Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is having a lovely day! I've been wanting to share for a while my recent relationship with bathing suits (and mostly my changing body in them) but have been putting it off because I wasn't quite ready to bare it all (pun intended!). After my sinus infection kept me out of the pool for a few weeks, I had some time to reflect on what I wanted to say in this post as I revisited the pool and doggie-paddled with my fins and oversized goggles last week.
I've been very fortunate that I've never really been concerned about how I looked in a bathing suit. Okay, so maybe that isn't 100% true, but growing up, my love for the water- pools, rivers, and lakes alike- made it impossible for me to care too much about how I looked. I wasn't going to miss out on a fun activity just because I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. In my family, I was always the first one to jump in the water with a big cannon ball (however, Claire and Colleen usually beat me on getting into Lake Tahoe because it would take me a little longer to brave the freezing cold water).
One of our Curran traditions is rafting down the Truckee River in Lake Tahoe- my parents have done it every year since the 80s, long before the Truckee River Rafting Company existed and then subsequently went on a hiatus due to such low water levels. As our family size and bodies grew over the years, we couldn't all fit in the boat so who do you think self-nominated to ride down on the inflatable alligator tied to the back of the boat?
Going to school in San Diego, the beach was our classroom and bathing suits and sun hats were our uniforms. Sure, I probably could have been a little bit more self-conscious about the extra 15 or 20 lbs in water weight I was carrying around, but I was tan so I thought I looked good! Plus, I'd grown up feeling comfortable so that when my lbs increased I didn't give a second thought to my insecurities increasing as well. Plus, there was nothing worse than a bad tan line from shorts, so you might as well just take them off.
In the summer of 2012 when the Olympics were held in London, I got so inspired and convinced that I could make the 2016 Olympics in Rio in swimming if I just trained really hard. So I obviously needed the essentials: goggles, swim cap, and a one-piece bathing suit. I hadn't worn a one-piece bathing suit since 1995 and getting one didn't seem like a big deal until I looked in the mirror and felt like a woman from the 1950s- it was so ironic and weird to see so much skin and so little skin, at the same time! But I stuck with it because the "real swimmers" at the pool wore one-pieces and I had to blend in during my trainings!
That one piece suit lasted me up until a couple of weeks ago when I was literally busting at the seams because of my growing baby bump! It was getting a little dicey and I was honestly afraid that the strap was going to snap and I'd be banned from the gym for indecency!!
So there I was, back at Sports Basement trying to find a suit that would last me the final months of pregnancy. I thought a two piece would be best since it would fit regardless of how big my belly grew. Trying on suits was the weirdest experience of my life. The entire time I couldn't help but stare at my bump that was hanging over the waistband of the red bottom. Who's body was I in? How does my body look so different clothed? I wasn't experiencing distress or frustration- just mere confusion and disbelief. The changes from pregnancy made my body unrecognizable and I kept thinking I feel like my theme song is "Bad Body Double" by Imogen Heap. I kept thinking, "there is just SO MUCH pale skin going on here!"
Again, I wasn't going to let anything (other than not wanting to ruin my blowout) keep me from swimming in the pool, so I purchased the two piece and committed to getting one step closer to Rio 2016!!!! (Quick side note: I'd be remiss to not mention that when I was paying for the items I thought I had grabbed a men's speedo on accident!!! For a split second I thought to myself, "yes, it did look a little bunchy there" but the cashier quickly assured me it was a women's suit bottom).
Going swimming for the first time in my pregnant body in my two piece suit was one of the MOST uncomfortable situations I've experienced. I felt like I was getting tricked or punished by karma for all of those years I paid no attention to my body in a bathing suit! Walking through the locker room and into the pool, I could feel EVERY SINGLE person staring at me and the bump. Women who are moms stare while reminiscing, women who have not been pregnant stare out of curiosity, children stare out of excitement, men stare out of confusion slash can't look away because it's really odd looking, and employees stare out of surprise because they didn't know I was 8 months pregnant.
For the first time in my life I felt like I couldn't get in the water fast enough!! Luckily, that first dip was enough for me to realize that the water is my happy place, I'm doing this for my beautiful baby girl and to ease my back pain, and Rio would be pretty amazing. Some people might say that I'm being selfish or vein and that there are many people who have trouble conceiving and I should get over myself. But I have to be clear- this isn't a vanity issue. It's more of a Lindsay Lohan "Freaky Friday" experience- I feel like I've woken up in someone else's body.
So, what does this all mean? It means that life isn't perfect but we can try. While I appreciate the kind words everyone says about my growing bump and how I'm glowing, I'm just glad they haven't seen me in a bathing suit! The thing that keeps me going is that I don't want my daughter to have a mother who is too afraid to feel uncomfortable, too self-conscious to live life, or too embarrassed to miss out on life's adventures.
I shared the 10 things I'll miss most about pregnancy here and all of those things are still true, but I cannot wait for the first time I take our baby girl swimming in the pool, helping her develop a healthy self-image, and watching her compete in the Summer 2032 Olympics!!!!!!!
You won't see me at Sports Basement getting another suit. I'm pretty sure the next bathing suit I buy will be for Coco.
Check back with me this summer after I've had the baby to see my thoughts on bathing suits! :)