The belly only pregnancy has become quite the fad recently, with Instagram and YouTubers sharing “tips and secrets” for how to achieve this interesting goal. There’s a lot of women who probably have questions, like is a belly only pregnancy safel? Is it achievable? What does it take? Well, I don’t have any tricks to share, but I certainly have some thoughts on the topic. Here’s a few reasons I won’t be seeking the belly only pregnancy.
The Belly Only Pregnancy: Why I Won’t Be Participating
My Body Won’t Do It
At least not without some very unhealthy and uncomfortable practices I’m not willing to engage in.
Like a lot of women, when I gain weight, I don’t only gain it in one area. And honestly, most of the time my stomach is one of the last places extra weight will show up on me. Call it strong Mexican genes, but typically when I do gain weight, I gain it pretty much everywhere south of my belly button. Hips, thighs, backside; all of those places are much more prone to show weight well before my stomach.
Also, I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I don’t have easy pregnancies. I typically get pretty sick for the first several weeks of pregnancy, which you might think would cause weight loss. And on the scale, it usually does. But to manage my severe morning sickness, the only food that I can sometimes tolerate is carbs. And while I have zero issues with carbs in general, I think we all know that a diet composition that is 90% carbs isn’t exactly balanced.
Which is no big deal during the early weeks of pregnancy, when I’m just doing my best to survive and retain some semblance of sanity. But the combination of carbs and the fact that I can’t really workout during the first trimester (because I’m too busy turning green every 10 minutes), means that while the scale may not show any weight gain, my body changes. In this pregnancy, I have no doubt that I lost a significant amount of muscle and gained some fat in the area’s where I typically gain weight.
So at 18 weeks pregnant, the belly only pregnancy ship has long sailed. My body has undergone changes, and they were 100% necessary for me. Because the only way I could have avoided these changes would have been for me to eat food I know wouldn’t stay down, and to somehow force myself to workout in between puking episodes. It would have been a horrible time, and the stress would have been absolutely less than ideal.
But it’s not just my body that is uninterested in a belly only pregnancy…..which brings me to my second reason.
F*ck Patriarchy & Society
It may not come as a surprise, but I generally have a pretty contrarian attitude. The fastest way to get me to do something is to give me a directive not to do it. This is especially true when it comes down to societal expectations. If I’m “supposed to do something,” I really don’t want to. I want to make my own decisions according to my own values, and if that bothers someone, I don’t particularly care. As long as I’m not hurting anyone else in the process, of course.
Unfortunately, society has a long history of telling women what to do. From what vocations are acceptable to how to behave in public to what is acceptable to wear and finally, to what their bodies should look like. The main idea seems to be that women should make themselves as small as possible. To have a small, quiet voice, to not make others uncomfortable with their thinking, to physically take up as little space as possible.
And what is that rooted in? In one word, patriarchy. Diet culture has a direct tie to patriarchal thinking. It tells women that in order to be acceptable or desirable, they have to force their bodies into submission. To be smaller is better, because it leaves more room for men. Even when we’re pregnant. And to all of that, I simply say no f*cking thank you.
What I Will Do, Instead
So since I’m not interested in chasing after a belly only pregnancy, here’s what I do plan to focus on.
- Allowing my body to do what it takes to make another human being, regardless of how much cellulite is required.
- Focusing on having a healthy pregnancy, where I try to exercise in a way that is comfortable and have a somewhat balanced diet. Because movement makes me happy, and gestational diabetes sounds like something I’d like to avoid if possible.
- Give myself grace for all of the hard work that is involved in creating a life, especially when that means taking a nap instead of working out.
- Enjoy my last few months as a mother to one child. I plan to take my son to the pool, unbothered by the fact that my pregnancy weight gain isn’t limited to my mid-section. Because if I’m going to be pregnant all Summer in South Texas, I’m going to spend my time floating like a glorious manatee as much as I want.
I have zero judgement for anyone who feels like they want to limit their pregnancy-related weight gain as much as possible. I understand how strongly we receive messages that encourage us to be critical of our bodies. And I know some women can have incredibly healthy pregnancies that are almost invisible from the back. But I also know I am not one of those women.
And to any of the other women out there like me, I invite you to join me in enjoying your all body changing pregnancy; waddle and all.