On the exact day marking my second trimester I woke up to discover the inescapable morning sickness that had plagued me for the previous month and a half was noticeably absent. So, too, was the nagging exhaustion and the intense, unrelenting headaches that had begun a few weeks earlier. I woke up that morning and I felt good. So good, in fact, that my husband got lucky that day. Twice.
The second day of my second trimester, my husband’s wildest expectations were dashed when he was awakened by an all-too-familiar sound. This was not the sound of me purring at him like the unleashed sex kitten of the previous day. This was the sound of me dry-heaving in the bathroom, stopping between retches only long enough to gasp “God. Help. Me”. I’ve never been a religious person (unless you’re counting religious experiences of the caliber I’d had the day before), but something about feeling your stomach actually convulsing will turn even the biggest atheist into a devout believer if only to be relieved of the impending regurgitation of last night’s tabouleh dinner. (That parsley is a real bitch to get up).
I returned to bed defeated. All this nonsense I’d been reading about the second trimester being the best trimester was clearly false, at least in my case. Over the next seven weeks, my morning sickness—while not as pervasive as before—continued to linger enough to render my libido DOA. Finally, at twenty weeks, it ended. God apparently tired of me summoning him from the porcelain throne between gags of KFC mashed potatoes.
Now that the incessant nausea was gone, I hoped my husband’s and my sex life would return to normal. It was more than hoped, really—I eagerly anticipated. The sex during that false-start a few weeks earlier was among the most enjoyable I’d ever experienced, compliments of my raging hormones. With my newfound enjoyment and renewed libido, I relished in the possibilities that awaited me the remainder of my pregnancy. I began, one night, to ravage my husband with the highest of hopes and the best of intentions, only to quickly discover a new problem, perhaps even more prohibitive than those I’d experienced during the first trimester.
I’d begun showing several weeks earlier and, by this point, was growing increasingly uncomfortable with my appearance. Not only did I have a baby bump, I had newly rounded thighs, expanded hips and the slightest traces of –gasp!—back fat that made every position cringe-worthy. Missionary was arguably the best for concealing my jiggles, although my growing baby bump made it cumbersome and clunky. (Plus, repeated frantic chastising of my husband not to squish the baby was clearly not a turn-on.)
While he claimed not to notice and repeatedly insisted I looked beautiful, I was too self-conscious (and, admittedly, vain), to enjoy anything. Instead of getting lost in the moment, I was examining the new ripples of fat that riddled my thighs. A mid-session, not-so-accidental glance in the mirror revealed my ass was quickly morphing into something I’d find in the Trader Joe’s dairy case and I was getting the distinct feeling that, when on top, I was crushing the life out of the poor chap beneath me.
My first trimester was marked with abstaining from sex because I didn’t want it. This trimester quickly earned a reputation for being the one where I wanted it but was too self-conscious to engage. I’m the first to admit that I tend to be more maniacal about my figure than most women, but I knew I couldn’t be alone in this dilemma. Certainly there had to be other women who wanted sex but were too threatened by their newly-expanding bodies to regularly have it. I decided to return to the second trimester forums of a popular pregnancy website to investigate.
What I discovered over the course of several weeks of unscientific forum-trolling research was that, as during the first trimester, women’s feelings were widely varied. Some echoed my sentiments, like the woman who wrote, “I feel so huge and awkward!” She lamented that she’d shied away from sex because of her new size to the point that “it’s been so long I don’t know how to work anymore.”
Another woman explained that, while she didn’t let her anxiety over her new curves keep her from having sex, “…once we get going I just kinda lose it. I just don’t feel sexy and it’s hard to be turned on when all I can think about is my jiggling ass and thighs, nevermind my ever expanding belly LOL.” LOL? I’m glad one of us is laughing. I find it hard to have a sense of humor over jiggling thighs.
There were those middle-of-the-road women who, while self-conscious, chose to accentuate the positives: larger breasts, more voluptuous curves, newly discovered womanly physiques. “I feel self-conscious as I’m not used to having so much body fat,” one woman explained. “My boyfriend seems to like my new body so that makes me feel sexy. Plus, I actually fill out a bra now.”
Finally, there were those women who clearly had no inhibitions about their new figures whatsoever. In a thread titled ADULT FUN!, these women exchanged notes on bump-friendly positions. Like a strange hybrid between What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Kama Sutra, their biggest obstacle was finding new and inventive ways to circumnavigate their baby bumps during sex. Their emboldened stance was awe-inspiring and, even for this Sexis writer, strangely educational. You can put what, where?!
As with the first trimester, I waited entirely too long to begin reconciling and rectifying my issues. Had I sought “support” from the forum sooner, I may have been earlier inspired to be proactive. While still extraordinarily anxious over what my body looks like, re-reading my posts and those of others, I realized I sounded like the ultimate stick-in-the-mud. Here I am singing the proverbial blues, woe is me, I have too much cellulite to have sex, while one thread over, women are talking Reverse Cowgirl and Roast Duck. It was like there was a party going on next door but I’d stubbornly relegated myself to confinement because I had nothing to wear. If sex was uncomfortable, that was one thing; however, my reasoning—my thighs look fat—sounded just plain dumb. Get over yourself, I finally chided.
And that’s the attitude I am taking into the third trimester. Get over yourself. When the baby comes it will no longer be all about me, so I might as well start practicing now. Trite as it sounds, life is too short. Why miss out on fun simply because of my (2-inches larger) ass? While I’m stressing about my figure, other women are throwing caution to the wind, enjoying themselves while they have time. As I see it, I have a choice: I can be the woman who wraps herself in a blanket and watches yet another episode of Storage Wars, or I can be the chick at the receiving end of the Wheelbarrow.
I think you know which one I’ll choose.