Learning to Embrace the Belly

{29 weeks pregnant}

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but the reality is…
that aside from the beautiful end result,Β being pregnant is about my least favorite thing in the world.

I’m beyond grateful and realize how blessed I am to be capable of creating a miracle in my belly,
but the experience is still a struggle I’m working to overcome.

The extreme sickness, the trips to the hospital, the mood swings, the headaches, the shortness of breath, the heartburn, the way NO clothes seem to fit the way I envision them in my head.
The list really goes on.

I long for each and every kick, punch, hiccup and wiggle of the peanut in my tummy reminding me why these 10 months are beyond worth it.

I don’t glow–I’m green.
My face doubles in size.
My hair goes flat.
My legs get soft and lumpy.
I can’t exercise.
And my skin gets brown spots–everywhere.

And just when I start to think I’m the only “un-pretty” pregnant person in the world,
I’m reminded of what true beauty is:


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  • Reply
    Allison {A Glimpse Inside}
    April 29, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I am 36 wks pregnant and I admit I am still not too positive if I like being pregnant either. This is my first and was SUPER sick in the beginning. It has died down but I am still on zofran. I have lots of other pain that started extremely early so this hasn’t been all that fabulous of an experience. I love feeling my baby girl kick but I will be so happy when these last 4 weeks are over and she is in my arms. So you are definitely NOT alone!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I am so with you. I do not enjoy being preggo one bit…but the blessing at the end is so worth it. You look super cute though. Hope the next few weeks fly by:).

  • Reply
    Misty S.
    April 29, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I’m right with you! I’m 28 weeks w/my 4th and I spent the other day in a puddle because I couldn’t find anything that fit right and I feel like my own body is foreign to me. Pregnancy always throws me for a loop.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Dawn
    April 29, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Well, for what it’s worth…I think you look beautiful! I don’t see any of the brown spot, flat hair things that you mentioned. I just see a beautiful, talented mommy who is having a baby brother for Lil W very soon.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Sweetie, I feel your pain! I’m only 8 weeks with my 2nd child right now, But I have been in bed for 2 weeks and haven’t kept anything down! I haven’t showered in what seems like centuries.
    It IS worth it! But it’s so hard to remember!

    When I’m not pregnant,I see pregnant women,and I get so jealous of their amazing beauty.I think to myself “wow, to be pregnant,is so amazing!”

    Then I get pregnant, and I feel the exact opposite.Being pregnant is painful,and hard to do.

    But this passes,and we will be ourselves again πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Abbie (Five days...5 ways)
    April 29, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Ashley, I don’t comment often (chalk it up to busy blogger + three littles and one on the way syndrome), but I just wanted to say that I appreciated this reminder.

    I’m 18 weeks along with my 4th (and I’m only 29…imagine the raised eyebrows I get at the grocery store), and even though I have none of the extreme symptoms and can continue to teach my exercise classes and live life as “normally” as you possibly can when you’re pregnant, I find myself resenting (maybe that word’s too strong, but still…) the pregnancy–NOT the precious miracle that’s all wrapped up in it. But definitely the discomfort, the aches, the hunger pains and nausea and extreme exhaustion.

    That sleeping, thumb-sucking, hiccuping, wiggling little being God placed inside my body really is worth every relatively tiny inconvenience, though, and I absolutely loved the way that last image you showed expressed that.

    P.S. I know that you don’t feel beautiful (believe me, I can relate), but you look fantastic!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ lillys&lollipops
    April 29, 2012 at 1:06 am

    I love that saying! You look beautiful.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Ok you don’t even look green or like your face is any bigger or any of those things! You look beautiful! And Im not just saying that, you do.:)

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    There was always a small window where I actually liked being pregnant and that was in the beginning when the belly was small and I could still wear the cute clothes. Once it grew past the size of a basketball everything just became more difficult. I never was seriously sick, but with both boys I had the worst heartburn of my life {both of them were bald!} It just takes a toll on your body and chasing a toddler around doesn’t make it any easier. For what it’s worth, you look beautiful! Hang in there Momma, not too much longer!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    You look amazing but I can certainly remember feeling gross. Us “little people” have it a bit harder, I think.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I think you look absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply
    Audrey Crisp
    April 29, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I think you look beautiful!!! Yeah being pregnant sucks! Anyone who says otherwise is totally lying! Only 10 more weeks and you have the best thing ever! Good luck!!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:51 am

    love this post. i think you look beautiful and i can only hope i look half as good as you when im pregnant.

  • Reply
    Ashley C.
    April 29, 2012 at 1:53 am

    You look beautiful! But I know exactly how you feel. It’s hard to find the balance between constantly complaining to the point where people might think you’re ungrateful, but you are SO uncomfortable…and tired…and annoyed…and anxious to just have your body back and meet the little man! Know that you are affirmed in your feelings of discomfort and by no means does that mean you love your babe any less or are ungrateful for the ability to carry that life to birth. Hang in there!

  • Reply
    Monica @ The Writer Chic
    April 29, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Oh goodness, I get it. I SO get it. I’m 35w with #4 and, well, yeah….I just get it. Hang in there, momma!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 2:54 am

    i love you and think that quote is so beautiful!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 2:57 am

    I am there with your sweet momma- I’m 18 weeks with #3 and I’m already feeling the awfulness you’re feeling at 29! Thanks you for this reminder. And you do NOT look how you are describing- you look amazing.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 3:07 am

    *you, not your. Heehee!

  • Reply
    Jessi H.
    April 29, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Oh Ashley! It is so hard! I was sick my whole pregnancy and gained 70 POUNDS and had absolutely no perspective because it was my first and I didn’t realize how incredibly worth it it would all be in the end, and the time goes so slow. I am so sorry you feel so crummy. I know it’s the “epitome of womanhood” to be able to grow a baby inside our bellies, but my husband and I would often joke that pregnancy is the LEAST LADYLIKE THING every, with the hormones and the constipation and the heartburnish belches and the hair and skin issues, etc. Isn’t just so ironic?? But the truth of it is, I don’t even remember how hard pregnancy is for me now that I have my little dude! Poor John remembers, though. Oh, bless our sweet husbands who endure our preggersaurusness!! Hahaha

    By the way, you are the HOTTEST PREGNANT MAMA I’ve ever seen. Work it, girl!!

  • Reply
    Jessie K
    April 29, 2012 at 3:17 am

    I have to admit, I really did not enjoy being pregnant. To make matters… well, worse for lack of a better word, Hubby did not enjoy me pregnant. I’m cranky, impatient, chubby, impatient, grumpy, impatient, tired, impatient… and the list goes on. So, after 3 kiddos, we’re ready to call it quits and be happy with what we have! And I don’t think I’m sad. Except for the end result. That was worth it all for sure.

  • Reply
    Heidi Ferguson
    April 29, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Oh my gosh, I KNOW you know this but the baby is such a wonderful end result. I guess I would say it’s worth it–haha, but I also do NOT love pregnancy. I’m a huge whiner when I’m pregnant so I’m very very understanding of pregnant women and don’t want to give them any extra burdens. That aside, my baby girl is 5 months and so completely adorable that I literally want to eat her. She giggles and smiles all day long, doesn’t seem to cry much anymore, and is getting so chubby and big. (But believe me the first 3-4 months with her were ROUGH so maybe I’m just extra appreciative of how great she is now.) I’ll be thinking of you! PS. You look great!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Scissors and a Whisk
    April 29, 2012 at 3:33 am

    I’m sorry, but even if you feel ugly, you are just so beautiful.

  • Reply
    Vanessa Pierson
    April 29, 2012 at 3:40 am

    You look so pretty! I agree, I just had my baby 5 months ago, pregnancy sucks! Love my baby, but the pregnant part is just plain awful, throwing up all three trimesters, my face looking like a balloon, stretchmarks galore, awful. And where in the world did 9 months come from, it is totally 10 months! But those 10 horrible months are so worth it.

  • Reply
    Marissa @ Momma Rake
    April 29, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I agree girl! Those 10 months are not fun… AT ALL… but like you said, the end result is so worth it. You look stunning. Keep up the good work momma! πŸ˜‰ XO!!

  • Reply
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    April 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

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  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 4:11 am

    don’t feel bad, i was extremely sick with both mine and i would love another but that sickness and headaches and diabetes just puts me off. its like motion sickness for 10months. its ok to say it,heaps of us feel it. we are blessed to be able to have babies but i feel what you are going through.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 4:38 am

    love it…i think you look beautiful! Making me want another baby πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 5:27 am

    One of the things I love most about your blog is your honesty! I did not enjoy being pregnant, not even one stinkin sick minute of it. Everyone else I knew talked about how much they loved it. I was so scared that I was going to be a horrible mother because I hated being pregnant. Good news, my daughter is now 17, and was worth every stinkin sick minute of pregnancy, and I have loved every single minute of being her mom! Although..she is an only child! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Samantha C.
    April 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I can’t believe you are so far along already! I haven’t been reading any blog lately as I have delivered my own precious miracle just a week ago.

    When looking for clothing, I just laugh at the models who have these perfect little tiny bumps and can still wear their regular clothes for most of pregnancy. Yeah right!

    You look fantastic and I look forward to seeing pics of baby!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    You look great!!!!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Cooper
    April 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Tears. In. My. Eyes. That picture says it all and it’s something I needed to hear/read right now.
    I just gave birth 4 weeks ago to my first and most ever fabulous son Henry Thomas. πŸ™‚ The stretchmarks, icky veins on my legs, already beginning to sag breasts has all been weighing on this momma. So thank you for reminding me it’s beautiful because it gave me him. πŸ™‚ I like thinking of it that way much better than “war wounds”. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Katie @ My Darling Days
    April 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    What are you talking about hunny? You look just as smokin’ now as you did before! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Lisa A
    April 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    You may not feel good pregnant, but can I just say how great you look! I think your are glowing and you are so tiny! Why is it that we can never see how beautiful we look while pregnant, but everyone else can. I remember feeling the same way with E.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    You look stunning! And I’m not just saying it either, I reallllllllly hope I can look as good as you when I’m pregnant. Loving your posts!

  • Reply
    Mari Bell
    April 30, 2012 at 3:04 am

    A friend wrote a BEAUTIFUL poem about motherhood entitled, “Being Your Mommy Has Made Me Beautiful.” I think you’ll enjoy it…
    A few of my favorite lines…
    “Mommy, you know you’re my very best friend, But have you always had such a saggy rear end?…
    Even though parts of me are a bit more fattened. I’m more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.”

  • Reply
    Lindsay M
    April 30, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Oh my goodness, girl – the poem at the end has me in all kinds of tears! <3

    I'm a short gal, too – all of 5-foot-nothin'. YOU are beautiful and what your body is doing is amazing. πŸ™‚ Thanks for such an awesome post πŸ™‚


  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I think you look beautiful!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Funny because when I was looking at these pictures, I kept thinking how pretty you are…..

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    You (and your belly) are beautiful, Ashley!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    You really look great Ashley! I am 24 weeks, so it looks like I am ~ 5 weeks behind you. You are almost there! Doing a great job.

  • Reply
    Merry Cheerry
    April 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    This was a really nice post! I’m 31 weeks and I tell myself that no matter what aches and pains I’m going through, it’ll all be worth it once I meet my little girl. πŸ™‚ Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    My first pregnancy I loved. I didn’t mind getting bigger. My second one, because I remembered all the “fun stuff” I didn’t enjoy so much.
    But in the end, it did the “job” and did them well.
    I have 2 wonderful, happy, healthy girls!
    Great post.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    First off, you are super duper beautiful. I’m like you and hate being pregnant. Although when I’m not pregnant I envy those girls that do pregnancy so well. I always gain way too much weight – which I don’t get because I am SOOOOO sick! It’s horrible. I get about 30 pounds of water weight. I am SUPER duper moody and feel like a total wreck. It’s really hard. I’m pregnant with baby number 4 and yes I am SO thankful I get pregnant so easily and am so blessed, but I really struggle with being pregnant. So many other girls have it so much easier and love being pregnant. I wear my work out clothes all day (but don’t work out), no make up and look awful. It’s hard. I can totally relate!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    You are a beautiful, we will all keep telling you that! You deserve to hear it! Pregnancy was not my best look, I was big and round , and weight just found me. My 3rd is 15 and it seems like many years ago. I am thankful maternity clothes were loose fitting back then. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Im only a mere 13 weeks pregnant, my other child (a lil boy) is 18 months and…yep im right there with you about pregnancy 13 wks and ive lost 14 lbs, i did the same with my son. Pregnancy just does not agree with me, totally worth it in the end but they are the longest 9 month spans of my life. I’ll keep you in my prayers!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Okay, I kind of hate you b/c YOU LOOK GORGEOUS!! But yes, ugh, I absolutely was “not into” being pregnant ever. God bless those moms who are! Anyway, you really look great, trust me! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Wow Ashley, you have such a beautiful baby bump! I LOVE that poem.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Ahh Ashley, you look beautiful!! Love your blog and I can’t wait to meet (via ciberworld) your pretty little peanut babe. Lots of love. Linda

  • Reply
    May 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Gah! That last picture has made me cry for 5 minutes straight. So beautiful.
    You look absolutely gorgeous, my dear! xo

  • Reply
    May 2, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I love my babies and being a mother more than anything, but I didn’t love being pregnant. I’m totally ok with that.

  • Reply
    Courtney Fisher
    May 4, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Oh my goodness, I am right there with you!! I was just telling my hubby last week how awful and guilty I felt for hating pregnancy so much…the aches, pains, nausea, the weight gain, sleepless nights, no glowing skin just breakouts and most of all feeling less of a Mother to my other three children.
    I am truly grateful for the blessing of being able to get pregnant easily and carrying my babies. But, oh man, the length of the pregnancy seems endless! I am 22 weeks with my fourth and I swear my the day I got prego my body decided it was going to expedite the process of gaining weight and popping my tummy out.
    I can hardly wait for the day baby boy is placed in my arms and I can put all this “fun” pregnancy stuff behind me!

    P.S you look absolutely darling in your pics!!!

  • Reply
    emily anderson
    May 4, 2012 at 2:50 am

    well at least you look cute. you make me miss my belly πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Alexandra Petrich
    May 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    such a beautiful post! YOU are beautiful! and so is that belly! xo

  • Reply
    May 7, 2012 at 2:17 am

    I remember those days. But you look adorable even though you don’t feel like you do. I didn’t get any stretch marks, but I cry every time I read that, it almost makes me wish I had. ; )

    xoxo, Misty

  • Reply
    May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Birth was easy for me (2 hours or less) so I’d rather give birth every day for 9 months than be pregnant. Sick Sick Sick!!! It seems that my body is too selfish to make more babies.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    thank you for being honest. i’m 21 weeks pregnant and i feel exactly the same way. this is my first though. can’t wait to hold little jr in my hands but the preggo part.. its ruff.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I guess I’m lucky because at week 32, I’ve felt great to date!! I suggest walking and yoga as exercise, if you’re up for it. I got a pregnancy yoga DVD at Target and it’s really helpful.

    I just want to send a positive message to anyone who reads this blog and is trying or wants to be pregnant that everyone is different. I am 31 years old and pregnant for the 1st time and everything has been good. No throwing up, no extra trips to the doctor, my hair and skintone actually improved, and I love being pregnant.

    Don’t let these gals scare you! : )

  • Reply
    May 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Sweetie, I know your pain. I was sick with both of my kids…and was very surprised when I realized that I wanted number two…since being pregnant with number one was so bad. I did wait 6 years between pregnancies so I think I forgot about the pregnancy a little by then! With number one I knew I was pregnant about 1 week in because I started throwing up… and continued up until the day I delivered. Meds from the doc brought my throwing up down to 8 times a day…it was WAY more before the meds! There was no such thing as morning sickness for me…it was morning, noon, and night sickness! I truly could not stand being pregnant. Number 2 was a little better, but not much. But, you are so right….when you get to hold that little miracle in your arms it somehow makes it all worth it! You don’t forget it, however, and thought of going though it again could set you off the edge (well, maybe that’s just me! hee hee!) but you wouldn’t give up those little people for anything in the world!

    Enjoy you kids and I hope the sickness leaves you for the remainder of your pregnancy! HUGS!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Just stumbled onto your blog and I am loving it! I have just started a blog not too long ago so I am thankful for your tips. Also thankful for this particular post. At 30 wks pregnant, drowning in the not-so-pretty things of being pregnant, its great to be reminded of the beauty of it!

    Take care,


  • Reply
    September 7, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I am 35 weeks, and I am so glad I stumbled upon this. I love being pregnant, but not the stretch marks.. and this is a WONDERFUL quote. It gives me another perspective about stretch marks. I don’t have many, but they still bother me. I try and remind myself of the “beautiful earned tiger stripes” quote, but it definatley has no comparison to this one. Thanks for posting, and congratulations on your little one!(:

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