Fat and pregnant: 10 weeks

We were talking on Twitter today about the political and deeply personal nature of belly pics for those of us who are fat and pregnant1. There aren’t a lot of pictures of us — because we tend not to take them.

For most people in this culture — not only fat women — bellies are one of the, if not the, most stigmatized, most shame-laden part of our bodies. Add the all-over shame of existing in the world with a fat body, and it’s really, really hard for most of us to take and share photographs of our pregnant bellies.

There are a lot of reasons for this, each of which could be its own post, but briefly2:

  • Our bellies are fat, and, as is drummed into our heads and souls a thousand times a day in a thousand ways, fat is bad. And ugly. And bad! So even this place that nurtures the future, carries a wanted pregnancy, we cannot see as good and beautiful. (And then, even if, miracle!, we do, we are afraid of the reactions from others, afraid of the shaming and judgment and tsking and cruel comments.)
  • So often we spend years in fear of hearing “Are you pregnant?” when no, we’re just fat. Our bodies do not have the space to have “cute little pooches” in early pregnancy like people with very little abdominal adipose tissue. Our bellies are changing, but when we start out “already looking pregnant” (and told that is bad), we don’t want to take those early pictures.
  • Then, when we don’t have early pictures to compare to (because we’re “just fat”, and no one wants to see a fat belly!), we don’t want to take later pictures — because, again, we still look fat! Only a little more so! Our bodies may not look like what we expect mid-pregnancy bodies to look like, thanks to thin celebrities and Photoshop. Sometimes we look what we expect a very very pregnant person to look like very early on, and sometimes we hardly “show” at all. So we don’t take the pictures.
  • Finally, when we’re good and pregnant and really it’s quite obvious that’s a baby belly — we’re huge! We’ve may have gained weight all over, and there may be shockingly dark and purple stretchmarks bisecting all those old and silvery lines, and we think, that’s not what a pregnant belly is supposed to look like! And we don’t take the pictures.

The only way, the only way to overcome this is for more of us to take pictures. And to show them off. To say “this is what a fat and pregnant belly looks like”, and to know that not all fat and pregnant bellies look like that, because no two bellies, or bodies, are ever exactly the same. We don’t store fat the same, our uteruses don’t grow the same (betwixt multiple pregnancies, much less different people), our torsos and pelvises aren’t shaped the same. And yet — there is something amazingly uplifting about seeing a body that is like ours (even if not the same as ours), to see it celebrated and held up as beautiful and worthy of love and respect and, yes, photographs.

It is so very important for us to see3 people who look like us doing all manner of things in life so that we know we can do them too. It’s incredibly hard to be the first, or in the first generations, when we have so little to guide us, so little to let us know “yes, you can” and “yes, this is ‘normal’”, and “no, you are not alone”. And it’s scary, and hard, and often risky. So I’m not going to shame anyone for not taking or sharing pictures of themselves. But I am going to say please.

And you deserve to be seen.

And you are not alone.

And I’m going to post my pictures4. And you don’t have to like them, and you don’t have to gush over them5. But I hope you see them, and share them, and know that this is what a fat and pregnant belly looks like. And it deserves to be honored no less than any other belly.

10 weeks: the baseline. Subtle changes in shape, but my uterus hasn't yet risen out of my pelvis.

There’s a lot more I could say6, but instead I’ll leave you with some links, and a promise that this won’t be the last picture:

On body image, pregnancy, and BMI

Which lead me to: Feeling fat during pregnancy

and You’re Huge! Pregnancy and Size in a Thin-Centric World

Finally, no post on pregnancy and fat should be allowed without a link to Plus Size Pregnancy, which is an all-around amazing pregnancy and birth resource for everyone, but especially, obviously, for those of us who are fat and pregnant. It’s written by The Well Rounded Mama whose most recent post — sometimes I believe in serendipity — is Belly Thoughts.

We are out there, those of us willing to take pictures of and share our fat pregnant bellies. I’m hardly the first. But until it’s not rare enough to note, until we see bellies rounded from the start of pregnancy, stretch-marked going in to gestation, until whether one takes pregnancy pictures is only a question of “are you a picture person or a private person?” not “are you ‘beautiful’ enough or brave enough?” — it’s worth celebrating, these bellies of ours.

Did you blog about size and pregnancy, regardless of your weight? Did you take, whether or not you shared, pregnancy photos starting from early on? Was something holding you back that I didn’t discuss here? Please share your stories — and your links if you have them!

  1. You can follow the convo — and whatever other topics come up under that topic — on Twitter at #fatandpregnant.
  2. Those of you who are regular readers are laughing right now. Don’t think just because I can’t hear you that I don’t know. I know. Oh yes. I know.
  3. Which implies visual representations, but all forms of coming-to-know are meant to be included.
  4. I’d say every week, but my regular readers haven’t recovered from laughing at “briefly”, and I wouldn’t want to cause you injury from further guffaws.
  5. And for the love of all you hold dear please don’t say “but you don’t look fat!”
  6. Why lying down? Why basically nude? When am I going to get a decent camera and not my crappy first-gen iPhone? Will I ever learn how to compose a decent shot, or even what that means? (Probably not.) And also: yes, this is scary for me. I’m doing it anyway, but it took quite a bit of ramping up to get here, and now I’m in midair, uncertain of my landing. As the Fat Nutritionist and I jointly said on Twitter, the difference between a fat activist and an “overweight” person isn’t that we don’t feel any shame, it’s that we know the shame is bullshit.
Be Sociable, Share!

73 Responses to Fat and pregnant: 10 weeks

  1. Beautiful belly!

    I’m going to refrain from over using the porn star joke now as I’ve already beaten it to death (um, for those of you reading who are not on twitter … yeah, you had to be there). BUT, I just had to mention this: Is that a SHAVEN ARMPIT? OMG! Yer doin’ feminism wrong!

    And thus ends another randomly flippant comment from yours truly. You still love me, right?

    • Kareena — actually, it’s not. I almost didn’t post this pic because ZOMG THERE ARE WISPY HAIRS JUST VISIBLE AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!1!1!!!! My cred as the razor-chomping ev1l feminista of DOOOM remains intact.

      Though I am procreating. With a man. Think I might get barred for that one alone, furry pits be damned.

      (For those following along: if you don’t get it, um… Just move along. Nothing to see here. Well, a half-naked woman and half a dozen armpit hairs. But nothing else. We’re not really here. Go back to your non-confusing existence. And drive safe!)

      …I need to stop replying to your comments at giggle-o’clock-in-the-technically-morning.

      • *squints* Oh yeah … I guess I can kinda see some hair. Kinda. I guess I’ll let you go on that one. ;)

        Also? Consider this: It’s NOT giggle-o’clock-in-the-technically-morning (or night or whatever) here and I’m still making randomly stupid comments like I do. So, um, yeah … not sure what my point was there.

        But, look! Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows!

      • I never would have noticed your pits, furry or unfurry, if they hadn’t been pointed out! Even now that they have, I’m all, “eh, whatever.” You look scrumptious, and I know you’re nauseated and probably not feeling all YAY! over every moment of pregnancy, but I’m feeling some YAY for you. Yay baby, yay doing something that freaks you out a bit, yay for sharing your old post about your breasts.

        I took more photos with each pregnancy. Some of that was because my body fit beauty standards more with baby #3 than with babies #1 and 2, but some of it was also because motherhood made me appreciate my body more with each baby. I wish I had documented #1 and #2 better. With #3 I took almost-weekly belly profile shots and animated them. You’re making me realize the privilege I experienced in seeing the bump grow. Thanks for that perspective.

  2. BELLY! Hi baby! :D

    As a photographer, I tell every woman to document her pregnancy- at the very least herself (or with her partner’s help). And I have photographed a few pregnant women of size- but just a very few. They were no less beautiful pregnant, and it was a joy and honor to capture not just their bodies but their love and excitement as best I could.

    And now I want to burst into song, a version of Hair that’s rewritten for bellies.

  3. Love this! (Hello, baby belly!) Honestly, I wish you could travel back two and a half years and post this then. Somewhere my not-yet-reading-parenting-blogs self would have seen it. In fact, when you find yourself with a Tardis time machine, let me know. ;D

    I took pictures, but I remember — distinctly — being disappointed that I didn’t look pregnant until the very end. At 21 weeks I took, like, a dozen pictures of myself in the mirror (fully clothed, because it wasn’t until after my son was born that I started to respect what I have going on here), trying to capture what looked like a maybe-baby-belly to me. I asked my husband’s opinion on the pictures. He looks and says off-hand, “It kinda looks like you’re sticking it out.” Devastation! Even though he didn’t mean anything mean by it, it made me feel really ridiculous for taking the pictures, because I had to try, apparently.

    The best part? Looking back just now, I looked more pregnant than I realized. I mean, I didn’t look like I was smuggling a beach ball or anything like that, but there was a roundness and fullness that I do not typically carry with me.

    I’m totally gonna post these in, like, public.

    Also: thanks for the porn. XD

    • Ashley — I think that’s why early pregnancy pics are especially important; without the contrast, we can miss the look of “oh yeah, my body has definitely changed from this pregnancy” and ascribe it to “looking fat” or “sticking it out”.

      And you’re welcome for the pr0n. ;)

  4. This post is 100% win. I was slim enough then slimmer even while pregnant (baby sucked the weight out of the rest of me I guess) and was complimented on my looks while pregnant. DAMN I wish I’d had the knowledge I do today and could have made a few pointed remarks… but I didn’t know any better.

    there is something amazingly uplifting about seeing a body that is like ours (even if not the same as ours), to see it celebrated and held up as beautiful and worthy of love and respect and, yes, photographs.

    I agree with this. Here’s wishing those who are pregnant will find it a journey to greater self-acceptance, self-care, and self-love!

    Thanks for this post.

    • I am also a “fatty” so when I became pregnant for the first time I didn’t take belly photos. I hit 16 weeks and took a bunch one afternoon and then deleted them because I was “fat” I took another the next day.. just one. And as it was that was going to be my one and only photo during that pregnancy. My baby boy was born premature two weeks later and didn’t make it.

      Oh how I kicked myself for not keeping all those belly photos.. proof that I HAD been pregnant! I still cherish that one belly pic and now looking at it I can totally see a baby belly and not just fat.
      Luckily, 5 years later I fell pregnant again and this time carried to term.. and have an entire album to prove it ;)

  5. i shared my big fat and pregnant belly pics, AA roadmap stretchmarks and all, on facebook :D it was scary but i’m glad i did it.

  6. What a refreshing post, Thank you for sharing your photo. I remember asking my husband on a daily basis when expecting my first baby “do i look pregnant yet?” “does it still look like just fat?” waiting for the day the world would realise the purpose in my belly, the day i could feel comfortable in a fitted top because i was ‘allowed’ to be fat.

  7. I was 113kg when I got pregnant with my daughter (who is now 4). I took pictures each and every month of my ever growing belly and when I was 37 weeks, I had professional pictures (mostly nude) taken with my husband. I refused to be ashamed.

  8. It’s really hard for me to tell whether I am fat enough to typically be assessed as “fat” by the general public, but I have an eating disordered past and certainly think of myself that way (and if you ask an American doctor, I am certainly well “overweight”). (Thankfully, my current non-American doctor is only concerned with actual health indicators like blood pressure, pulse rate, protein and iron levels, etc.)

    Right now I am 35 weeks pregnant, and have only taken one picture (clothed) at about 24 weeks, and I only took it because it was requested by someone. It was very posed and perfected (I made my husband take about 20 before there was one I was really ok with, and this included a lot of coaching to get a “good” angle). I was very surprised at how long it took for me to really show–I could certainly feel differences, but even I couldn’t see any difference for a really long time. And even once I could see differences, I felt SURE that everyone who saw me just thought I was fat(ter). During the first two trimesters, I had a really, really hard time keeping weight on and had to eat ridiculous amounts of food, and always felt super-embarrassed ordering extra food in restaurants.

    Some members of my family are also a bit unreasonable when it comes to weight, and I’m not sure how much I want to share with them. Pictures that don’t look “typical” seem dangerous. So I wasn’t about to take pictures for other people early in the pregnancy.

    Honestly, I don’t value myself much for my body, aside from feeling lucky to be (physically) healthy, and consequently wasn’t all that interested in the changes that were happening. My interest goes only as far as it needs to to keep me and my baby healthy, or to be annoyed about things that are irritating (like morning sickness or pain). It didn’t even occur to me that I might want to document, just for myself. However, I do want to say that it’s awesome that you’re documenting (and sharing). It would have made me feel a little less weird early on, if it had been available then. So, thank you for doing it! Also, thanks for all the linked resources. (And sorry for any only marginally on-topic rambling.)

    • Darla — Just so you know, I took at least a dozen pictures to get this one; partly that’s because it’s kinda hard taking photos of oneself, but also because of wanting to get it “just right”, and from just the right angle, and so on. And you know what? That’s ok. If it takes taking 100 photos before we find one we like, then it’s worth taking 100 photos. Professional photographers take dozens or hundreds to get a one or a few good shots; why do we, who don’t have the training or the camera or the skills AND who have issues looking at ourselves in the first place, think we can do any better, and get a good one on the first shot? Douchebags might make shitty remarks about “staged photos”, but, um, so the fuck what? We’re allowed to do the work to take pictures we can look at and feel good about, and help us feel good about ourselves. There’s no shame there whatsoever.

  9. Good stuff.

    FWIW, I think that photo would be better composed if it included a head, but that could just be me. (Hair-showing-off opportunity lost?)

    • rivqa — I tried for a fuller shot at first, but couldn’t get something that I liked, since I was having to hold the camera and take a pic in the mirror. Plus, I kinda like having a just-the-belly shot.

      But I did also take a standing-up full-body (including, yes, my awesome hair) one, and will keep doing that as well. But those are definitely not safe for work-or-family, so I’m kinda thinking that if I share them, it will be in one big post later on. And we can see all at once my changing belly and hair. ;)

  10. As I mentioned on twitter, I have *no* photos of me from my first pregnancy. I was so afraid of looking “more fat” (and I’d lost 15 pounds due to morning sickness, and I was in the best shape of my adult life when I got pregnant and still weighed 205 at the beginning)….and I didn’t actually start rotating in maternity clothes until 15 weeks, and didn’t get rid of the last of the non-maternity clothes until about 20 weeks….

    ….and then delivered at 27 weeks, putting an end to any hope of a more “baby” looking belly.

    It’s one of the few things I regret about that pregnancy.

    Don’t get me wrong – it was also one of the first times I really felt at home in my skin. I lost weight, overall, while pregnant – when the various complications were all said and done, I weighed 10 lbs less than when I started, and I maintained that weight (while subsisting on fast food and vending machines) until antidepressants kicked my butt 7 or 8 months later.

    I started this pregnancy 10 pounds heavier than the last. I have thus far lost less weight…because the morning sickness was/is so bad I required meds for it. I *feel* worse about my body this time around, but I also think about the lack of photos a lot….

    • With the exception of the second pregnancy (and the harrowing 27 week delivery, yikes!), I could have written this comment.

      Arwyn – congratulations again on your pregnancy, and I hope–as all of us do–that it remains healthy and scary and wonderous and empowering for you.

  11. Wonderful post, and I just wanted to say congratulations on the new pregnancy.

  12. Yay baby belly! Thank you for sharing!

    I was pretty slender in the belly when I was pregnant, and took loads of pictures every week. It was a novel time for me as pregnancy was really the first time in my life I found myself wanting to gain weight. (A few years prior, when I started bellydancing, was similarly novel in that it was the first time I felt like I was too thin compared to the women around me!)

  13. “there is something amazingly uplifting about seeing a body that is like ours (even if not the same as ours), to see it celebrated and held up as beautiful and worthy of love and respect” – yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

    Thank you for posting this, for being braver than I am, and for naming that bravery. Selfishly, it’s a lot easier to be inspired by actions that acknowledge the shame & discomfort that so many of us feel, and then treat them with the disdain they deserve.

  14. I’m pretty petite but curvy (5’2″, 125lb , got up to 34J…yes J bras exist…stabilized at 34G while nursing) and just wanted to say the self-consciousness about our pregnant bodies & bodies in general definitely extends to all mamas regardless of size/weight. For the most part I followed the stereotypical preggo belly progression but still didn’t take belly shots because I didn’t feel comfortable with my belly photographed and out there for public viewing. And fairly early on I developed tons of stretch marks-I looked like I’d been mauled by a tiger while eating a watermelon…whole. I’ve still never seen a picture of a pregnant belly with stretchmarks at all like mine, and I feel freakish for my breasts venturing into sizes most people don’t know exist. Anyway, I think this is a great topic-thanks for discussing it.

  15. I love this! I stopped posting any pictures of myself after my blog was trolled and people were discussing how ugly I was. It really, really hurt. Then when I was pregnant again almost 2 years later, I thought “screw it” and took pictures and shared them anyway. No naked belly pics because that’s not the way I roll, but still… And I am so glad I did, because it turns out these are my very last babies. And when I got so sick, my husband posting all kinds of “ugly” pictures of me– on a vent, half-naked, sick. I’m glad he did. Anyone ignorant enough to negative comments about a sick woman’s looks or a pregnant woman’s looks or any woman’s looks isn’t worth listening to.

    • Annette — “Anyone ignorant enough to negative comments about a sick woman’s looks or a pregnant woman’s looks or any woman’s looks isn’t worth listening to.” Word. (And also HIIIII! I’m so glad to see you stopped by. :D )

  16. You should get some pro shots done!!
    I was reminded of this shot of a woman breastfeeding. I thought it was a beautiful picture. All shape and sizes should be photographed and honored:
    http://www.blacktating.com/2010/09/watch-your-language-should-intimate-be.html
    Also – this post, while talking about breastfeeding in public, raises some other points relevant to this discussion. The issue of being private, or keeping certain things private, when those things might not be widely “acceptable”. (But, be warned, you might not like that Elita calls this picture subversive or this women fat. )

  17. Thanks for posting. Maybe if we get enough acceptance for different shapes, the body police will be out of a job.

    As a thin person, I was reminded regularly that I was “doing it right” for looking like a pre-pregnant person post-pregnancy. And it was always assumed that my thinness was a sign of my healthiness, never mind that pregnancy left me with back pain from which I still haven’t recovered 4 years later. Doesn’t matter: I had done my duty to society! I hadn’t allowed motherhood to remove my sex appeal! That makes me a Good Person!

  18. Congratulations again on the pregnancy!

    I’m so glad you’re doing this, thank you. I’m very fat and have a very large belly, and didn’t really look pregnant until kind of late in the game (at which point a friend who hadn’t seen me in a while literally gasped and said I was “huge” and “wow” and “enormous,” which was pretty funny and led to “That’s no moon!” jokes). I wish, in retrospect, that I had taken photos or taped a piece of butcher paper to the wall and traced the curve of my stomach or SOMETHING. I thought about it, but never did it. Maybe I will if I get pregnant again.

  19. Thank you, thank you! I just had a little moment sending some love to my own (not pregnant) belly because of this. I love your photo. (And thanks also for linking to my post.)

  20. This is a very refreshing post. I stumbled upon this through Kareena. If only there were more women out there to put perspective on things like this. I’ve always been thin by nature and I’m sure I’ve been described as disgustingly thin in my late teen/early 20′s years. All the same, I never really cared…or at least I didn’t think so. Whatever my body size was, that was fine with me, but I wasn’t complaining either. Then I got pregnant with my son and realized that things were quite a bit different. When I first started to be able to “see” my pregnancy, and people I knew could “see” it as well I realized that anyone who didn’t know me or knew me and didn’t know I was pregnany, would just think I was getting fat. I did not mind quite as much if a total stranger thought I was fat (okay, chubby…but it was fat in my mind), but the thought of gaining weight (due to the pregnancy) and having acquaintences “know” that I’d suddenly put on a few pounds was just horrible. I just “knew” that everyone would be talking behind my back about how I’d suddenly gained weight. I guess it didn’t really help to have very well meaning friends telling me that if my husband (now ex) flaked out on me and didn’t show for the main event, that they would be willing to be there for me in my hour of need.

    There are so many people who just blindly post pregnancy pics (mostly slim in nature) without giving it another thought in the world. Horray for someone who sees the deeper picture and is courageously willing to share it!

  21. what a great post!

    I continue to be a big fan of your writing and considerations. a great many of our readers would love this post. I’m tweeting it. I invite you to cross-post this (and any of your fine writing) at our site, for those who know us but don’t know you – yet. your voice would make a great addition to the conversations of identity.

    regardless of all that – have a great pregnancy & birth,

    -arvan

  22. Awesome! Love it. Break those barriers girl! There are a lot of people behind you in spirit.
    This is why I like it when my husband draws pictures of me nude and posts them. I maybe wouldn’t on my own, but don’t mind that he does, gives people something other then thin people to look at (and we all know their are many who like to look).
    Keep on showing the world what confidence looks like, there are SO many other women who need to see it.

  23. Actually, I’d been waffling on posting pictures of my belly until I read this. So I wanted to thank you, for inspiring me to finally do it :D

    http://telegantmess.tumblr.com/post/3034270177/fat-mama

  24. I’m BMI-obese and short, with the enormous boobs that Maman A Droit mentioned even when not pregnant. I’m terrified of what they’ll be like when I’m nursing – mostly from a headache perspective!

    I’m currently 13 weeks along in my first pregnancy after a lot of doctors trying to get me this way. The first thing my sister in law told me when we announced it (well, after the excited screaming) was that she regretted not taking more belly pics. So I took that to heart and have been taking (clothed) belly pics every week since 4 weeks! I’m doing them myself with the timer and a tripod – same place, same clothes, same pose each week, and I hope to animate them all together once I’m done!

    I’m down around 5lbs from my pre-preg weight despite not having had morning sickness, which I find weird. So far my pants are tighter but still button, but they’re really uncomfortable when I’m sitting down, so I have the elastic belly-belt thing going on. I don’t really see any difference in the pictures, but people are actually asking me if I’ve lost weight like its a good thing, which I find kind of creepy considering they know I’m pregnant!

    Sorry for the random tangent and overshare.

    Moral of the story is – I’m glad I’m making the effort to take belly shots regularly, and although the photos make me uncomfortable at the moment, I know in 10 years time I will be so very glad I took them!

  25. LOVE this post. really & thank you for writing it. Your picture is gorgeous & i am so glad that it is going well. I finally took belly photos of my 3rd child & i am so glad i have them.

  26. Go, Arwyn!

    To being scared, and doing it anyway.

  27. Good for you for acknowledging your fears, and facing them and posting a picture anyway! I only took 3 pictures while pregnant and I wish I had taken more.

  28. Very cool! Very, very. I have trouble knowing how to respond to comments on my posts that are “You don’t look fat at all,” either. I know they’re kindly meant, but that’s not the point, you know? And if I’m identifying as fat (and I am), then it kind of negates what I’m saying.

    • Lauren — There are a *lot* of problems with “You don’t look fat”, most of which Kate Harding goes into in the piece I linked (which I highly recommend). The most basic of which, I think, is that it’s based on the idea that fat = bad. And they don’t want you to think you’re bad, so they tell you you’re not fat. Which is just wrong on so many levels.

      It’s also an attack on our identity, which is something that’s stewing in my brain and I hope I get a chance to write about soon.

  29. Thanks for posting this. I’m neither fat nor pregnant, but it’s good to have a reminder that every body is beautiful in its own way. Oh and thanks for the links. I particularly liked Amy’s post, but can’t comment there so I wanted to compliment her here (if she reads this blog).

  30. Love this! Love you! I want to pat your tummy and prod it a little. Is that bad? (Soft tummies are so fun to squish… and isn’t it weird when your pregnancy progresses and you get a hardness swelling up underneath the soft adipose layers and it’s all just a new mash of textures and you want to touch it all the time? Or is that just me? :P)

    Anyhoo, you inspired me to post a pregnancy picture on tumblr:
    http://mymilkspilt.tumblr.com/post/3056622830/description-me-a-fat-white-woman-with-brown-hair

    I was nearing eight months at the time I think. I am now heavier than I was then, without a foetus inside me, and my belly is probably just as big but far squishier! I was really ashamed of how I looked because my belly sat quite high and wasn’t that ‘big’ so people just thought I was fat(ter) for much of my pregnancy. But I’m glad I have at least some photos. I feel they are beautiful now and regret the self-consciousness I suffered at the time.

    • Spilt Milk — Yay pregnancy photo! I love that pic.

      And no, it’s not bad at all — I adore doing belly massage (on all sizes and types of bellies — I’ve never met a belly on my table I didn’t love), in part because of the wonderful texture. Add pregnancy? Hoo boy it’s hard for me to keep my hands off. (I mean, I do. But there are reasons I studied midwifery for a while, and then specialized in maternity massage, y’know? And getting to touch pregnant bellies is not low on the list!)

  31. Thank you for this post. There are a multitude of reasons why I do not have children but fat shame is a part of it. I already have a belly that juts out proudly and have been asked when I am expecting a bunch of times. Aside from having type 1 diabetes and mental illness and wondering how that will affect my pregnancy and parenting, I wonder where on earth I’d be able to get maternity clothes from!!

    I blog about my outfits on my blog for EXACTLY the reason why you’re encouraging people to take photos of their bellies. It’s about representation and normalisation, baby! Thank you THANK YOU for representing your body in all its gorgeousness.

  32. What an amazing and beautiful post. Thank you for writing what I couldn’t when I was fat-pregnant in the early 1980′s. Thank you for photographing what I couldn’t when I was fat-pregnant almost 30 years ago.

    I was *so* fat-pregnant, in fact, with my third, no one… not the CNMs, not the OBs, not the ultrasound machine and not the pregnancy tests… no one could tell I was pregnant until 6 months along. And even at term, if I hadn’t had a totally pendulus belly, you wouldn’t have been able to tell at all there was a baby in there.

    So, I *know*, viscerally, the words you speak. So, take an extra pic for me, too, okay? My belly would have loved to have been seen.

    Oh, and you didn’t mention “Shape of a Mother” – there are *loads* of bellies there; mine included… all squishy, flabby, saggy, mooshy rolls of it.

    I’ll be reading!

  33. I visit occasionally & didn’t realize you were expecting again. Congratulations! Wishing you the best.

  34. Great post! I didn’t take any belly pics during pregnant, mostly because it’s hard to get a decent picture of your own belly (or at least, mine don’t turn out as well as yours did) and I don’t like asking others to take belly pictures for me. I have two, one from each pregnancy, that someone else took for me (one I requested, one someone offered to take). I would have taken more… I wasn’t ashamed of my belly… but I started skinny. What annoyed me was all the comments about, “You’re ___ months pregnant!?! You don’t look it!” Yes, we’re all different. We all have different shapes and sizes and gain weight differently, as you say. People expected me to be HUGE, somehow, and I wasn’t, and so I got comments just as you do. So either way, people have this “expectation” and none of us measures up to it. Just don’t comment on size.

    A friend of mine (who is pregnant) recently told us the story of someone who knew her from before she was pregnant walking up to her saying, “Wow, you got fat!” She hesitatingly mentioned that she was pregnant, and the lady said, “Yeah, but you’re fat all over!” I was so shocked. I’m sure I would have slapped the lady if it had been me. People can be rude. Try not to be one of those people and try not to take it personally if someone like that approaches you.

    Thanks for sharing on a “taboo” topic. As you say, maybe if you talk about it, more of the rest of us will… :)

  35. I love your belly. It definitely looks pregnant to me … but I see pregnant bellies, of all shapes and sizes, every day. I can just tell. And I think it’s beautiful.

  36. Thank you for writing this. It made me cry. I am pregnant for the second time now (19 weeks), and I weigh now what I weighed at the end of my last pregnancy. I have an eating disorder (binge eating), and I really hoped to have it at least some what under control this time around. Sadly, I don’t. While I am very happy about this pregnancy and that I am such much more educated and in tune with my body, it is still so hard to deal with the physical part. I feel so fat and unattractive. I hide my body from husband now!?!?!? All the comments you mentioned: when are you going to show? you can still wear your regular jeans? from family and friends just hurt. What is the worst is I feel it affects me connecting with this baby. I am connected, but I feel I would be more so if I didn’t have all these layers of fat keeping me from feeling my baby move (from the outside) and seeing the movement and all the subtle swelling and growing that is happening. I feel robbed from that part of the pregnancy, which sucks. I know it sounds like I missed the point of your post, but I get it and really think it’s beautiful. I just wanted to share my fat & pregnant experience.

  37. My pregnant days are long gone, but since a friend linked and I read, I want to recommend this wonderful book I’m reading called The Woman’s Belly Book: Finding Your Treasure Within by Lisa Sarasohn. (website is http://www.honoringyourbelly.com/book/) similar theme to this post and much more.

  38. SO sick of being ashamed of my fat-and-pregnant status. I love this post and shared it. I’m 28.5 weeks and still just look fat. Yet, several years ago, was asked numerous times if I was pregnant. Now I am, and nobody thinks I am. Ain’t that a bitch.

  39. Chiming in again. Listening to other people’s responses to our bodies, I remember running into an acquaintance (I barely knew her at the time but we later became friends) who said, “Oh, you’re REALLY starting to show!” to which I responded, “Yeah, actually, I lost the baby last week.” I think she felt TERRIBLE because she learned of my miscarriage and, “you’re-so-fat”ted me at the same time. But how could I hold it against her? She was expressing joy at the thought of the life inside me, and besides, she was not the author of my loss. When I discovered how much my other, CLOSE friends and family, avoided the subject of my miscarriage like the plague, I think I found that exchange with her to be a relief.

    It did remind me to be cautious and was the beginning of my journey in learning it is inappropriate to comment on people’s bodies unless you have a trust between you. ‘Specially pregnant ones. Dave Berry once said something like, “don’t comment on a woman’s pregnancy unless you see a baby emerging from her body.” That kind of gives me a laugh.

  40. First of all: Congrats on the baby to be!!!

    Second of all: This is a topic I have never, ever read about … and yet, all you write is so true. And kind of sad in a world where “baby bump” photos are all the rage and now considered the ultimate pregnancy keepsake. (In fact, I still harbour regret that I never took pregnancy photos with my first because by the time my second pregnancy came around, I didn’t want the stretch marks in the photo. I never got those “perfect” pregnancy belly photos.) It is hard to believe that not that long ago, a woman couldn’t even go out in public when she was visibly “showing” during her pregnancy — and now? Celebrities with their bumps, and then immediately after birth, no lumps or bumps at all. It really is a distorted and strange world we live in, but I love that I can read something as enlightening as your blog.

  41. I heard about this post from a tweet from @cecilyk. First of all, congratulations on your soon-to-arrive baby!

    I took belly pictures throughout my pregnancy and the one that troubled me the most was the one my MIL took at around 16 weeks-ish. My belly didn’t look pregnant, it just looked fat like it always did and it bummed me out.

    My belly never quite got the perfectly round baby bump shape and that troubled me. My bellybutton never turned inside out and I assume both of those are due to my weight.

    I remember showing my mum the pictures my husband took of my belly at about 33 weeks. (found here and here) and she said that “they never did those pictures in her day”. I realize my belly may not be the glamourized idea of modern pregnancy, but the shit-eating grin in those pictures makes up for the dent that clearly shows the difference between my food belly and my baby belly.

    I visited the Shape of a Mother website during my pregnancy. It was a good reminder that pregnancy comes in all sizes and shapes. Just like everything else.

    • melissa — I have to tell you this: I had your pictures open, and the Boychick came up and asked “Who is that?” I said I didn’t know, and he replied: “It’s a woman! And she’s pregnant!” So grin or no, I’d say those are definite baby-belly pictures. ;)

      (They, and you, are gorgeous, and thank you so much for sharing!)

  42. In our bathroom sits a frame of belly pics for similar reasons. They all look fine, and many are big. Also I recommend Googling “belly project”.

    Arwyn I admire that you are doing this.

  43. Congratulations Arwyn! and all hail the new chick!

    (Posting at 4 am due to being up all night after eating a dodgy oyster (Bleah) – something you’re presumably safe from for a while! )

  44. Yay for belly pictures! I did not allow pictures of my growing belly while pregnant, and now that the “baby” is five years old and I know he will be my only, I regret not taking pictures. (And congratulations again!) <3

  45. I SO LOVE YOU! *AND* your adorable beginnings of a baby belly. :)

  46. Mumma to two boy chicks and only a few clothed belly pic taken with as much hidden as possible. I lament I didn’t ever take a few nude ones just for me. Im mean I did grow two people and that is a pretty awesome super power no matter what your size.

    Can hardly wait to watch your body change and grow with your belly babe. Thank you for posting.

  47. I’m so glad you are doing these photos!

    “So often we spend years in fear of hearing ‘Are you pregnant?’ when no, we’re just fat.”

    I really identified with this. I’m just barely fat according to the BMI charts, but I have a pretty average body, except that I have a lot of excess belly. Long before I ever had a baby, even years ago when I weighed only 130 pounds, I have had a disproportionately large tummy. I get asked the pregnancy question all the time.
    When I tell people about a comment, I’m told, “I can’t believe they said that. You’re totally not fat.” Its like they assume that the reason I’m sad about a comment is that it would imply I am fat. Actually I’m sad when people think I’m pregnant because I am longing to conceive but can’t with my current life circumstances. There seems to be a presumption that I should be embarassed about looking pregnant when I’m not.

  48. Pingback: Baby bump « blue milk

  49. Pingback: Nästan hundra « Hälsa är mer än en siffra

  50. 1: i fucking love your blog. seriously. you inspire me as a person and blogger.

    2: i blogged recently about being fat. not in relation to pregnancy, though. in relation to metal health. i cried while writing it and so happy i decided to publish it, even though i was initially nervous. if you’d like to read, it’s here http://muttnos.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/down-the-rabbit-hole-in-pounds/

  51. Pingback: Fat and pregnant: week 13 | Raising My Boychick

  52. Congratulations on 10 weeks!

    Thank you for a graceful and elegant kick in my big ignorant ass. Big as in stupid and thoughtless.

    I am a little shamed but grateful for the chance to see how to fix it.

  53. I love a pregnant belly, and it doesn’t matter the size or shape of the rest of the woman’s body. I tell them they look beautiful or that they simply look pregnant. I agree we don’t want to negate the “I look fat” comments, because it just reinforces the idea that fat = bad. Or ugly. And it isn’t either. I’ve never told a pregnant woman she looks huge, but if she says she is huge, I don’t try to negate that, either. I am slender and I noticed my belly poking out in my second trimester, and people said I wasn’t even showing, and I was like, yeah I am! I was so proud of my little bump. Telling me that I wasn’t showing told me that it just looked like fat to them. And that bothered me, because I used to care about being thin. I don’t anymore, thank goodness. I think getting pregnant was the best thing that ever happened to my body image. I got to be big and round, and retain water and everything, and I loved my body so much more than I ever did when I was skinny.

  54. Hello ladies I am not sure how old this post is but for what it’s worth I am 10wks and 2 days and i am a FATTY also and I am very proud to be carrying a baby in my belly that was made out of love. I am very thankful for this site. Thanks to all of you.

  55. Pingback: Fat and pregnant: 30 weeks | Raising My Boychick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>