What pregnancy taught me

I watched entirely too much Dexter to feel fully comfortable with what was happening with my body. But then again, 36 hours of med-free labor will make you agree to just about anything. By this point, pregnancy had stretched my body to its limits and I was down to the final hours; I just wanted to meet my baby. It was at this point I agreed to a C-section.

Over the past several months, it grew more and more difficult to feel comfortable in my body. My once-athletic legs turned into swollen stubs atop painful cankles. My belly was so round and big I could barely breathe. My ribs and abs ached as the baby grew bigger. Sharp pains in my feet were a constant reminder of every pound I gained.

Like most women, I’ve never been comfortable with my body. Roller derby helped me embrace my thick thighs and butt more freely, but even when I was in the best shape of my life, I found excuses to hate my body. My bestie, photographer Kelsey Kimberlin, tried for years to get me to shoot boudoir with her, and even when I was working with a trainer and ripped for roller derby, I always found reasons to make excuses. I’d have too many bruises, I’d have a broken finger or I was too busy to get my hair cut. It was always something.

So when she suggested on a whim that we do a boudoir session during my pregnancy, I immediately said yes. Ladies, I regret not doing it before.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared at these photos. Like I said, I was swollen and achy. I spent most of my pregnancy throwing up, wishing I had been able to jog, fearing I would top out at 200 pounds. But when I see these photos, I finally see how beautiful my own body is. We women are so hard on ourselves, yet we have the capacity to grow tiny humans. We hate our stretch marks and complain about swelling and aches and pains, yet inside of us, we’re knitting the intricate details of a baby’s body. For the first time in my life, I was finally able to look at my body with pride and see how beautiful it was because of what it was building.

Cut to August 21. My baby decided he wanted to be here on the day of the eclipse. My water broke early in the morning on Monday, but he wouldn’t get here until 2:38 p.m. the next day. Despite planning a natural, med-free birth, I hadn’t dilated after 36 hours of labor and ended up having to have a C-section. Having a C-section had been another fear of mine, solely for selfish reasons. I was worried about recovery, about the scar, about things that are purely cosmetic and not the fact that it’s actually going to be a reminder about the incredible story of how I finally got to meet my baby.

So, long story short, I don’t regret any of it — particularly the C-section. But I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought a lot about it and the type of major surgery it is. About how hard of a recovery it’s been. About how, not long ago, my guts were laying on a sterile table, which seems so barbaric in so many ways. And I’ve thought a lot about the fact that it took parting ways with all cares of my body image — and particularly my guts — to finally bring Jack to me.

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