It’s been five months since Leo was born, and I recently found myself looking back on the photos I took of my growing bump during pregnancy. It’s almost hard to remember ever having that big of a bump! It’s crazy how drastically my feelings about pregnancy have changed – during those 9 months, and especially the last trimester, it felt like I had been pregnant foreverrrr. And now looking back, it feels like it flew by. While 9 months feels like an eternity when you’re pregnant, in reality, it truly isn’t very long at all. A year ago now I had just recently found out that I was pregnant, didn’t even have a bump yet, and now I have a five-month-old baby boy.
I originally took these bump progression photos for my own memories and to potentially compare to a second pregnancy when the time comes. But as I was going through these photos, I thought, why not share them? The pregnant body is somewhat of a taboo in our society – people stare at pregnant women everywhere they go (I constantly was stared at – to the point where it felt awkward), some women feel the need to hide their growing bumps with oversized clothes, others get criticized for wearing clothes that ‘accentuate’ their bump, and it’s often deemed indecent to show your bare pregnant belly in a bikini. But in so many ways the pregnant body should be celebrated. It’s beyond a miracle that a little baby can fully form inside the female body while she essentially just continues to live her normal life.
In the beginning of my pregnancy, I had so many questions and was constantly wondering how much my body would change. Every woman – and every pregnancy, for that matter – is different. But the more women share their own pregnancy journies, the more comfortable other women will feel about their own pregnancies and feel free to talk about it and ask questions! My hope in sharing these photos is that it helps other women feel more comfortable with their changing bodies (it can be hard to accept at first!) and know that every woman who has a child goes through a similar experience with their body changing right before their eyes. Let’s not only normalize the pregnant body, but celebrate it! And as women, we should share our stories, sacrifices, joys and sorrows that come with the journey of pregnancy.
In addition to pregnancy photos, I also took a few postpartum photos in the days, weeks and months after having Leo. I was not nearly as dedicated to taking the postpartum photos, so they are a bit more sporadic, but it’ll give you an idea of the immediate changes to my body following Leo’s birth.
Pregnancy Progression Photos
I started documenting my pregnancy as soon as there were real noticeable changes. At 15 weeks (the first photos pictured), my stomach had expanded to the point where I just looked bloated, and not much more. But my bump quickly started growing in the weeks following!
I gave birth to Leo at 39 weeks and 2 days (5 days prior to my due date). I unfortunately did not take true ‘progress’ photos in those final weeks, probably because I was so preoccupied with getting everything ready for our baby’s arrival! Fun fact: my belly button never ‘popped’ like I expected – it just flattened out and essentially became non-existent haha.
Postpartum Progress Photos
The first few postpartum photos were taken in the hospital since we were in the NICU with Leo for 2 weeks after he was born. I was amazed at how quickly my bump ‘deflated’ after giving birth. Although your body loses so much during delivery and in the days following (the baby, extra water and fluids, etc.), your belly is pretty much mush and your insides feel so bizarre. If you think about it, all of your organs are out of place because they had to shift around to make space for the baby. So for the first several weeks – maybe months – after having Leo, it felt like my organs were just floating around in there and at times it was pretty uncomfortable. Such a strange feeling, but probably something all women who have had a baby can relate to!
In the past five months since having Leo, I have not done much in terms of working out. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I’ve only been on one run and attended one workout class. My current postpartum body is essentially the result of natural healing and normalizing post-birth. While I have not focused much on working out yet, I have been carrying Leo around on a daily basis, which has definitely strengthened my arms, back and legs. But now that I’m five months postpartum, it’s time for me to get my butt in gear and start working out to get back to how I was prior to pregnancy. While I look somewhat similar to how I did pre-pregnancy and actually weigh less than I did before, I lost essentially all of my muscle (hence the weight loss). Several of the previously muscular parts of my body – abs, butt, thighs – are no longer what they used to be and are much more jiggly than they were before. My goal is to get back in the game and start working out regularly so I can get to a place where I feel strong and similar to how I did pre-pregnancy (preferably even stronger!). My current plan is to join one or two workout classes so that I have a time and place to be several days a week to hold myself accountable. My first class is next Monday. We’ll see in about a month if I stick with it and if any progress has been made!