This past Friday I was sitting on the 52 bus en route to Notting Hill for an osteopath appt. (americans...that is like a chiropractor), and it was very crowded. We were all sardines, no other way to say it. So while I was trying to shrink into myself, I was looking around me and I FINALLY realised I was able to pin point the center of my anxiety that has gone from a 6 to a 9.8 (out of 10) whilst being pregnant. (hooray breakthroughs!!!)
SO! I think it comes down to the expected roles of women in the less obvious ways. Not the archaic roles of a woman at home etc. etc. (Hopefully that is old news.) I mean in terms of women and their expected (physically small) place in the world.
--->Be smaller/skinnier, be more easy-going/don't make a fuss, make other people's lives easier, etc. Who ever takes up the least amount of space wins! (le sigh.)
Simply by default of growing another person inside of myself, I now take up more space. This has been a very interesting and an uncomfortable transition to observe both from within and without. (fitzgerald shoutout.)
Being/falling/getting pregnant has forced me to tackle this reality (and it's less pretty societal cues) head-on. It's crazy to feel so uncomfortable by this reality, esp. whilst riding on London public transport, for example. "Take up less space" is all I can hear from fellow commuters' glares. Maybe they aren't glaring. Maybe they're just looking normally...
Even still, I feel like I pretty much have to yelp "I am actually pregnant" or show my protruding belly when my little "Baby On Board" button is dismissed and ignored and people encroach into my space (esp. when it's not that crowded!) All of those things (which do in fact happen every time I step out of my front doors) are digested as a hearty implication that yes, I am taking up too much room and society does not like it. Congrats, world! We are both uncomfortable! (note to self...lets try to have our next breakthrough to be being comfortable with the uncomfortable bc society isn't going to be anytime soon...)
Now, stepping outside of public transport into a more holistic view....I've always been super aware of the value society places on a woman who takes up as little space as possible (skinny=GOOD, quiet=GOOD) throughout my whole life. (Heartbreaking that it's common for a 10 year-old to be indoctrinated for a lifetime of "you'd be perfect if you lost 20 pounds"...wtf is that!) How is it possible to not be aware of that when beauty has typically been defined by a small waistline? (SEE: every magazine, movie, TV show, etc. EVER.) It's not a nice thing to be force-fed.
I have always been vaguely stressed in any social setting, public transport, or airplane situation as I tend to exhaust myself trying to see how courteous I can be (read: take up as little space as possible, draw as little attention as possible, be as quiet as possible etc) as soon as more than one person is around. When things get crowded...I get heat rash. I literally hate it, and then I feel like I hate people, (idk maybe I do?) and then I have to retreat into the sanctity of my home for about 3 days to recoup from it all. I am not happy that I find peace and safety in feeling invisible!
Semi normal segue here/speaking of safety in feeling invisible: Another pet peeve is how people suddenly see a green light to comment on your body or touch your body when you're pregnant. How is this ok, everyone who does that?
I think that is why I have also been having quite a love/hate relationship w instagram recently. I have been pulling back (and yes, losing lots of IG followers which I am reminded is a v. unhelpful and v. frustrating metric to begin to measure your value in this world.) However, I think intuitively I don't want people to feel like they have my permission to comment on my changing body. I KNOW MY BUMP/BODY IS BIG, there is a person in there. Additionally, it's easy to feel unsupported during pregnancy, and when I look at all these cool girls on instgram...I don't think that nourishes me or my baby. So there is that leg as well to the above.
That said, I do have some photos of my bump so far and a very realistic picture of my maternity style when bip-bopping around London...and I am happy to say it is v. comfortable. Shearling coat + cashmere hoodie + white sneakers + a Baby Blondie = one happy camper! I've been finding a lot of success with maternity bottoms (ie, joggers like below) from asos and gap. I hate skinny jeans and that seems to be the main option available for pregnant women! LAME. So I have been doing a massively large interweb overhaul search for non skinny jeans and guess what, there is hope. I have found some dreamy cool chinos from Gap (that I have just hand cut w scissors to fit above the ankle) and cool levi-esque jeans from Asos. And then these velvet kickflares are what I want for xmas....omg so cool!! I'll have some non-skinny maternity jeans style diaries coming right up cuties ;)
I really had hoped I would have been able to describe my pregnancy as 'graceful' but at least I am able to pick my dates and eat them too. Dates like the food, not like the calendar. Anyway, here is my journal at 4am one snowy London morning... xo Ashley