I’ve been self-conscious of my stomach for most of my life. As a kid, I was fairly skinny, but I always had a little bit of my “baby fat” left in my stomach. When my teen years came, puberty chose to keep my abdomen as the first place to store extra fat. I would wear short shorts long before I’d wear a shirt that exposed my belly. That was an area of my body to be kept hidden in the dark under a shirt, sucked in, and held in place with support garments.
So pregnancy functions as a “time off for good behavior” period for my belly. Instead of embarrassing me, my expanding midsection is proof of a new life being nurtured under that layer of skin, fat and muscle. What was once flabby and jiggly is now firm with a defined shape. This is the one time in my life when I’m not ashamed of this part of my body. Good thing, too, since my long torso practically guarantees that my belly is poking out under every shirt I own.
And this is also the only time in my life when I could willingly post pictures of my exposed stomach for all the world to see. (Although I am a little embarrassed at my unfinished wallpaper job in the bathroom.) Here is the baby belly, in full glory as it holds a little girl already estimated at seven pounds: