Serena Williams and Beyonce gloried in and showed off their pregnant bodies for all the world to see. Will you? With the summer here, bulky sweaters or jackets are impossible to bear, so pregnant women’s bodies are front and center. After a lifetime of pressure to be thin, the inevitable expanding pregnant body can be a challenge to accept, much less glory in for us mere mortals. There are some distinct plusses and minuses to a growing bump.

The first time I was pregnant it was difficult at first to accept the changes my body was growing through. I’ve been blessed with a curvy body that I appreciate, but those curves also came with a pouchy tummy that I’ve spent my entire adult life sucking in. I have to say that around the fifth month I was not happy. I had gained some weight but only ended up looking chubby, not pregnant. I did not feel pretty at all. But then by the late sixth month, my chub took the form of a very clear baby bump, and now I had a belly with a purpose.

My skin glowed and my hair became lustrous. I felt happy and beautiful and excited about what my changing body meant. And people became so nice! Strangers smiled at me, gave me the best seat, carried things for me, and generally approved of my expectant state. There was a great tribal protection that I felt embraced by.

But around my eight month, my belly apparently got too big for everyone’s comfort. I’m only 5’3”, and gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy, which is totally normal and healthy. But I must have looked like a humungous ball because many people seriously asked me, “are you having twins?” No, I was not having twins. “Oh” they would say, embarrassed. “The baby must be really healthy.” I felt good about my body, but it was hard to keep my confidence up in the face of such disbelief that I was SO HUGE.

What was comforting to me was that my husband was excited about my huge bump. We loved to just sit there and watch it like T.V. At times, you could actually see a foot or an elbow poking out. This was our baby in there and it was pretty amazing that it was living and growing in my belly.

It can be a challenge to feel good about an expanding body when thin is the only popular version of beauty. Try not to let others bring you down, and appreciate the amazing life-producing ability of your marvelous body. It really is a beautiful thing.