We've had a long and turbulent relationship, my belly and I. For as long as I can remember, it's been my least favourite part of my body.. always too round, a bit too wobbly, never that washboard that my school and university friends could show off in crop tops. Before going any further, I should say that, as far as weight and body shape goes, I've been genetically pretty lucky. The women in my family are apples... skinny limbs and round middles, with waists only appearing with exercise and careful eating. But on the whole, we don't have a tendency to put on weight too easily and I'm thankful for that.
But we all have body hangups, right? And mine is belly. Then, about 5 years ago, belly started giving me real cause for concern... after eating it would swell to a size and shape reminscient of a 6-month baby bump. Coupled with the digestive problems I was having, I knew something was up. So a few tests later and it turned out that I'm a Coeliac. That is, I have an auto-immune disease caused by an allergy to gluten (I'm deliberately not writing that I have a food allergy, because Coeliac disease is much more than that and I can't let an opportunity to increase awareness go by).
So, no more bread for me (or pizza, pasta, pies, cakes, biscuits...). And I was so happy, because I finally started feeling healthy again and big round belly was starting to shrink..yey!
A couple of years later and belly is destined for a new purpose...to carry that precious baby that I so desperately want. But it didn't get the memo or has chosen to ignore it. Month after month, it selfishly remains the same size and shape - still a bit podgy and wobbly, but definitely not big and round and beautiful. Because one thing I've realised is, that I don't just want a baby. I want to be pregnant. I want to get that bump. I want to see if I'm going to balloon to whale-size dimensions in a matter of weeks or stay the same shape with a 'basketball under the sweater' mound. And I know that, if IVF doesn't work and I don't get pregnant, there are other options to having a family that don't include my pregnancy. And I'll cross that bridge if we ever come to it. But for now, I really want belly to start cooperating.
But to add insult to injury, belly has been enjoying winter, a lack of exercise and more homecooking a bit too much and has been expanding a bit in the no-waist, sideways direction (rather than the upfront, firm direction I'm looking for). But that does not justify what happened on my last day of my recent holiday. My bloke and I were having a last foot massage before heading to the airport when the oh-so-lovely massage lady looked at belly and asked if I was pregnant! And I should be clear that in no way do I actually look pregnant. It seems she mistook the gesture of my hand sitting across belly for a protective, caring one rather than the attempt to hide a newly-acquired muffin-top that it actually was. I managed not to cry (see, I'm making progress).. but she certainly wasn't getting a tip!