Body Image Series : Because of Her.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant. Let's talk shock factor. My husband, Chris had just left for a retreat to kickstart his new job as a teacher and I woke up (late) after an Alabama Shakes concert feeling pretty nauseous. Not the hangover nauseous, minus the fact that I had consumed quite a few beers in a neon green koozie that hung around my neck (insert ridiculous eye roll here but yes, I wore it).

I decided why not, let's just take a test for fun. And yep, I had one in my bathroom. I don't know about you ladies but I pretty much freaked out about being pregnant since starting to have sex, so the pregnancy tests (yep, the double pak) were always a staple hidden somewhere behind the towels or nail polish remover.

Test : POSITIVE

What a rush. And my sweet husband is not even in town. And oh my word, what about all those beers last night?

I literally texted Chris to call me at his earliest break and had to tell him via phone. He totally knew, he is kind of intuitive like that. And to be honest, I had not been on pinterest to see all the cute ways you can tell your husband. Good old text message and phone voice was the way for us.

So, we are pregnant. And over the moon. And freaking out. And excited.

All of the emotions.

Family is a big number one core value for us and Chris and I knew we wanted to start trying right away. We waited a while to tell our families and friends and to be honest, it was actually so fun to have such a big secret just between the two of us. It is almost like you keep getting to explore how to be best friends in your marriage, over and over again.

Now, when we did start to tell our crew, this is where the body image notes start to land. I remember certain statements people said to me, such as:

"Careful. What you put on you have to work off after!"

"How much hot chocolate are you drinking (insert side eye smirk face)?"

"This is isn't a free for all get out of jail free pass to eat whatever you want..."

Even more recently, I loved this one:

"Whoa, do you think you are going to get even bigger than you are now?"

Or this one when I asked my friend to grab me a maternity top on her shopping trip like the exact one I was wearing at the time in a different color, her response:

"Oh sure. Do you want us to get you the next size up for you?"

What next size up? This size fits fine. I could have slapped her. I did, mentally.

Yet the truth of the matter is this: I really, really love being pregnant. I cannot believe we can create a human being inside of our bodies. It still blows my mind and I have been in the process for 8 months. I cannot believe that our skin just stretches to create space. And the fact that we have two hearts in our bodies at one time is absolute magic to me (some women even more with multiples, so much love).

And the body comments or social media complaints I stumble upon when people can't breathe in cardio or worry about pre-baby body, I seriously brush it off. Grain of salt, brushed off. For now...I'll keep you posted on the journey after.

So let's do a high level recap on my pregnancy, I was totally exhausted the first trimester. I am talking mega naps. One time, I took two naps in one day and went to bed on time. My body pretty much looked the same with maybe a little bloat here and there. Second trimester, energy was back and I was really starting to show. I only wore tight clothes and I loved seeing how different I looked each day. People compliment you, smile at you and open doors for you. It is really bliss. And the third trimester, finally had to break down and buy maternity clothes, maternity jeans and lay low on the travel life. I am about three weeks to my delivery date today (of course, we guess) and I will say that sleeping feels hard, breathing is funny, you definitely cannot overeat and well, I do feel really heavy.

Truth be told, I am really heavy.

I went to the doctor last week and my parents were in town. I got off the scale and realized hey, I weigh more than my Dad. That was weird. I will probably surpass my stud of a husband here in the next two weeks!

And to be real with you, for once in my life, the crazy growing scale has not bothered me one bit. Not for even a hot second. Of course I want to be sure I am healthy, too. Yet I also want to indulge and I have.

I think about the why. Why is that number rising? And I recognize that I am currently a home for another life. I am currently a nutrition system for another being. I am currently expanding to create space so she can live.

I am creating space so that she can live.

I had to write that one again. Because isn't that what we are always doing? Think on it.

And then think more on the why. Pregnant or not pregnant...

Why do our bodies change and evolve? So much of this series written has been about the changes, the evolution, that deeper understanding of the mind and body connection and our true choice in it. We have to go deeper when it comes to being in a real relationship with our bodies (even if it is hard). We must ask why, we must choose love and we must explore our perspectives that are truly supporting the home we live in, our beautiful bodies. 

When I used to daydream about being pregnant, I envisioned I would be super fit. Running and yoga and dabbling in different pre-natal classes. Remember my six pack Mom I shared about, I remember seeing her pregnant with my little sister and her six pack split in two. Girl was fit. I thought that would be my journey. Well, nope. Not my journey. Five months in, I can honestly say I was very, very, very sedentary. It is almost like my body, after 32 years of sweating, working out, running, training, hiking and yoga-ing was like, 'hey girl, let's just sit...on the couch.'. And I listened and I did. Month six and seven I got my pilates on and this month I am off and on with walks, a little pilates and a yin yoga here and there. I never could get into the pre-natal classes. One of the teachers kept calling us all goddesses, which hell yes I am a goddess, but I just couldn't get into the vibe in class. I have gone to regular yoga and modified (note: I am a certified yoga teacher, I was not just modifying out of thin air).

And my body has changed. A lot.

My whole body.

My arms aren't toned anymore. My thighs are carrying the weight of my top half and the layers of 87 days of hot chocolate in a row during the Winter. I do still have ankles, somehow. And yes, my boobs feel ginormous. My moles are darker. My hair stopped growing on my arms. And my face looks different. My nose has changed shape a bit (which they say happens) and of course I have added some larger cheeks to the mix. And I totally keep catching my double chin in pictures and momentarily scoff. Truth. And as I look in the mirror, I still recognize myself and yet I see someone completely different at the same time. 

I am evolving.

I am creating.

I am so much woman.

I am me. Yet different. I am me and a we.

And in this embrace of the changes within, in this time that I consider to be absolutely magical, and in this space in time that I get to truly share with my daughter, I wanted to capture the curves, the home, and the transition in my female form.

I wanted to celebrate and honor ... myself. That feels big. Not my size, that statement right there. Celebrate and honor myself in this time and transition.

So I did....

...in a series of images captured by the amazing photographer and dear friend, Tayler Carlisle. The images will be framed in my home with the intention of creating imagery that I could share with my daughter one day, share the journey with her of where she came from and share the beautiful acceptance I felt for the first time in my life ... because of her.

Because of her. 

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