THE BLOG
02/20/2013 03:02 pm ET Updated Apr 22, 2013

Thar She Blows! (I'm Officially a Whale)

I've been blessed. Throughout my pregnancy, I've received countless compliments -- "You're glowing!" "You are so tiny!" "You are carrying beautifully!" All of these compliments usually resulted in a guess that my husband and I were expecting a boy. The jury is still out on that, but we'll see.

Before our recent "babymoon," family and friends expressed a huge interest in seeing pictures of me pregnant. To be honest, passing around photos of my expanding belly was never my thing. Although I've been taking pictures for our own private consumption, curious to see how my body is transforming over time from an "artistic perspective," I never realized my growing belly was something in which the world had any interest. Apparently, I am wrong. The pregnant picture is indeed a thing.

When my husband and I arrived at our destination, I was thrilled to have a week to enjoy some much-needed sunshine. After all, the Northeast winter has been relatively unbearable, and warmth was what I craved. The first day was gorgeous, and we quickly traded in our tundra attire for sundresses for me and t-shirts and shorts for him.

The first photo opportunity came when we visited a historic fort in the area. My husband suggested I pose for the first official "pregnant photo" so we could make our eager friends and family happy. After he snapped the picture, I took a peek and couldn't help but ask, "Where's the fort?" Whalehood had struck.

It was as if I woke up in Alice in Wonderland: one day, I was a petite, pregnant woman, with a small but noticeable bump, and the next, a whale. How this happened, I don't know, but it did.

As the week continued, evidence that I turned into a whale became increasingly obvious:
  • My attempt to give myself a pedicure was met with my belly blocking me from reaching my toes. Whale.
  • Shaving my bikini line for the "oh-so-flattering" maternity swimsuit I purchased for the trip, was nearly impossible as I couldn't see below my belly button to carefully shave the tender area. Whale.
  • Getting out of bed was no longer a seamless exercise, but rather, required that I roll around until I could get enough momentum to propel myself off the side. DEFINITELY Whale.

Let me be clear: In no way, shape or form am I besmirching whales. I love whales. I think they are beautiful creatures. Let's be honest, however, they are gigantic; and if you were to plop them on land, no longer would they move around with grace or elegance. This is just a fact. No judgment here. So when I liken myself to a whale, it means my new physique is no longer demure or flexible, and I might be better off swimming in the ocean to navigate everyday life.

Now that we've returned from our trip, and I've officially entered the third trimester, the evidence of my whalehood continues to mount:

  • Bending over to pick up something off the floor, to tie my shoelaces or to merely get something out of the bottom cabinet has become virtually impossible, as my stomach increasingly prevents me from accomplishing these seemingly easy, tiny tasks. Whale.
  • When I sit unsupported in the nude, my new-found buxom breasts sit comfortably on my round belly. Whale.
  • And well, truth be told, I just FEEL big. Whale. Whale. Whale.

All of this is highly relative. In observing many pregnant women over the course of my life, I know I'm not really that "whaley," and I am still carrying relatively small. BUT, the feeling is undeniable.

Luckily, with a little testing, I've come to find that the "whaley" feeling can be minimized. Thank goodness! So, I want to share my tested tips to help those of you who may have entered the whale stage of pregnancy. If any of the above symptoms sounds familiar, here are my suggestions to feel more comfortable and a little more "human":

  1. Drink a lot of water. It will help you flush out salt and other toxins that may cause you to retain fluids, which inevitably contribute to the bloaty feeling you don't want.
  2. Eat frequent, small meals. I'm talking about one-quarter of the normal meal you would eat. A big meal definitely makes you feel bigger than you are and makes you feel all-around uncomfortable.
  3. Focus on fibrous foods and smoothies. The more fiber you eat, the more easy it will be to stay regular, and regularity is KEY to diminishing the whaley feeling. Smoothies are good too because they won't sit in your stomach as long, making room in an otherwise crowded space.
  4. Dress comfortably, but choose things that flatter. As hard as it may be to give into the maternity styles, they are much less restrictive than normal clothes. Choose slimming designs and colors (black and other darker colors) to keep you feeling like your beautiful human self.
  5. Ask for help when your belly makes it physically impossible (or really uncomfortable) to do everyday tasks. I have no doubt your partner, a friend, a family member or a colleague will be more than happy to oblige.

If you are finding yourself in whale mode, maybe the best thing you can do is remind yourself that although you may feel like a whale today, in a few short months, you will feel human again!