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Pretty AND Pregnant -- Is There Such a Thing?

“Your daughter has a beautiful…mama.”

I was standing in line at the pharmacy, holding a squirming E and buying, among other things, diapers and infant pain reliever, when I heard this comment. I looked up and sure enough, the guy behind me in line--a youngish, not unattractive, not visibly insane guy--was raising an eyebrow and attempting to look soulfully into my eyes.

It took me a second to register, but yeah, it was true--he was hitting on me. Unshowered, toddler-bearing, pregnant, diaper-purchasing ME, clad in a white tank top I accidentally spilled coffee on this morning, flip flops, and the only pair of jeans I can still button.

OK, I blushed. Then I signed my credit card slip and got the heck of out there. Yikes. Talk about crazy.

Pregnancy has never felt beautiful to me. Especially in this in-between stage, when I don’t look like myself or fit into my normal clothes, but I have no cute baby bump to show off, either. Come to think of it, I never showed off my baby bump the first time around. I favored tent-like, camouflage-y styles over those super-tight tops that flaunted every curve. My swollen belly made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t like the extra attention, the unsolicited advice, or the wandering hands making their way toward body parts I’d prefer not to be touched by strangers.

Is there such a thing as a hot mama? Absolutely. Giant diaper bags and sweatpants have never been my thing. High fashion doesn’t come into play much anymore, but I don’t feel good about myself unless I’m at least a little bit put together. Staying in shape, eating healthy, cute clothes and a little makeup--it’s all part of my own interpretation of the “Mom” uniform. Not for anyone else’s sake but my own, of course, though I’d like to think J appreciates my efforts. Taking care of myself and looking attractive makes me feel confident, and that helps me be a happier and more productive person--and  therefore a better mom. Mommyhood can--and should--be sexy.  There’s a lot more to us than just having children, right?

But can pregnancy be beautiful? Can it be sexy? Should it be? Art and history teach us that pregnant women have been worshipped through the ages as symbols of beauty, of fertility, of desire. Yet being pregnant has me feeling my absolutely undesirable worst. What’s sexy about swollen ankles and needing to pee every 14 seconds? I escaped the fate of the giant unsexy diaper bag the first time around, but will being a mom of two force me into the realm of minivans and utility backpacks? Do I have to put away my high heels forever?

I’d like this pregnancy to be different. I see pregnant women on the street, in the grocery store, and in magazines looking confident and radiant and yes, sexy.  I’m not in the market for a new guy (I like my husband just fine, thank you) so getting hit on isn’t really my endgame. But it would be nice not to have to put feeling attractive on hold for the next six months just because I’m not comfortable in my mama-to-be skin.

How do you make yourself feel beautiful while your body is changing? Do you have tips and tricks for looking and feeling attractive?  Does your partner make you feel fabulous--or frumpy? I’m eager to hear your opinions on how to embrace those baby bumps and look your best, during pregnancy and beyond!

Visit Jenny's personal blog Karma, Continued.