The Big Triplet Belly

I wrote this post about my big triplet belly while still pregnant. I didn’t publish it at the time, because I didn’t want people feeling like I was pin pointing any individual (which I am not doing at all) and I didn’t want people thinking I was upset with anyone in particular.

Since being pregnant with my triplets, I’m so self conscious about my belly.

The day before the triplets were born.

As is a lot of my emotions with this pregnancy, it’s quite contrary to how I usually feel. My previous two pregnancies I loved my belly. I was proud of it, and was happy for it to be on display.

I still feel those emotions when I’m walking around and people don’t know I have triplets. I am one of those ladies who does not mind being pregnant. (Although, if I could cross out a few pregnancy symptoms like the need to pee every three minutes and heartburn. That would make it a whole heap better…)

I have some friends that get rather large in pregnancy and practically go into hiding during the last weeks. Up until now I’ve never been able to get it. I thought their bumps were still beautiful, but could understand their discomfort and anticipation to return to a normal size once the baby was born.

This time, I have to rest so much, and I have to admit, I’m kind of glad for my enforced seclusion from the public eye.

The thing is, I love my triplet belly. I love that it’s growing and is an outward testament of the miracle that is happening beneath the surface. I love running my hand across it and feeling my babies. When I lie on my back, (for like 10 seconds these days, before it starts to hurt!), I am amused by the little mini mountain that is my own skin in front of me. I love that I’ve been given the rare gift of carrying three lives at the one time.

Moments before giving birth.

I’m also quite proud to show it off to my close friends and family.

I just don’t like being gawked at. I don’t like that people look at my eyes for all of one second and than they stare at my stomach in fascination. I don’t like that people want to come and ‘see my belly’ as though it’s a tourist destination. Yes, some of these people probably still think that my belly is beautiful and marvel at the wonder of new life. But there are very few people that do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a freak show.

One Sunday I was deep in conversation with another woman at church, when a 2 females I didn’t know walked past. One whispered to the other and nodded in my direction. Before I knew it, they had literally walked backwards, and one bent over so her head was in line with my stomach and just stared. Of course this was annoying since it interrupted a very interesting conversation and was quite awkward. She finally asked if I was having triplets, which I replied in the affirmative, made some remark about how she doesn’t know how they fit there and continued on her merry way leaving my friend and I flabbergasted. (Brief defense of the location: it’s actually one of the only times I have felt uncomfortable about being pregnant at church.)

31 Weeks Pregnant

Here are some tips if you have an encounter with a belly full of multiples, or just a belly full of stuff that makes it larger than normal.

1. When you say hello, spend the first minute or so talking to your friend looking at their eyes. Then direct your attention to the belly, and talk about it rather than just looking. If you really can’t help it, have a quick glance, but re-establish eye contact before beginning the belly talk!
2.  Express delight at the belly, sympathise if it looks like the mother is having a hard time with pregnancy related symptoms. There is no need to commiserate someone for having a multiple pregnancy. Most of us cherish the lives that are within us. And since we have real little lives about to be born, we don’t begrudge any of them that opportunity.
3. Everyone wonders how three babies can fit in there. It is an amazing thing to contemplate. Just remember, they are not the size of a newborn baby until the last weeks. They are quite small, that’s how they fit in – naturally it’s a bit more squashy than a singleton’s uterine residence.
4. Don’t touch! If you are a good friend, you may ask first then touch only if permission is granted! (This applies to any pregnant woman.)
5. If you are a stranger, please don’t stop and stare at a big belly. It really makes the belly’s owner feel awkward. After you have finished staring, there is nothing you can say that will redeem yourself.
6. It doesn’t make the mother feel better if you say that you were that big with one baby. Chances are you weren’t, you just can’t remember what you size you were in that exact week. Also, if the woman is smaller, this is normally because she is a smaller person, so she will in fact be a lot bigger than what she would be if there is was only one inside. Also there is a significant increase of discomfort compared to a single pregnancy.
7. If you are a child under 8, you can get away with staring and making random comments. It’s part of the benefits of being really cute and little.

Once again, I know many times people aren’t trying to be rude. I’ve had requests for photos to be published on social media and this blog, which makes me feel like I’m an exhibition. I know the people are curious and some love to see pregnant bellies. There is a good chance that if I had not been having this experience, I may have done any one of the things above. I think I have asked to see pictures of friends or families bellies before. I love pregnant bellies.

I also feel fortunate. I’m not as big as I thought I would be. I had visions of my stomach reaching the end of my knees. (Someone said so on a blog…) Stretch marks everywhere. And being unable to walk because my stomach was so big. Thankfully this hasn’t happened.

So, that’s the way I think about the public’s perception of my belly. (Even if it’s my perception of the public’s perception..!) Feelings are feelings, blame it on the hormones or whatever. This is just the way I feel this time around. Just thought I’d share.

So … What do you think about pregnant bellies? Do you want to/or do stare/touch/feel? If you have had your own preggers belly are you proud and put it on display, or do you try to avoid the spotlight?

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  1. Great advice Caitlin! Funnily enough I never liked pregnant bellies. I didn’t like seeing those professional preg belly shots and disliked even more preg bellies flaunted with midriff tops. I have no idea why I felt like this. I think that my first feeling of a baby kicking in a belly was my own. But I must say that after having my own belly I’m a lot more comfortable with them and so loved having a little home for my bubs to nestle in!

  2. I can remember being pregnant with my first and my Mum living many many miles away and asking me for a photo, which I sent! Reply mail asked for another photo – a side on shot! Which I sent but not so happily! Ahhh the memories!

  3. Great post, Caitlin. Some good food for thought. I know I’ve heard others complain of similar things, though for a completely different situation (adopted child of a different race). I guess the moral of the story is to think first, talk second. Or maybe not at all! Anyway, thanks for linking up with the TALU! And congratulations on those triplets!

  4. I remember towards the end of my pregnancy, I was so big I had to hold my stomach while I rolled over or else my stomach would get there before I did. Loved this post my friend!

  5. I’ve never been pregnant before, so I don’t have any well-developed thoughts about pregnant bellies. It’s good to hear your thoughts though, so I can be a more thoughtful friend, coworker, and bystander to other women who are pregnant. But I did want to tell you that you look beautiful in that photo when you are moments away from giving birth! (Found you through TALU.)

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