‘There are no corners to my body.
I am round, round, round.’
– Nichole Perkins, Lilith, but dark
When I started writing this, there was a chalked ‘2’ on the blackboard in our kitchen. It was our countdown to the EDD, or expected delivery date on December 1st. First babies are rarely born on their EDD but it was still a milestone of sorts. Now we need to rub that number off the board. We have passed the EDD and the third trimester could come to an end at any moment…
The third trimester has, as expected, been just as interesting as the previous ones with just as many changes. For one, as my Sinful Sunday photos will testify, my body is now completely unrecognisable. My previously enormous tits are looking relatively normal in size compared to my terrifyingly massive belly! I’m truly fortunate that I am yet to suffer with too much oedema or swelling, still managing to wear my rings, but I have definitely thickened out to cope with the extra weight, particularly around my arse!
But this has created curves that I am not unhappy about. The idea that the grass is always greener when looking at another person’s body shape is one that I am very familiar with. I have strong memories of coveting a friend’s significantly larger shape because her bigger hips and breasts formed a better hourglass shape than mine and she looked stunning in 1950s dresses, like Mad Men’s Joan. I remember thinking that if I could guarantee the extra weight would fall just right, I’d prefer to look like her than me, preferring her shape to mine that was thinner but more pear-shaped and less curvaceous.
It turns out that pregnancy has given me that larger, curvier shape and I am enjoying showing off! My mother expressed some surprise that I generally choose more figure-hugging maternity clothes, highlighting my bump rather than minimising it with the floatier clothes that were perhaps considered more appropriate when she was pregnant in 1980s. But I’ve enjoyed the shape of my bump and my larger breasts, and I want to show them off. I love the curve of my back down around my arse (although it is increasingly becoming a source of pain!) and I’ve been particularly happy that these other newer and bigger curves have moved the focus away from areas that I had previously not been so happy with, such as my hips.
As an aside, it makes me very sad that I have the opportunity to revel in my larger, curvier shape being accepted and congratulated by strangers in a way that plus sized women are not. Is it the temporary nature of my new size that makes it more acceptable? Or is it more that pregnant women’s bodies are considered community property, and therefore fair game for comment and analysis? Random people often comment on my size now, telling me I am blooming and asking about when the baby is due or what the sex is. Someone once even complimented me on my smell, which was particularly odd!
I’m also much more in touch with my body than ever before, literally! I notice every change, every new mark or swelling. Our daughter is moving so much now and in much less space, so I can be more confident assigning mobile lumps to feet or lower flutterings to hands or arms. It’s kind of wonderful. And although my vigilance with Bio Oil and moisturiser on my belly and breasts has not quite managed to prevent stretch marks, I have enjoyed the daily contact and mini-massage to reduce them. There is also the daily almond oil perineal massage to reduce the risk of tears during labour that has not exactly been an unpleasant addition to my routine…
But despite all this, my new love for my third trimester body and the growing girl inside it has not been accompanied by an increase in libido. I may feel good, and I know that EA likes what he sees, but I don’t feel sexier in the same way as I have during other times when I’ve felt so good about my body. I’ve also let slide the little things that used to make me feel sexy – I haven’t had a bikini wax since early August, for example, and have a bigger bush now than at any point since I started waxing at 18! Admittedly, I can’t see any part of my vulva now without a mirror but I know that this change of appearance isn’t because I want to try a new look. It’s laziness; it’s because I haven’t prioritised that particular aspect of my appearance and I can’t help but wonder what this says about how I’m currently viewing my sexual self.
Because my sexual self doesn’t seem to have been my priority. Gone is the joyous rediscovery of my libido that came with the second trimester, and I’m left with something different, something calmer. Unlike in the first trimester when I was too tired to consider sex, I’m simply not thinking about it as often as I have before. Bedtime comes around and, as finding a comfortable way to lie down has become increasingly difficult, I have to spend a good while positioning myself in my pillow fort to support my strange new weight and balance my hips, and then, well, I just go to sleep! Walking and moving is also significantly more awkward so I tend to find somewhere comfortable to sit and stay there.
And just as I’m more in touch with my body in a non-sexual way, I am gaining enough warmth (literal and emotional) from simply lying against EA and feeling his skin against mine. He has written himself about how his own libido has been a bit up and down over the last few months so neither of us have felt under much pressure from the other to do more!
Despite all of this, I can firmly say that sex while pregnant – post-EDD – is awesome! The angles and positions possible are more limited – I can’t lie on my back now, for example, both as it makes me breathless and because the weight of my belly straight backwards can limit blood flow, so missionary has needed a twist to keep the weight to the left – and lube has become more necessary for penetration, but these are all adjustments that have occasionally been necessary with sex before pregnancy anyway! I wondered if my cunt had changed shape or would feel different to EA, shallower or tighter somehow with such a weight from above, but he’s not noticed if it has.
The changes seen in my orgasms in the last trimester have plateaued but they still remain very different from before I was pregnant. Having said that, because clitoral orgasms seem to me to need to propagate across my now massive uterus to reach their peak, I have had more failed orgasms when masturbating than ever before! The surge that was usually enough to tip me over the edge into orgasm sometimes doesn’t quite make it and it then takes a long time to build up again. I must admit that it sometimes takes too long and I give up… But I have still been astonished by how much richer and stronger the sensations associated with penetration have become and my nipples are becoming more sensitive by the day! There really is a lot to explore!
And it’s a good thing that sex is still both possible and feels great as I have it on good authority that it is the best way to encourage labour!
40 week midwife appointment today and I’ve been advised to ‘stay in bed and have a lot of sex!’
Yup, think I can manage that…!
— The Other Livvy (@theotherlivvy) November 29, 2018
It turns out that the prostaglandins in spunk can soften the cervix to initiate labour, similar to those used in induction, and as we are both anxious to meet our girl, we’d best get on with it!
Such a hardship…!