A handful of people have been commenting lately, "wow, you look great!" or, "You're looking very cute these days!" There's a wholehearted enthusiasm behind their words that I am not used to and quite frankly, it leaves me with a funny feeling. I don't know if it's because I am pregnant that I am looking cute, because I am looking cute considering my pregnant state, or I am looking tired & haggard & hot & sweaty & fed up and folks are complimenting my appearance to make me feel better. I don't get many compliments on my appearance outside of being pregnant (or maybe I've forgotten, because it's been a long, long time that my body has been in it's natural, un-pregnant state) so it's becoming hard to feel like these comments come from a genuine place or the place where it's just a social norm to compliment any pregnant woman on her supposed adorable, life-bearing appearance.
But let's face this obvious fact, now, shall we? As my mother in law put it last night, everyone thinks the pregnant girl is cute except the pregnant girl herself.
I do not feel cute. It's hot here in Southern California, and I feel like a sweaty mess. I feel like a big round Violet Beauregard-esque beach ball, squeezing into jeans I can't button. I feel like I should give up, lay around in my air conditioned house in my Lakers t-shirt and underwear and ride out the rest of this pregnancy in peace and quiet. That's the cynical, self-conscious place inside of me that doesn't want to be so self aware but can't help being so. I am always self-critical and somehow pregnancy has exacerbated my body-consciousness to the point that I'd rather hide out in the bathroom than play with my one year old in the pool on Labor Day. I can't help it. It's something I've been working on for years and in spite of having a husband who finds me attractive and a slew of (supposed) pregnant-admirers I can't shake my outward self-hating ways.
The closer I get to giving birth to a girl I realize... I need to stop this. Pregnant or not, it is not healthy to pick yourself apart. There comes a point that you have to accept yourself as you are even if you have plans to change it. You are who you are in your current state and it makes your every ounce worthy of love and adoration. Not just from others, but even more so, from yourself.
The good news is I am 36 weeks pregnant, and I don't have much time left in this beach ball body of mine. I have new challenges with this body to face; greater, more noble challenges (ahem, childbirth, perhaps) than just simply looking cute. I am not enormous, I am just pregnant and living life.