America's North Shore Journal

Supporting the Ninth Amendment

Bumps are not all created equal

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Story by Danielle Bolton
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC. – Pregnancy looks differently on each and every woman. In fact, pregnancy can look different on a woman each and every time she conceives. As I cross the threshold of half way, on my third pregnancy, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, not all baby bumps are created equal – and for good reason. It is because of this, I feel compelled to share with those expecting and their friends some pearls of wisdom that I have picked up.

Danielle Bolton shows off her bump in honor of Bump Day, August. 3.

Danielle Bolton, 36, a Tyler, a Texas native and the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune assistant public affairs officer shows off her bump in honor of Bump Day, August. 3. Bump day is a national initiative to bring awareness to healthy pregnancy and babies. U.S. Navy photo by Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class William A. Cagle

I am experiencing what many would call a “later in life” pregnancy. At 36-years-old, my body is just not the same as it was when I was 23 and an active duty Marine. So, it would not be fair of me to try and compare this pregnancy with my previous ones nor should I try to compare with anyone else for that matter. Although, let’s be honest here, I do … all the time. It is really hard to see a friend, who is due weeks if not months before you, who is barely showing.

For example, I have one super skinny friend who is expecting her first child. She is due six weeks before me, yet her baby bump is almost nonexistent; whereas my belly has taken on a very nice round protruding shape. I eat healthy. I exercise.

Does this mean I am unhealthy, or she is starving her newborn ? absolutely not.

“Women carrying their first child tend to be smaller through most of their pregnancy,” said Candice Foura, a Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune midwife. “A healthy gain is somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds for a body mass index of 20 to 25; however there is some flexibility there depending on each individual.”

Women also have different risk factors to take into consideration. The higher the risk, the more restrictive their activity levels might be.

While it is normally taboo for people to comment about a woman’s weight, for some reason commenting during pregnancy seems to be the thing to do. What people do not understand, is that sometimes, the insecurities that a woman have about weight do not disappear just because they are expecting a bundle of joy.

I am very much aware of how much weight I have gained. I gained a lot of weight with my sons. When I say a lot … I mean more triple the normal amount, and that was back when I was young and super active.

After they were born, I was able to drop the weight quickly.

However, I started out 35 pounds heavier and less active this time. So, I am more aware of the types of food I am eating and the amount I consume. I am also more cognizant about the amount of exercise that I am doing.

This being said, I can see how someone like me who is really trying to be healthy could take offense to someone pointing out how round their belly is or how much farther along they look than someone else.

So, instead of commenting on the size of the belly or how much or little someone has gained, how about commenting on how precious they look.

Speak to the glow that expectant mothers hold. Cause sometimes, we just need to hear that we are still beautiful even though we can’t see our toes. A nice, “wow you look great” will go a long way with someone who is struggling to find things that still fit or that are flattering with the expanding size.

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