I’m at the point now where I’m getting comments left and right. And when someone doesn’t comment, I know they’re thinking about it anyway. Most of the time, people say sweet things. I get called “cute” a lot, which is a funny thing to call a grown woman. My belly is “adorable”—again, kind of funny to hear since no one would consider calling an adult, non-pregnant tummy “adorable.” Then there are the rogue foot-in-mouth comments that don’t mean harm but come off a tad insulting: “Wow, when are you due?!” (“June … I know, it’s far away.”)
Today my neighbor saw me and said, “Getting big, huh?” In her defense, her first language is Japanese. She has one child, and she’s from a culture where most people don’t have large families. Seeing someone pregnant with her fourth (and thus quite round at 6 months in) might be an unusual sight for her.
I have been learning more about how a fourth pregnancy can differ from a first. As far as I’ve seen, it’s true that the uterus really does expand faster after you’ve utilized it a few times. That means you look and feel full on pregnant for more of your 40 weeks than maybe you did with your first child. It means more weight, less mobility, more issues with swelling/circulation, and less sleep due to discomfort. I’ve also learned (just yesterday, while researching an article), that getting back in shape takes markedly longer with each successive baby. Because the skin spends more time stretched out over a full uterus, it takes longer to regain elasticity at the cellular level.
All of this can feel discouraging. I have to remind myself that I didn’t choose to have a fourth baby to flatter my figure. I am excited to have a fourth because he will round out our family, influencing our lives in ways we can’t yet imagine. Because there’s nothing like the euphoria that comes from holding your own baby in your arms for the first time. Because welcoming a new child is allowing a little slice of heaven into your home. This boy will be a part of our family forever and ever. So what’s a few more months of saggy skin?