Family life

In praise of the not-cute pregnant woman

Not all pregnant women are cute—nor do they need to be. It's time to embrace it.

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Photo: iStockphoto

My grandpa always said, “There’s nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman.” And to a certain extent, I think that’s probably (partly) true (notwithstanding the view from the top of the Cliffs of Moher and Ryan Gosling’s face for me). It’s pretty miraculous when you think about it—inside that belly you see on the streetcar or in line at the grocery store is a person, with a life just waiting to be lived. That is beautiful.

But I’m about to say something that will either enrage or delight you: Not all pregnant women are cute, nor do they need to be. You’re talking to a non-cutie right here. I look haggard this time. (Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I looked haggard last time, too.) I’m not fishing for compliments, either—I am fully accepting the fact that I do not glow. Pregnancy agrees with me in the sense that I’m not in crazy amounts of discomfort, I can still bend over to scrape play dough off the carpet, and I have enough energy to chase my two-year-old around the splash pad, but pregnancy does not agree with me aesthetically. Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s how I can tell:

1. No one ever says, “Oh, your bump is adorable. You’re all belly!” Because I’m not. My belly is all.
2. No one ever says, “You look so great/pretty/happy.” They say, “Oh, you look tired. Are you almost at the end?” No. Not almost at the end. I still have eight weeks to go. I imagine I will look tired until then and possibly for a decade after. P.S. The Thumper rule still applies when you’re talking to a pregnant lady.
3. No one ever says, “Oh, I love your [insert clothing item or accessory here]” because I’ve been wearing the same rotation of clothes for months.
4. I bought all of four new things for this pregnancy—a couple of tops, a new pair of pants and a bathing suit. I just didn’t see the point of buying a wardrobe that would really only last six months, when I could buy dining rooms chairs that would last years instead. I’ve been attempting to supplement my wardrobe with scarves and… yeah, just scarves. They’re the only things that fit.
5. I have “chub rub” that is both painful (it’s really awesome in the sticky Toronto weather, let me tell you) and wearing on my jeans. I love that the two pairs of maternity jeans I own are almost threadbare at the inner thighs but still dark denim everywhere else.
6. Every morning I try to convince myself to venture away from my typical topknot and minimal makeup, but then I hear my toddler throwing a hissy fit over her toast downstairs and internally say “f*ck it.” In seven and a half months, I’ve managed real eye makeup twice and people thought I was either going to a job interview or having headshots taken.
7. I can’t really shave my legs on my own at this point, so dresses and skirts are out. There are other pregnant women in my office in sweet maternity dresses, and I desperately want to ask “Who is shaving your legs for that outfit?!” (They also seem to have retained smooth skin, while I’m trying to cover my ridiculous back-ne with the aforementioned scarves.)

If this list isn’t enough to convince you on my non-cute status, here’s one more:

I put a very old, hand-me-down maxi dress on over my swimsuit yesterday and my daughter said, “Oh, you’re so fancy! Like a princess!” Yikes. What do I look like the rest of the time?!

The funny thing is, I’m not even annoyed at my lack of cuteness. It is what it is. And if the end result is a healthy baby and a healthy mama, then I’m down. But if you also fall into the “not-cute” category, here’s my message to you: No one cares, so don’t compare yourself to your adorably stylish co-worker or that chicly attired bump at your hairdresser. Embrace your non-cuteness. You’re making a human. And trust me, it all evens out in the end: No one looks cute after childbirth. And by then, everyone’s looking at the baby anyway.

Today’s Parent managing editor Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization. A lot. Now, imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie and husband Blaine. Read all of Katie’s Type A Baby posts and follow her on Twitter@katie_dupuis.