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  • Writer's pictureTamar Broadbent

I am both proud and embarrassed of my bump

I am proud because I know that the pregnant body is beautiful. Beyonce told me.

 

It is also round. And there is something embarrassing about being round. It is a comedic shape. Like a space hopper.

 

I am proud because the body is amazing, complex and talented. It is able to grow a person. Although I am only two thirds of the way through doing so, and although the things going on in there frighten me a little as well, I am proud of that.  

 

But I am embarrassed in the way I used to feel on mufti day. Wholly myself, but oddly exposed. Silently showing people there is a baby inside of me. Or that I like Top Shop.

 

I feel proud that a special thing is happening to me, but embarrassed because although it is quite private, my body announces it, regardless of whether I want it to or not. It’s like being on the tube with a neck tattoo, or holding someone’s hand in public, or reading a feminist book. I’m telling the world a part of my story just by being out and about.

 

I am aware that, ultimately, no one cares.

 

Still, it is nice to imagine that people might. That when they see me, they see a fellow human, experiencing something. As I feel when I glance at a couple kissing on a bridge, or a man walking with his elderly father – connected to them in that we are all here, now, living our stories in amongst the billions of other stories. Sharing space and time. Maybe something more. Whatever that might be.

 

Sometimes, I imagine I can read strangers’ thoughts when they interact with. The lady who smiled and held out a hand as I descended some sandy steps. The man who sped up and barged past me, so that I had to use my arm as a shield to prevent collision. I imagine the lady has a pregnant sister of whom I remind her. I imagine the man hates his mother, and hates me because he thinks that I think I am special. In therapy this is called ‘mind reading’ and is discouraged. In writing, it is called character development, and is essential.

 

I do feel kind of special. I am proud because I feel my bump is a special thing. But I am embarrassed because I’m scared it looks like I’m trying to draw attention to myself.

 

I am taking up more space than usual. And it is a lifelong challenge, to be comfortable with taking up space as a woman. I manage it most of the time. I am managing it now.

 

But I look at a photo of me in a swimsuit and think – I look beautiful. And also, I look quite round.

 

Round can be a silly shape. The shape of all the Mister Men.

 

But is also the shape of moons and earths and crystal orbs and bubbles and diamond rings and the galaxy. And new life.

It is an exquisite shape. And I am proud of my exquisite shape.

 

(And I am also embarrassed of saying out loud that I think I have an exquisite shape... And so the pride and embarrassment go round, and round, and round.)

 

The moment the embarrassment disappears, is when I think of my belly as my baby’s space. The first they will occupy in this world. Then, I feel only proud. And resolute. That this space is theirs. And it is special. And it is sacred. And it is to be seen and protected and supported.

 

And when I think about it like that, I don’t really give a fuck about anything else.  




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