20 Weeks, Photo Collection: The Non-Photo Gallery

My belly at 20 weeks:

Although there were plenty of opportunities this week for me to take photographs of something interesting (perhaps of our trip up to Brigham City Peach Days and the scary Utah hair walking around on the back of the heads of the thousands of Utah women attending the celebratory parade), but I was much too busy using both of my hands to hold up my pants and pull down my shirts over my belly. While I’m not opposed to showing my belly in public — I’ve actually done more than my fair share of that in the past two weeks — I’ve learned that the practice of belly exposure only intices strange people to walk up and put their hands on my body. Unfortunately, strange people make up about 90% of the population in Utah, all of whom stare at my bare belly like it is some sort of sacred Budha that will release the secrets of the world if they just walk up and rub it. The only secret lying behind the cherubic curve of my belly is the sound of a digestive tract processing 4,000 Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish at once. It’s a scientific marvel, for sure.

Most of the pregnant women I’ve talked to have said that the second trimester is the best trimester because you no longer suffer morning sickness and you’re not yet big enough to be uncomfortable. What each and every one of them failed to warn me about, however, is that the second trimester is basically puberty ALL OVER AGAIN, as if the first time wasn’t painful enough. My body feels totally awkward, as if I’ve just grown 4 inches in 18 months again, accept this time the 4 inches are at my waistline, and pants that fit 15 minutes ago are right this minute cutting off oxygen to the baby. I don’t “get out of” bed anymore, really. Getting out of bed is now more of an assisted roll and shove off the mattress where my husband pushes my backside with his arms and legs using a strength he normally reserves for knocking down brick walls. And the acne . . . dear God, the agony. I go through so many cotton balls doused in Sea Breeze that the dog is on a permanent skin cleanser high from all the fumes. And these aren’t your average, friendly variety of pimple, either. These are pregnant pimples, deposits of horomonal oil embedded so deep in the skin that I don’t know whether I have a tick rooting through my forehead or an alien pod trying to free itself out the middle of my back.

I feel really sorry for my husband, because I know he fully expects my head to start spinning all the way around and for his dead ancestors to start speaking through my mouth. All he can do is watch this terrifying metamorphosis take place, from a safe distance, preferrably behind a stain-resistant protective wall. The good news is that we’re officially half-way through this whole mess, only 20 more weeks to go. The bad news is he has to spend those 20 weeks married to me, and that’s hard enough when I’m not pregnant.