In what seemed like a perfect five minutes from the time I was intently holding my screams over agonising leg cramps, I had this sudden huge smile planted across my face as I observed wave-like movements across my stomach. I realised then just how frequent these short but incredible moments of glee make their way so easily in between my day-to-day affairs of late. Even when these day-to-day affairs are fully equipped with the all too familiar aches and discomforts that come in all sorts of variations each trimester.
I’m fiercely smitten with the miracle that comes in the shape of an enlarged belly.
While my pregnant friends were discussing post-pregnancy workouts and diet plans that’ll help get them back into shape, I realised I wasn’t as eager to fast-forward to a post-pregnancy body. It wasn’t something I thought of as much because I’m too busy being in love with my growing belly and all the little joys that came with it.
There’s something fascinating about having a growing belly. For nine months, I’m actually allowed to gain some pounds for reasons that are so natural, healthy and expected. The very idea of my uterus and belly being able to stretch and house another human being is simply magical. There’s never been a day where I look with disgust at my growing pregnant body in the mirror. Watching myself morph into this new pot-bellied person while feeling these adorable kicks inside me makes me feel great and strong. It’s refreshing to know that I’m helping to nourish a little being who’s literally a part of me. The new super-sized me is also a representation of something amazing I am about to embark on: motherhood.
A growing pregnant belly has also meant a growing respect for my body. It’s made me want to take extra care of it. Exercise, healthier food, some pampering with body lotion, daily positive self-talk and little whispers to the baby are among some of the things I treat myself to everyday. I love how exercising now only means enjoying it with a positive outlook of getting healthy and not stressing out to achieve abs. I enjoy slathering body lotion over my baby bump, not just to reduce the itch or discomforts, but also to use these moments to witness how much my baby has grown each week. Witnessing the growth is a celebratory moment for my soft, girly heart.
Whether or not I’ve acquired the “pregnancy glow”, these nine special months can be a time for me to shine. There’s no better excuse to shop for new outfits to accommodate my growing belly. Being on a tight budget also doesn’t stop me from joining in the fun of dressing up. This is the perfect time to be creative with my outfits and rock the maternity style. I don’t remember myself being this eager in playing dress-ups before going to work or events back then. The growing figure has inspired me to be creative, while looking pleasant and feeling comfortable. If all else fails, a flowy top with cute prints, stretchable pants from the budget store and perhaps a skinny belt over the bump should do the trick.
Feeling the baby’s kicks, thumps, punches or some unknown form of martial art in there must probably be the highlight of most pregnancies. As the pregnancy progresses, those tiny but very determined movements can even be seen over my T-shirt. I can only recall myself smiling or giggling as I watch these movements appear through my stomach. The feeling is beautiful and it easily surpasses any insecurities that come from a changing pregnancy figure. For me at least, I know I can never get enough of those kicks.
Pregnancy indeed is a period of great change for us women. So effortlessly within weeks, it expands our body, hearts and souls. There is simply so much joy to be felt, moments to be celebrated, tiny kicks to be savoured and a whole new definition of beauty to be learned. In and between those agonising leg cramps, so beautifully we grow.
Azalia Suhaimi is a poet and a photographer who is currently enjoying the much-treasured pregnancy to her first child. She hopes to tell beautiful poetic stories to her children someday.