but wait - where’d my body go? i’ve heard that pregnancy is a means to an end, and that it’s okay, i’ll soon have my body back. i know this is meant to soothe me as i’m an active person living in an active body. and i truly appreciate this sentiment. thank you. but i believe the assumption is, perhaps, that i somehow feel limited with this pregnant belly and all the sensations that go along with it.
i’m here to tell you that the opposite is true. sure i have my fears about stretch marks and the extra weight. that’s partly hormones, partly ego. i definitely need to rest more, and i don’t mind going for slow, short walks these days. it’s difficult to put my socks on, rolling over in bed is a challenge, and every time i get up out of a chair, i need to fully engage my breath and use my arms to support my growing belly. i suppose all those shifts may seem limiting. but “limiting” simply isn’t the correct word. it’s a different experience, for sure! and actually, i think all of it is pretty hilarious. i mean, i can’t put my socks on easily anymore. that’s freaking funny.
honestly, my body has never been his alive, and i have never been this deeply in awe of what my body is doing. and i’ve done some stuff in my time. i trekked the 40 mile Maryland stretch of the Appalachian Trail in a single day; i climbed Mt. Whitney in about 17 hours; i danced continuously for 3 weeks in Durham, NC during American Dance Festival; i travelled to India and danced 10 performances in 13 days; i decided to begin running 5K races and either won my age group or overall female. i say this not to toot my horn (toot! toot!) but just to give everyone you a sense of the physicality i’ve engaged in over my 40 years on this planet.
admittedly, my feeling toward “getting my body back” ebbs and flows. i try not to go down the rabbit hole of comparison of pregnant folx i see in social media in their full on yoga practice, or stretch practice, or even remembering my dancer friends (most of my friends had babies in their late twenties), and how they performed 6 months preggers! when i feel that i should be doing more, i have to say to myself, aloud sometimes, “that’s not my story.” i repeat that until i feel grounded in the present. and then i get on with my day.
in some ways, my experience of this new growing body is kinda like the pandemic has been for me: in many ways, i don’t WANT to go back to the “way it was”. hence, um, the fact that i’m now en France in a tiny town of 500 people in la campagne navigating this new life with Ludo all while enceinte, preggerinos. i know my body won’t be exactly the same as before. actually, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be better.
all that said, do i look forward to the day where i can lay on my belly or do a full pull up again? where i can join you for abdominals in class? HELL YES! where i can go for a simple run or pick up heavy boxes again? where i can look down and see my vagina or walk up a flight of stairs without being winded? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! and i trust that my body will recover and be able to do again. there is just so much newness in this fascinating body growing and developing before my eyes and under my fingers and all this swirling life under my skin. it’s as if i’m truly a witness for the first time in my life to the incredible human body. and it’s MINE. that’s possibly the most exciting and bizarre reality to grasp.
the overall lesson here? there’s no rush to transition through this bodily experience, whatever yours is. this body is an anchoring to the present, it’s a reminder that we were never really in control of the perfect mechanism that is the human form, anyway, so why not sit back and encourage it to receive whatever it is it may need?
i'm stephanie. my last names mean "hedgehog" in Czech and "pretty calf" in French. i have an MA from Oxford in English lit, and a MFA from Riverside in experimental choreography. i like to write. i have lots of thoughts on the body. and i want to help you understand your own better. oh, i'm also plant-based and love to bake with vegan ingredients.