Big Bare Beautiful Baby Belly

Kmom at The Well-Rounded Mama has proposed a blog carnival for documenting photographs of fat women pregnant, birthing, and parenting. She states:

It’s SO important that there be pregnancy and parenting images of women of size out there, showing that we do have babies, we do give birth, we do breastfeed, and we do parent.

As I’ve educated myself about birthing over the last few years, I’ve benefited from The Well-Rounded Mama site as a resource for information on the intersection of being fat and being pregnant. I agree with her that it’s valuable to see photos of people like yourself, and it can be really hard to find good photos of fat pregnant and birthing women. I love photos of myself and I love my pregnant body, so I wanted to participate in this carnival and in adding to the store of available images. All of the photos in this post were taken in the last couple of days, right at 33 weeks.

While I’ve spent a lot of my life really concerned about my size, unhappy with my body, and desperate to change it, over the last two or three years I’ve completely gotten over that. I’m really glad that I made that mental shift prior to getting pregnant. So many women, fat or otherwise, feel insecure about their growing pregnant bodies, and I’m glad that hasn’t been a factor for me. I did have a long period of time in the 2nd trimester where I was afraid I wasn’t getting big enough. I was having trouble eating enough calories with the carb restrictions, and I wasn’t gaining much weight. But, my fundal height is right on target, and I know I’m just the right size. I’m glad to have never worried about my body being too big. In fact, I can’t wait to see how big it gets! Honestly, I think my growing belly is so cool! I touch it and look at it all the time.

This photo’s a bit crooked, but here’s the view I get from above:

Here’s what I had to say about my belly at week 19:

I really like rubbing, playing with, measuring, and cradling my growing belly. While I touch my belly lovingly as if there were a treasured child in there, I don’t have a sense that there is. I’m not really interacting with a baby, because I have no connection to what’s going on in there as an actual baby. Maybe I will when I can feel movement, but so far, it doesn’t really feel like anything inside. And yet I’m paying all this attention to my belly. And I realized that what I was feeling and protecting and enjoying is actually just my belly, which is kind of cool. I’m loving and connecting with a body part of mine, with an aspect of myself, falling in love with myself, and that’s really special all on its own! I can’t wait to get bigger!

I’ve definitely had lots of other physical complaints (like reflux, OMG!), but being fat isn’t one of them. I have sought out the images and experiences of other fat women online, because it’s nice to compare notes from a similar starting place. For example, while the middle and top parts of my growing belly are very firm, all my squishiness has fallen down to the bottom of my belly. Joshua calls it my wattle, like the squishy-hangy bit under the chin of a chicken:

I found it enjoyable to find pictures of other women online (rare!) with the same drooping squishiness, although I haven’t yet run across anyone else who loves theirs.

Everyone says my boobs are bigger, too, but I don’t really notice. Seriously, they’re so big already that percentage-wise, they just don’t seem much bigger. I notice the huge areolae, though!

I’ve always loved my shape when I’m laying on my side. The feel of boob, waist, hips, butt, thighs is just such a nice curvy track, and now there’s a ginormous belly there, too, so I love to trace around the lines even more.

In any case, for all the complaining I’ve had this pregnancy (mostly in the 2nd trimester – the 3rd is going really well), the growing size of my body isn’t one of my complaints. It’s actually probably my favorite thing. I simply love my big beautiful baby belly!


  1. Wow, I love this update! You are looking fabulous, and it is great to hear that you know it and are enjoying it, too. Zyggy looked at your pictures with me and was transfixed, repeatedly asking to see more pictures of you and your baby. He was especially intrigued by your areolae, first asking, “What are those brown things?” and then following up with “but why are they brown, and so big?”

    I was similarly fascinated by the increasing bigness of my body when I was pregnant with him – it is incredible how far ones belly can stretch! Our bodies truly are amazing.

    Enjoy the spring, with your nearly complete influx of critters, along with the tail end of your pregnancy. Take care!

    • Aww, that’s super-sweet about Zyggy. I’m pretty intrigued by the areolae, too… I couldn’t answer his questions, though. Why are they so brown and so big? Lol!

      My spring is going awesomely. Hope yours is well, too! :-)

      • Write About Birth says:

        Were they always that brown, or did that happen during pregnancy? I’m pretty interested too, because mine look nothing like that. I do have a friend whose areolae look exactly like yours (when you’re all breastfeeding moms, you get to see everyone’s breasts!) but her breasts are half the size of yours, meaning they take up half of the breast!

        Sorry for the impertinent question/comment – it’s fascinating, though. Mine are almost white, and much, much smaller, though my breasts are probably the size of yours.

        • They were always big and brown, but they’ve gotten bigger and considerably darker with pregnancy. And I don’t think your question is impertinent. My boobs are in the post, so they’ve got to be on topic! :-)

      • So babies can find them! I’m sure there might be more science involved than that, but it’s always made sense to me. Newborns don’t have awesome vision and they need a big, obvious target ;)

      • I love this update alot :)

  2. Write About Birth says:

    You are beautiful!

  3. My favourite part was in the first photo, your dirty, hard-workin’ hands. That’s hot!

    • Haha. You can see where I’ve been biting the shit out of my thumbs. I’m like a cannibal.

      • Or you’ve been a hard-workin’ woman, out on your little slice of heaven homestead, cooking and plantin’ – don’t mess with my Laura Ingalls fantasies. ;)

        • That’s happening, too! These last few cold days have given me the opportunity to carry in loads of firewood with a big pregnant belly, which I really love the image of.

  4. Usually I comment on the content of your post… but I don’t think I say this often enough: I just love you guys so much. I love that you posted these pics and and that you are grinning from ear to ear in them. I love that you love yourself exactly as you are!

  5. charlee says:

    beautiful, just beuatiful! i can’t wait to meet ou! much love to you, momma issa. :-)

  6. I really appreciate your perspective of self-love. I’ve pretty much given up on the project of loving my body (it just feels too difficult to me) and have decided to focus my self-improvement efforts elsewhere in my being, but it’s heartening to know that there do exist beautiful women who acknowledge their own loveliness. I guess at this point it gives me hope to think that my daughters will run across pictures like these and feel encouraged by your radiant self-appreciation to love themselves.

    • Elena, I’m sad to read that you don’t think you can love your body, but I know it can be a really difficult thing to do in this culture. Honestly, I think that giving up can be a valuable tactic – sometimes the struggle doesn’t get anywhere but more struggle (and then feelings of failure) and giving up and just letting a problem be can make room for other things. Maybe you’ll come back to the idea of getting to love your body later, or maybe you won’t, but either way, I hope you find ways to be gentle to yourself along the way.

    • One thing that helped me was this… When I was a kid, my mother had varicose veins and fat thighs (unbeknownst to me) and always wore pants at the beach and would never go in the water. I remember begging her to go in the water when I was a kid, and she wouldn’t. She didn’t say then, but has since told me it was because she hated her legs and wouldn’t show them in public.

      I treat myself and my “imperfect” body the same way that little kid treated her mother… with UNCONDITIONAL love and a childlike wonder and begging that she jump in and enjoy life and NO ONE CARES about fat legs or varicose veins, and even if they do, that little kid doesn’t and she loves her mom (aka herself) exactly as she is, and wants to forge memories of us doing fun things and loving life and each other NO MATTER WHAT we look like.

      I always picture the little Jo looking up to the big Jo and loving her the way little Jo would have. Unconditionally.

  7. The first time I went to read this entry was at work so I had to close it and well, Google Reader marked your post as read and I forgot to come back when I was at home.

    Now that I remembered all I can really say is:

    You look amazingly hot pregnant.

  8. Wonderful pictures! I look forward to putting them in the Belly Blog Carnival, which should be up soon.

    Most women’s areolae get darker in pregnancy. Scientists think it’s to help babies see them better. It creates sort of a really obvious target for baby to aim for when searching for the breast shortly after birth. If left alone, many babies will do a sort of “crawl” to the breast to start nursing behaviors (licking and nuzzling, then actual nursing), and darkened areolae give them a “bulls-eye” to aim for on their search. (There’s an awesome video of this online if you can find it.)

    Supposedly babies mostly see in contrast at first, which is why a lot of baby toys feature black and white or contrasts of really strong colors. If this is true, it certainly makes sense that a dramatic darkening of the areolae might help baby find its source of food more easily, which is obviously a critical survival issue.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures! Look for the Belly Blog Carnival to go up sometime this week.

  9. Natalie says:

    You look beautiful!

  10. Natalie says:

    it’s your first?

  11. Victoria says:

    Wonderful pictures, Issa! I’m pregnant now also.

    • Victoria says:

      What do you think about waterbirth, Issa?

      • I’m not too keen on waterbirth. I don’t like the temperature difference when getting out of a body of water. I think it would be uncomfortable for me and I’d worry about the temperature of the baby. I’d also worry that I couldn’t monitor my bleeding/discharge if I were in the water, and I’d worry about the baby aspirating water. Plus, since no other human cultures nor any other primates or mammals in general give birth in the water, I can’t really come up with a reason to do it. I could see being in the bath or shower for relaxation and pain management in early labor, but when it comes to active labor, I don’t plan to be in the water.

  12. Beautiful. You are absolutely stunning, and so very hot.

  13. Like you, i spent a good portion of my younger days hating the fact that I was overweight. It wasnt until I met my now-husband that I realized it doesn’t matter what others thing of my weight, I love my body and so does he, that’s the key thing. That said, I’m currently in week 18 of my first pregnancy and I’ve been scouring the internet trying to get some sort of idea of what I may look like later on in the pregnancy, I’m 5’9 and started the pregnancy at a well-distributed 247lbs and am moved to ask, if you don’t mind, how curvy were you, pre-baby? If I have a belly like your own to look forward to, I can’t wait, it’s so adorable!

    • I’m 5’6″ and started pregnancy around 220 pounds. In these photos I was 33 weeks pregnant and around 245 pounds. I’ve also always been “well-distributed”. At the beginning of pregnancy, everything just got a big bigger – belly, boobs, etc. Eventually, though, the belly really started to pop out, which was really exciting. Good luck with your pregnancy!

  14. I, too, love big round belly! <3 I was a size 18-ish before pregnancy and didn't care much for my body without clothes on… but NOW… now I want my belly hanging out all the time!

  15. You are the goddess incarnate! Congratulations, mama.

  16. I just wanted to say that your pictures are beautiful, and that I”m so thankful to see/read about other curvy mamas (and to know the squishy-ness at the bottom of the belly in normal!! lol). Thank you for your confidence and courage, you are very inspiring!

    • Thanks, Kory. My confidence is a little shaky right now… my belly changed again after the birth, and it takes squishy to a whole new level! I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but the change was so sudden it’s taking me a bit! Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by. :-)

  17. Your pictures are so beautiful! It’s true, seeing pictures of other beautiful curvy women pregnant is really encouraging. I am not pregnant yet, but I’ve worried so much about the changes to my body. Your photos are so reassuring!

  18. Wow. How brave and beautiful are you? So inspiring in your fierce quest to radically be yourself. This makes me wish I had done some nude photos during my pregnancy. *Note to self for next time around.

    • I recommend naked pics to everyone. I did porn for a couple of years, and it was actually extremely helpful to my body acceptance. Looking at hundreds of naked pictures of myself really normalized my image in my mind. I really, really know what I look like, and I like it.

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