The Most Ridiculously Awkward Stage of Pregnancy

I had two fairly easy pregnancies: no barfing, no intolerable mood swings, no complications that kept me off my feet, no stretch marks. When I think back on how I felt when I was pregnant, it's easy to come up with a litany of complaints (chronically stuffed-up nose, evil heartburn, wildly restless legs at night, inexplicable addiction to that beige liverwurst paste that comes in a tube, etc.), but really, I had it pretty good.

Truthfully, I think the issue that plagued me the most during my first pregnancy had nothing whatsoever to do with health or even comfort: it was my second trimester body image. You know, that awkward stage when you're no longer invisibly pregnant, or obviously pregnant—you're just ... incredibly misshapen.


It seems like I spent the first three or so months of that pregnancy walking around with what felt like a delicious secret: you have no idea I'm growing an entire human being inside of me right now! I have SUPER POWERS! Then my body started changing. My boobs got ridiculously, insanely ginormous, and my waistline sort of spread out all over the place like a baking pan of Pillsbury rolls. I didn't have a nice round baby bump, I had entire regions of altered topography that were unfamiliar to me.

My body image was all over the map. Sometimes I felt amazed and blessed and pleased with my own flesh. I would see my naked body in the bathroom mirror after stepping out of the shower, and I'd spend a few minutes sort of preening—turning this way and that, admiring the rounding swells of skin. I'd lie in bed at night and stroke my newly puffed-out midsection, thinking of the mysterious life within.

On the other hand, every morning meant a desperate rootfest through my closet in search of some elusive article of clothing that would be comfortable or at least tolerable, but wouldn't be dumpy or add more pounds to my frame than what I'd already gained. I wasn't quite ready for maternity outfits, but none of my existing clothes would button over my bulging waist or fit over my MX missile hooters.

I jerry-rigged my pants with a hairband, which would inevitably come loose later in the day and shoot halfway across the room when I sat down. You don't know humiliation until you've nearly taken a coworker's eye out with a flying elastic projectile, I'll tell you that for free.

I also experienced a strange phenomenon where an outfit would feel okay in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, I would bloat to the point where was in sincere danger of erupting from my cloth confines in a fleshy explosion of pent-up body parts.

Morning me:

Afternoon me:

I know it was a silly thing to focus on when the more important issues had to do with my health, the baby's health, and the upcoming life changes in store for us, but I couldn't help bemoaning that awkward stage while it lasted. Honestly, it was a giant relief when my body finally assumed an undeniably pregnant shape, and I could start wearing all those gloriously stretchy maternity muumuus.

The upside to dealing with weeks of feeling awkwardly non-pregnant-looking the first time around: by the second pregnancy, my belly cheerfully popped right out like a turkey timer—about five minutes after I peed on the stick. Yay?

Did you go through an awkward transition stage during your pregnancies? How did you deal with the clothes issues?

Images via Linda Sharps, Flickr/lsabin, Flickr/catmio

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