This post is part of the PAIL monthly theme focusing on Body Image.
Just last Friday I stood meekly on the scale at my OB’s office as the bright red numbers flashed quickly before settling on 160. I cringed. At only 17 weeks I’ve already gained 16lbs. I will have to curb my weight gain substantially if I want to meet my 35lb total pregnancy gain goal. I already feel like a failure.
Body image during pregnancy is a strange beast. Pregnancy changes your body in odd and unexpected ways, at least for most of us. Of course there are those women who tout perfect size-four frames, sporting a gloriously round baby bump. But for most of us, pregnancy is not just about a burgeoning belly. It’s also about massive porn tits, ever increasing backsides and a layer of protective fat that covers every inch of the body. Your face gets swollen and your cheek bones retreat into the puffy fleshiness. Every single inch of you is BIGGER. Suddenly you don’t recognize yourself, and despite the deep gratitude and overwhelming awe of what is going on inside of you, the transformation can be difficult to endure.
On my 5’8″, size 8 frame, 16 pounds is not easily hidden, especially when it’s not obviously caused by pregnancy. I’ve already lost sight of my cheek bones, while my ass can be spotted from a significant distance. I have something of a bump but really it is more a mound of dimpled flub congregating in front of my slightly larger uterus. I wear a belly band to shape said chunk into something not quite so monstrous but still, I mostly just look fat.
The part of my body that is really upsetting me these days is my chest. My titays are massively huge. Already my 40DD bra is bursting at the seams, leaving deep groves around my rib cage. These porn tits are giant and they only seem to be growing bigger. And now, with every outfit I choose, the question must be asked, How are the tatas going to be contained?
Because… these tatas must be contained.
I’m a middle school teacher. I teach boys who are weathering intense storms of pre-pubescent hormones. Cleavage is not something I can sport at school. And I remind you that teaching doesn’t just involve standing in front of a class, but also requires bending over at a student’s desk, mere inches from his poor, acne stained face, one’s chest area following behind one’s face, despite all one’s efforts to keep it away. Basically my breasts need to be on lock down at all times. There can be no chance of them making a surprise appearance for both my own sake and the sake of those poor 8th grade boys.
I guess that is really what makes me the most nervous about my body right now, how these rather large breasts seems to sexualize me in ways that do no feel comfortable. I have never been a very sexual being. I had barely kissed anybody before having sex at the ripe old age of 25. My first time was all about getting it over with so that I would no longer be some kind of loser freak I was sure all mid-twenties something virgins (not-by-choice) must be. Sexuality has always made me uncomfortable. It was NEVER something I embraced and my inability to truly celebrate my sexuality puts a strain on my relationship to this day.
Accommodating my massive titays at a time when I’m feeling anything but sexual is hard for me. I don’t want to see 4 inches of cleavage adorn any outfit, let alone most of them. I don’t want people to be thinking about my large breasts right now. I don’t want my body to be sexualized, maybe even fetishized, when I feel so unfamiliar in my own skin, when I feel so vulnerable.
The problem is, massive titays are hard to hide. I have an arsenal of high necked camasoles that I wear under most shirts. I’ve purchased some light scarves to adorn the maxi dresses I love that are cut too low (or that my breasts overpower with their sheer size and strength). I can’t tell you all the many ways I’ve developed to dress down these porn tits. My motto these days is most definitely: THE TATAS MUST BE CONTAINED.
Because I certainly don’t want ANYONE seeing them. They embarrass me. They even kind of disgust me.
When I look at myself in the mirror all I can see are these massive tities. They stretch every piece of clothing, bursting most at the seams. It’s almost as if they are screaming to be seen. They seem so abnormally large in comparison with the rest of my body. They hurt. They itch. They pull on my shoulders and back. They assassinate my self esteem. They are just really hard to handle.
Honestly, the weight gain of pregnancy doesn’t bother me. I’m not worried about how I’ll look at the end of all this. I gained 55 lbs the first time around and I know my body will never be the same. I’ve come to terms with that. I just have a hard time during these months when I have to walk around in this foreign body, with all its strange, newly sized appendages and all the baggage they bring with them.
Pregnancy is, in and of itself, a declaration of sexuality. For 85% of people, pregnancy is the result of sex. When people see that you’re pregnant they KNOW you had sex. And it’s not that sex itself embarrasses me, but I don’t like being forced into this role of overt sexuality. I don’t like my huge breasts serving as a constant reminder of how easily objectified I might be. I just want to go back to having the body I’ve known for so long, the one I feel comfortable in. Of course I wouldn’t trade this pregnancy for that body for all the riches in the world, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy looking this way, especially now when it’s not at all clear WHY I look this way.
Hopefully, when my belly starts to really swell, my breasts won’t seem to abnormally giant and I won’t feel so sexualized because of them. I just need to wait a few more months. And in the meantime, I need to thrown a camisole under my shirt and tie a scarf on top, whatever it takes to direct attention away from my enormous tatas.