This interview series seeks to capture the essence of the transforming power of a woman’s body, focusing on pregnancy body changes. It is remarkable how it is the woman’s body that morphs into a life giving source, over and over again, with each child that is brought into the world. And within this woman’s body is all the sustenance necessary for this new being to evolve and grow.
In this series, we'll sit down with women who have experienced the transformation of their bodies through pregnancy. You’ll hear the wonder and amazement they went through. You’ll also hear about pain and struggle. But one thing you will take away is that the power that resides within the woman’s body to transform and bring life into this world is out of the ordinary!
For our fist post, we bring you Jasmine's story. Jasmine is in her late twenties while experiencing her first pregnancy and is in the third trimester at the time of this interview. A native to Cleveland, she transplanted to LA in 2018 with her husband of six years. She is kind and mighty and cares deeply for others with her big heart.
I personally know her as a friend from college days. Jasmine is a registered nurse and supervises the operations and care for patients in a geropsych nursing home. Read on to hear her count of the transforming power in her body.
1. Were you mentally and emotionally prepared for the bodily transformation awaiting you before you became pregnant?
I was fortunate to feel mostly prepared because I spent a lot of time educating myself through other people’s experiences and watching a lot of videos and documentaries on pregnancy. When I was in Cleveland, I happened to have several friends who were pregnant at the same time. I learned a lot from them and would ask them questions about their experiences. So many people were open about sharing their emotional response to pregnancy and becoming a mother.2. Do you remember the moment that you began to notice your body changing?
It was around 15 weeks when I noticed less of a pudge and more of a little bump. That moment was exciting! This change in my body made everything feel more real for me and my husband. Around the same time, I also noticed that my breasts seemed to double in size and the dark line (aka linea nigra) down the middle of my belly started to form. I learned about the physiological and anatomical changes that take place in our bodies while I was in college for nursing. But it was surreal when I saw everything I learned begin to happen to me!
3. What were your fears related to pregnancy and your body changing? Was there any part you were excited about experiencing?
I wasn’t concerned about stretch marks or wider hips - those changes I could live with and maybe even enjoy. I was afraid that my 4'10", petite body would change in unfavorable and irreversible ways during pregnancy. I was most worried about the separation of the abdominal muscles, which is rectus abdominis, and any form of incontinence or chronic pelvic separation. I have experienced pelvic separation during this pregnancy, but seeing a skilled chiropractor regularly has really helped.
In the beginning of the pregnancy, I was most excited about feeling the baby move and kick. It is the most tangible expression of this miraculous life growing inside of me. Now that I’m at the end of my third trimester, I’m just ready to hold this very strong, Kung-Fu combo-kicking person in my arms instead of in my body!
4. How did your view of your body and the skin you were in change as you progressed through the pregnancy?
I transitioned from feeling like the owner of my own (rather nauseous) body in the first trimester, to a comfortable co-owner in the second trimester. By the third trimester, it feels more like being the host of an alien invader. In all seriousness, it's both a bizarre and beautiful feeling knowing that my body has adapted in a way I couldn’t have imagined to accommodate another human. I feel huge, yet part of something sacred.
5. How did your understanding of self care evolve as you went through this experience?
Before this pregnancy, I did not prioritize self care at all. However, I've always wanted a healthy pregnancy, body, and delivery. Once I found out I was pregnant, I made several changes to my routine to improve my self-care practices. I began using butters on my skin, increasing my intake of nutrient-dense foods, praying regularly over our health, stretching to prepare for natural birth, and working with a therapist. I've really felt the importance of the role self-care has played for the sake of my child. It’s been nice to see the positive effects on her growth and development so far, as well as in my overall mood and body.
6. Any parting words of advice?
Be open to the changes in, and learn to love, your body as the process of pregnancy is the definition of sacrifice.