thoughts on meeting myself at twenty weeks
I feel like I’m meeting a new version of myself as I hit twenty weeks pregnant. With a belly that is growing exponentially faster than I anticipated, and an appetite that still can’t quite get down with too many green things (much to my dismay), I’ve been making my way through the second trimester with a bit more energy, appreciation for what women’s bodies are capable of, and an overwhelming amount of love for this growing human.
We managed to spend an entire week at the beach down in the Outer Banks at the end of September, a family tradition that means the world to us. Our schedules don’t always allow us to join, but this year it timed up perfectly between Robert’s unpredictable traveling, and a cookbook project that I just wrapped. Each morning we got up at sunrise, grabbed a mug of coffee, and headed down to the beach. It was a ritual that felt truly necessary to make the most of our week down there. Robert would then go for a run on the beach, while I meditated on the steps overlooking the ocean, and it was in those early morning moments that the beauty, and gravity of this time of growth and change really took hold of me. (Unsolicited side note- I’ve told so many people about my positive experience using the Expectful Meditation app, but I can’t stress enough how wonderful of a tool it has been for me during this journey. I highly recommend giving it a try.) Guided meditation has been an increasingly important part of helping me stay grounded, and at times when I felt so disconnected from what was happening to my body, I found that this guidance really allowed me to move through this process with a lot more ease and comfort, during moments when I felt utterly frustrated and awkward in my body.
We took my Hasselblad and my everyday camera with us down to the water one particularly magical looking morning. It felt right to document this particular moment, and as I scanned the film later on, a rush of feelings overwhelmed me. My body is changing, and it’s so wild to see it in this way. The lack of instant gratification is why I still shoot with this beloved tank of a camera. The anticipation, the process of scanning, all of it brings me back to the tactile love of the medium. Robert still shoots 4x5 when he can, and the two of us really come together over the process.
As I looked through these photos, I felt anxious about the size of my bump, this magical little baby house, protruding in my swimsuit. I found myself thinking -maaaaybe I wont share these, because in my mind I look further along than I am. My inner dialogue was a lot of- is that okay? Will people question it? We all carry our pregnancies differently, but the number one thing people have said to me, is that for a first pregnancy I look further along than I am. “Wow you’re big!” has been uttered more than once, which is too many times in my opinion. While it might be true that I’m growing at a different rate than some women, it has made me stop and question multiple times if my body was doing the right thing, wondering if somehow I could have done something differently to not show so quickly. With all of that floating around in my head as I examined the bump, and nitpicked the places I knew where weight had accumulated where it doesn’t usually, and noticed how different I was looking, how much rounder, my worry eventually dissipated. I felt grateful for the pictures of this time, and opted to share some of them here, because our bodies are incredible, different, nuanced, and capable of very amazing things.
The further into the journey I get, the more I realize that it’s largely about giving up control, and meeting your body where it’s at. Listening to what the body is craving, leaning into a slower pace, a different sleep schedule. Taking it one day at a time. I finished yoga teacher training this past spring, shortly before the news of my pregnancy. The timing of it all definitely does not feel like a coincidence. I feel better prepared to be expecting our first baby and for life as we know it to shift in a huge way, after the healing experience of training, where yoga, energy, meditation, and my spiritual practice became an even larger part of my everyday. I tried my best, but ended up not being able to practice during the first trimester very much. Each time I tried to go to a favorite class, my good friend Christie’s Gentle Flow, the nausea and fear of throwing up while in downward dog was far too distracting for my mind and body to fully engage. I took a break from the physical aspect of yoga, which felt strange. Yoga is a big part of my daily routine, and for those first few months it wasn’t feeling quite right. Meditation became more of my practice, and it wasn’t until we went to the Outer Banks that I really eased back into my usual morning flow. I’m back to a semi-regular schedule, and dove into the nourishing world of pre-natal yoga which often feels like the hug that your body needs during this time. All of it has helped me to feel more aligned, and a bit more like myself again. Reminders are helpful, as I tell myself to remember that fluctuation and change is at the root of it all, that my practice will shift again and again over the coming months and years, and that is entirely okay.
What a journey this has been so far. Know that wherever you are- pregnant, trying to conceive, mourning a loss, or moving through motherhood, your body is strong and capable, and doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.