I’ve never felt more alive or full of purpose than when I’ve been pregnant. I think that because we waited 5 years after getting married to have kids—and then having a miscarriage first—I really treasured pregnancy and eagerly anticipated each phase of change. I loved the taut, end-of-pregnancy belly when every movement from inside could be seen. I still sometimes feel phantom kicks, and I wonder if that will ever go away. I hope not. I’ve never been svelte or petite, nor have I been obese, but I’ve also never been completely happy with my body. One thing that devastated me after having my first baby was when a friend asked me—2 days after giving birth—-how much weight I’d lost. It felt like I wasn’t even allowed to be soft and smushy and newly un-pregnant with babymoon joy. I had to get right back into the body-loathing state of mind. Being 30 when I had my first, and 35 when my 2nd was born felt like even more pressure. People would often tell me how hard it was to lose the baby weight when you’re “older”. Why do we women do that to each other? I’ve really never gotten back to my pre-preg size. I joke that I’m on the 3 year plan (my daughter just turned 2) I wish I could say that I’m completely ok with it, but I’m not. What I am happy about is how my outlook has changed from wanting to be a certain size/weight to wanting to be as healthy as I can and letting my body determine its ideal size. For me, that will never be a size 2 or 4. The side belly shot was taken about 6 hours before labor started with my daughter 2 years ago. The front shot is a day before having my son 6 years ago. The non-pg belly is me last week.