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Pregnancy Is So Unsexy!

Photograph by Getty Images

My husband informed me the other day he had washed a load of our 4-year-old son's laundry, as well as one pair of my underwear.

"Why the underwear?"

"I thought they were his shorts."

I bought my first granny panties after my C-section, having read it was better to wear underwear that went above the incision. After four days of wearing hospital-provided disposable mesh panties, the three packs of massively oversized underwear were a treat in those first weeks. (Even the weird pastel ones with blue flowers.) As the scar healed, the parachute-like undies eventually made their way to the back of my drawer.

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Then I got pregnant again and my butt somehow expanded in perfect synchronicity my belly. I've always had something of a pear-shaped mom bod, but this began taking me dangerously into Weeble wobble territory.

My little bikini briefs—even the adorable ones with the Batgirl motif—began creating permawedgies from hell. Just like I refuse to deal with bunchy socks, I reasoned that life is too short to walk around constantly picking underwear out of my butt.

I'm a 30-something lady wearing granny panties, and that's just the beginning of my very unsexy pregnancy.

One woman to glance at my cankles in a sundress and gasp, "Oh sweetie, you need to elevate those legs."

Everyone talks about the glow that comes with pregnancy, the lustrous hair and fuller lips—the sereneness that accompanies the knowledge that we're nurturing life in our ripening bellies.

What they don't realize is that I'm not so much striding with confidence over my Mother Earth status but waddling from pain. The hormone that loosens joints to prepare my body for childbirth, literally called "relaxin," also causes pelvic aches that I can only imagine are akin to being kicked in the vagina by a horse.

Unless I wear shoes that are one step away from orthopedics, I develop sciatic pain that shoots down my right butt cheek and turns the simplest task into series of groans and grunts.

To alleviate the aches, I took up swimming and, when parading around in my stretched-out swimsuit and newly purchased goggles, my husband mumbled something about the Minions under his breath.

My current preference for stretchy pants and long dresses isn't just due to my expanding mid-section. It's the fact that my predisposition toward thick legs (remember, mom bod) led one woman to glance at my cankles in a sundress and gasp, "Oh sweetie, you need to elevate those legs."

Getting pregnant was a long, emotionally charged process of IVF and I'm forever grateful that it worked and that I have a healthy baby inside of me; I treasure my existing scar and spider veins as trophies of my happy son who can't wait to meet his little sister.

But as a woman who took decades to emerge (mostly) unscathed from of disordered eating and body issues, pregnancy has a way of upending all of my hard-earned self-confidence.

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Ironically, I reached my healthiest point in the year before getting pregnant (thanks to the MyFitnessPal app), so I was happily strutting around in slinky pants and being told I looked "skinny" for the first time in my life. Those 17 pounds I fought so hard to lose jumped right back just minutes after the embryo implanted.

Which is why it stings a little extra hard when I notice not one, but three new chin hairs that definitely weren't there yesterday, but somehow each grew an inch overnight. And it's why, when someone says, "Enjoy these days because you'll miss them when they're over," I just pop another antacid, tell the little creature in my belly she's doing just fine and allow myself another brownie. After all, these days will be over soon.

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