I was warned my second pregnancy would be different than my first. Still, I never factored in that carrying lower could be one of the things that threw me for a metaphorical loop. While it’s not a bad thing, per se, it is different enough that I’m noticing and processing this change. In my experience, there’s a number of thoughts every pregnant woman has when she’s carrying low that are a direct result of her somewhat-surprising bump placement.
I mean, most women I know are at least somewhat familiar with what it feels like to have someone’s eyes drift downward while you’re talking to them. That’s, unfortunately, a reality of having breasts and the male gaze and living in a patriarchal society where what a woman looks like is more important than what a woman says. However, not everyone understands what it’s like to have an even more conspicuous bump even lower on your body. I’ve had a number of people shirk the old polite rule of never asking a woman about her pregnancy in the off-chance he's not pregnant, because there’s obviously no other explanation for what’s happening to me.
Yes, while a pregnant woman will probably have to deal with someone staring at her midsection while she's talking no matter how she’s carrying, for me it’s been a bit of a trip to experience the subtle and not-so-subtle differences of carrying low vs. carrying high. Here’s just a small sampling of what goes through my head on a typical day:
"OMG, What Was That?"
Every new feeling that isn’t an obvious baby kick or blip of digestion puts me on high alert. While I imagine that most women nearing the end of their third trimester feel this way, I think it’s slightly heightened because I know that baby doesn’t have that much further to travel.
"I’m Totally In Labor!"
Right? I mean, I think this baby dropped like 12 weeks ago and I just felt some suspect cramps so clearly that's what's happening. Get the keys and grab the hospital bag.
"Oh, JK. I Guess That’s Not Labor."
Like, I realize that this baby doesn’t actually have a say in whether or not she’s dropped and ready to go, but seriously, I wish she’d stop getting my hopes up with all of these positioning teases.
"Maybe Labor Will Be Easy?"
Maybe gravity will work in my favor? Maybe this kid is so low it'll take one push and I'll be done? Maybe I won't feel any pain because this birth will be some miraculous breakthrough in science?
One can dream.
"Are My Clothes Supposed To Fit Like This?"
I guess if you mean constantly pulling up the panel of my maternity pants, and pulling down the hems of my shirt, then OK, sure. The clothes "fit."
"Oh, I see. 'Fit' Is A Relative Term."
I seriously don’t remember experience this constant struggle to maintain full-belly coverage during my first pregnancy. I suppose there’s other factors that could be to blame (my bump is larger and my overall shape is slightly different), but still, I can’t help but feel annoyed that my clothes aren’t really doing the job I hired them to do.
"Why Don’t Clothing Companies Make Longer Shirts?"
I realize the window of need for this type of shirt amounts to maybe six or eight weeks of a woman’s life (or more, depending on how many pregnancies she has, or how much she just liked wearing long shirts). But seriously, it seems to me like this is a severe void that could easily be filled by an enterprising clothing brand. I don’t even need credit for the idea, I’m just trying to help my fellow women.
"This High-Waisted Pants Trend Is Def Not Going To Happen For Me Anytime Soon"
Last one about clothes, I promise. I’m struggling with all the cute high-waisted styles I’m seeing these days, since there's no way in hell I can wear them. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel so strongly if they weren’t totally off-limits to me, but you know what they always say: the grass is always greener on the other side. Or, in this case, the pants are always more desirable when you don’t feel like there’s a watermelon duct-taped to your torso.
"How Long Has That Table Been There?"
Actually, you don’t need to answer that. No matter how long the table has been there, I will still bump into it with my belly.
"Is There A Way To Feel Good About Waddling?"
Like, are there any communities that revere women who waddle? No? How about awards I can have someone nominate me for? It’d be really nice to find some external validation right about now.