Pregnancy has hit me right in the feels lately. This is nothing new. I always wind up emotionally perturbed during pregnancy. This is my first pregnancy, though, since getting a handle on my crazy (anxiety), and I’ve chosen to go 9 months med-less for the sake of the baby, which might be great for the baby but isn’t so great for me. Now that I know (thanks to medication) what life can be like without constantly worrying that an airplane is going to accidentally drop its toilet holding tank at precisely the moment it flies over my house, killing my entire family in a shit-filled Armageddon, living every day with near certainty (thanks to no medication) that if I ever go to Cirque du Soleil for the sixth time I’m going to wind up getting decapitated by a rogue trapeze gone awry kind of takes up a lot of my energy and capacity for happiness.
Right now my obsession isn’t on flying, meteor-like shit cans or fancy French circus folk, though. Right now it’s on feeling pretty. Specifically, on the fact that I don’t.
I know I’m not supposed to want to feel pretty because feminism, but I do want to feel pretty. I like feeling pretty. Feeling pretty feels good to me, and I like to feel good, and regardless of whether this need to feel pretty is a shallow social construct or not, I enjoy feeling pretty, which means I very much don’t enjoy not feeling pretty.
I’m on the cusp of my sixth month — a time when the finish line seems both possible and still so very far away — and I’m already feeling huge. People I haven’t seen in a while have asked when I’m due, their eyes gleaming with the expectation that it’s within the next month or so until I remind them not until November, at which point I can almost see them physically remove their feet from their own mouths, desperate to erase any trace from their faces that they know that I know that they thought it was much sooner given my size.
And it’s not just the astronomical heft of my baby belly that’s got me down. It’s pretty much every aspect of my physical existence at this point. Sure, my boobs are bigger, but they don’t so much resemble the perky size Ds on your neighborhood porn star as much as they do the saggy, veiny size whatthefuckhowgrossisthat udders on your neighborhood cow. And if I thought I had cellulite before, the cottage cheesy exterior of nearly every surface of my sausage-casing skin has another thing to say about it.
It doesn’t help that for the first time ever during any of my pregnancies my libido has kicked into overdrive, either. A constant desire for sex also comes with it a constant desire to feel desirable, which can really put a damper on things when you don’t feel desirable in the least.
I thought that maybe if I put something else besides my husband’s old boxer shorts and a stained maternity tank on for bed I might feel at least questionably attractive, but I don’t own a single sexy night thing that will either fit over my thunder thighs or contain my large mammal teats with any semblance of respectability, and a quick internet search for reasonably sexy maternity sleepwear yields products suitable only for cantankerous old school marms or crack-smoking monkey whores (I have no idea what that is, but it’s bad) and nothing in between, which means unless I want to sleep in a full-length flannel habit or crotchless, barbed wire teddy with matching whip and paddle for the next 3 months, I’m stuck with my husband’s boxers and that tank, and nothing says “Hey, I can look sort of sexy if you turn the lights down real low and squint until you can’t see much except a bulbous blur” quite like rejected men’s underwear and spaghetti stains.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”Page 2″ ]
The internet’s a bad place to be, too, if you’re feeling down about yourself, and just as I was about to give up on my quest to find somewhat attractive maternity night stuffs I came across a search result linking to a forum where other downtrodden pregnant ladies had gathered to bemoan their perceived ugliness. Naturally, I wandered in and began reading, and holy shit I did not like what I saw. Not only were these women feeling less than pretty, but their husbands and partners had actually told them as much, refusing to not only have sex with them but to also sleep in the same beds as them, and for each woman whose husband had not actually told her she was repulsive there was a male commenter right there to pick up the slack and talk about how gross and disgusting pregnant women are and how he wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole, let alone his very own cock.
One woman tried to prove that pregnant women can be attractive by posting a link to some boudoir pregnancy photos, which I obviously had to check out, and I have to agree, she was right: she looked stunningly beautiful. This got me thinking about how somebody I know recently purchased a boudoir photography package as a surprise gift for her husband, and I began fantasizing about maybe doing something like this after the baby was born and I had reclaimed my old self with diet and exercise. The thought made me hopeful that I might again one day feel pretty, but then I remembered that I am much older than I was when I had my first two children and my metabolism has slowed and getting back into shape was much more difficult after my second child than it had been after my first, and it wasn’t long before I was certain I was destined to feel unpretty for eternity.
And it doesn’t help that not only am I and women in general in competition with our own ideas of what pretty looks and feels like to us (and we can be our harshest critics), but there’s also that damn internet to contend with again. I started thinking about the futility of trying to look and feel pretty when all my husband has to do is turn on his smart device only to find thousands of perfectly perky naked women littering every corner and recess of the internet, just waiting to be oogled and lusted after. I mean, part of what makes me feel pretty is feeling desirable, and how was I supposed to feel desirable if the one person who’s legally obligated to desire me is off in this fictional, incoherent daydream of mine looking at skanky sorority sluts on the interwebs, huh? YOU ANSWER ME THAT.
I realized I had let my mind meander into Batshit Crazy Land at this point and began to reel myself back into Regular Crazy Land, but one thing remained the same: I simply did not — do not — feel pretty. And when it comes down to it, it really has nothing to do with what society thinks pretty should be or what others think of me outwardly or what anyone’s husband (certainly not the assholes those poor forum women are married to) does on the internet. Instead, it has everything to do with how I think and feel about myself inwardly.
And as I have no magic cure for this ailment or answers to my problem, I’m simply compelled to ask: Do you ever feel unpretty, too, mamas?[/nextpage]