I now look visibly pregnant. I can still hide it pretty well by clothes, if I really want to, but I also have the inclination to rest my hand in a spot underneath my breasts and above this new arch that has formed.

I fight a strange ingrained doctrination of feeling fat and feeling like I need to lose weight-- I've only felt close to this once before in my life, and it was after a road trip in which we did virtually nothing but sit in the car and eat really rich meals. That weight was surprising because I have a really quick metabolism and have always been able to eat whatever I want, whenever. But I burned off the road trip weight doing normal, daily activities, and the surprise I felt then didn't linger.

By nature, I'm constantly moving or doing something. Even when I sit around and read all day, I'm shifting my position and don't feel inclined to eat much because I only need curiosity to fuel a reading habit. When just sitting in class or in church, I'm wriggling my foot or doodling or tapping my fingers in some unconscious rhythm. I'm even an active sleeper.

Now is the first time I've really felt those feelings of physical inadequacy that the media and an underlying male society ingrains in all girls. Apparently, it is even ingrained in me--one who rarely wears makeup, has really long hair, feels successful if she shaves her legs once a week, loves food and sleep and the simple pleasures.

To counter those fat feelings, I look at beautiful photo projects of other pregnant women. We're taking my own series of pictures, one a week, to chart my progress; we're going to turn it into a quick slideshow when the parasite finally pops. But while we're slowly working on ours, you can look at the two I've found so far: This quick video called How To Make A Baby, and a site that has a little bit of language shock to it, but is still beautiful, honest photography: Pacing the Panic Room, appropriately named because the father is the photographer.

Anybody else have links to counter these weird fat feelings, or any other good pregnancy projects? I'd love to see them.

From: [identity profile] underwaterdream.livejournal.com

No links or projects, but words of encouragement: there is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman, and when you get more pregnant you should henna a big beautiful circular design on your big beautiful circular belly. I love that. One of my friends in 9 months pregnant right now, and we just went to a conference, and she got so much belly love it was crazy. Baby parasites are terrifying, but amazing.

Also: read as much as humanly possible about pregnancy and infancy now, before your body starts to rebel even harder.

From: [identity profile] lightgreendryad.livejournal.com

I've been thinking about your comment all day, and I think I disagree with the statement that pregnant women are the epitome of beautiful. I don't see beauty in a bun in the oven. It's not ugly to me or anything, because I've looked at plenty of pictures and seen plenty of pregnant women, clothed and naked. I think I just see the belly as function.

Sure, there's fascination of the thing that's in there, making it round, and there is the wonder that the human body has the ability to make something like that without having to be taught, and that it's a temporary thing that will soon come out and live and breathe on its own, but the belly itself doesn't have any sort of appealing asthetic to me.

Thanks for the advice on reading as much as possible, though. Heaven knows there are plenty of baby and pregnancy magazines sitting in a pile next to my bed. I think I'll absorb those earlier than I had planned.

From: [identity profile] fireslily.livejournal.com

Now you know how the rest of us feel all the time. :P I have been told by a number of guys that pregnant women are incredibly sexy. It probably has something to do with survival instincts and being attracted to women who are obviously fertile.

This article has some good advice.

And in case you need to remind yourself every time you walk past a mirror, you could always get this.

If I find anything else, I'll let you know.

From: [identity profile] lightgreendryad.livejournal.com

Welcome to LJ, M'Linda. Now you can go back through my journal and read all the Friends-locked entries, which I'm sure you were just itching to do. They aren't too common, but there are some.

From: [identity profile] lin-chan.livejournal.com

Sometimes I felt beautiful being pregnant, if only because I didn't worry about my belly anymore. If it's big, it's supposed to be big, and I had a dang good excuse.
And of course at the beginning of the pregnancy, it's going to be hard feeling beautiful when you're throwing up twice a day. Don't feel like you have to love that part.

And also, toward the end of the pregnancy, if you're like me and you're bordering on preeclampsia, everything is going to swell up, your face, your nose, your chin, your fingers and toes, -everything. You don't have to feel beautiful then either.

But somewhere in the middle there, where it's obvious that you're pregnant, but you don't quite feel like a beached whale yet, you can totally feel beautiful. If you think about it, what's more feminine than pregnancy?