., and that’s temporary. I know because I did. I refused to believe any nonsense about the things you mentioned and I had none of those symptoms. I was pregnant at the same time as my cousin and I remember her saying how she was getting fat and how pregnancy makes you fat anyway so I’ll just get fat’. I remember thinking ‘that’s bullshit’. It’s just an excuse to eat all the junk she wants to eat and overeat, and she did. I refused to believe that pregnancy makes you fat. It doesn’t It makes you pregnant. That causes a growing belly, bigger breasts, some extra weight, but this is all natural and is needed for your growing baby and then to make milk when it’s born. It’s a perfect system – just trust it. Your body knows what’s needed. The system has been working for millions of years. Just trust it. One book I would recommend is ‘Breast is Best’ by Dr. Penny Stanway. It describes the perfect demand and supply system of breastfeeding. I learned a lot from that book and it explained why my baby wanted to suckle even when there was no milk at times (it was producing milk for the next feed!) Brilliant! A perfect system as I say. if we just learn to trust it. Good luck honey. You will be a great mum, and enjoy the miracle. xx

    • Lauren says:

      Oh my, I would never dream of using it as an excuse to eat everything and anything! If anything I’m being more conscious of what I’m eating to make sure that the baby a) has enough and b) has a varied, healthy diet. Plus of course being extra careful about gluten! I have indeed thrown the book away and will definitely look up the book you have recommended – may even ask for it as a pregnancy gift from my family! Thank you Gloria xxx

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