Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

I wore a bikini to the beach last week.

Like a legitimate triangle top and bikini bottom. 38 weeks pregnant with what doctors are now telling me is a 43-week-sized pregnant belly (when the hell did that happen?).

True story. I can’t even tell you the last time I wore it in real life. Five years, maybe?

Anyway, I’m certainly not bragging and I’m a far cry from the picture of to-hell-with-what-they-think confidence. When I dragged out the couple of bathing suits I own, they all looked absurd and really, really stretched to fit around my middle. So I tried on the bikini top and despite my body being really quite round, it actually looked more sensible. Is that possible? Nik came into the room to grab his suit, took a look and was like, Yup, just wear that. He’s generally really honest (really honest), so I took a deep breath and went with it.

You know what I told myself when I looked in the mirror, drove to the beach, walked into the water and swam? It’s okay, I said to myself. I’m supposed to look like this.
It totally bugged me then and by now I’ve been thinking about it for days. I’m supposed to look like this. Which is to suggest when I’m not sporting 9-months of baby watermelon-style out front I don’t look like I’m supposed to? Or like I don’t look good/skinny/fit enough to wear the same bathing suit and own it? What the heck is up with that?

I don’t have any real conclusions to draw or any wisdom to add, because I’m certainly no more confident or wise or well-sorted-out than anyone else. I just think there’s a lesson here and it’s likely and as usual that we all need to cut ourselves some more slack. It was freeing to wear a little swimsuit, sit however I liked without worrying about sucking it in (lord knows I can’t), and to simply enjoy the sun, the wind, and the water. Happily.

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about how empowering I was finding running while pregnant. Today I observe how freeing it is to wear what you want for whatever reason you want. In an ultrasound yesterday afternoon I got to see my baby’s little face and watch as the tech measured it’s femur, humerus, head, and spine. I saw sprawled out toes on wacky little feet and balled up fists tucked under a tiny chin. I guess my point is that I’m sort of ruminating on the fact that at some point our body goes from being an absolute wonder, to an expectation of beauty or fitness or something like perfection, to a wonder all over again. I’m curious if I can maintain that respect for myself if or when my body doesn’t match the “supposed to” someday down the line. I hope so.