Being pregnant is truly a blessing. As someone with a firm faith in God, I say those words with a conviction that goes far beyond a hashtag or flippant expression.

I am incredibly grateful that God gave me the opportunity to grow a child. I don’t think he blesses anyone else “less,” so to speak, but he definitely allows other women to go through challenges with childbearing that I have yet to face, while I’ve gone through challenges in other areas of life that perhaps they haven’t faced. Sometimes the word “blessing” feels awkward for me to use, because I don’t like any implication that God likes me more or that I did something at all to deserve this particular blessing. Nope. Still, I certainly have to admit and treat it as the gift it is.

While the gratitude and excitement and good-kind-of-nerves outweigh any of the obstacles that come with pregnancy, I must say– how has everyone else made this look so beautiful and easy?? I’ve had a healthy pregnancy so far, so the “hard parts” for me are not exactly a big deal, but if one more person asks why I’m not an Insta-mom blogger, I might lose it. Let me tell you why I’m not going to dress up in cute clothes and take light and airy pictures of me sporting my bump in various whimsical locations.

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*For the record, that’s totally fine for other moms to do. More power to you. I honestly wish that I somehow looked cute in overalls right now, but that’s just not a reality I’m living.*

I’m hoping that explaining to you all why I am not an Insta-mom will help those of you who make comparisons in your own life, or anyone who has unrealistic expectations of perfection for yourself if/when you reach the baby bump stage of life.

So. Reason #1 I’m not an Instagram mommy blogger: I have never liked pictures of me, myself, and I. I love taking pictures with other people, or perhaps in a funny moment, but I’ve always felt supremely embarrassed at the idea of trying to look cute in a picture where I am the only subject in front of the lens. I am a blogger, yes, but not a cool blogger. I can’t bring myself to care enough about my following to start posting cute, posed-pretending-to-be-unposed pictures of myself…hence why I realized that this blog is better off as hobby. (If my willingness to take such pictures someday changes, don’t hold it against me. I can only speak to how I feel about it right now.)

Thus, even if the rest of my issues spelled out below didn’t exist, I still wouldn’t be an Insta-mom-to-be because I wouldn’t enjoy the daily photo shoots in front of a tripod.

And yet, there is more behind my reasoning. Despite the fact that 90% of Insta moms and my personal friends somehow look magical during pregnancy, I don’t. I’m not fishing for compliments. Really. I’m a pretty realistic person, and the fact of the matter is that I’m just not a cute pregnant person. At the end of the day, that’s okay. That’s not what it’s about. However, when I hear my pregnant friend say that she still wears her normal gym shorts, but just low enough to accommodate her belly, I silently envision the pile of gym shorts in my closet that no longer provide enough fabric to contain even my right thigh…and it does not inspire me to share said thighs on Instagram.

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I am not fat-shaming myself, for the record. I simply feel comfortable at a certain [healthy] weight, and I’m allowed to like my reflection better– and more importantly, the healthiness I feel— at that size.

For those of you thinking, “Your body gains weight it needs during pregnancy!”, let me tell you– my body doesn’t need all the cheesy bread and pasta I devoured during my first trimester in order to curb the nausea, trust me. And it definitely doesn’t need the crap I’ve continued to eat in the second trimester out of bad habit. I have no problem gaining necessary weight for pregnancy. It’s the unnecessary pounds with which I’ve battled.

I’ll pull it together and get back to my normal, healthy little life, but I feel no need to try and pretend that I feel cute and carefree and bumpalicious as an Insta-mom when in fact, I don’t. I mean, why would I be interested in trying to take flattering photos of myself for social media if I’m not really jazzed about what I look like in real life? That would be fake. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s fake. Pretty sure everyone in my life can attest to that, even when they’ve wanted me to make their lives easier by being slightly more fake in certain situations. Sorry folks, can’t do it.

In that same realm, let me mention that I absolutely refuse to post post-partum pictures citing my weight loss once this is all said and done. I appreciate the women who are proud of themselves for dropping weight quickly, or who believe their fitness is inspiring, but I come from the perspective that it feeds a culture of comparison and inferiority, and I will not add any fuel to that fire.

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Other not-Insta-worthy preggo realness: Did you know that pregnancy can cause you to get rosacea? Fun fact: It can! Meanwhile, I can’t wear contacts for a while because I’ve never switched them out in time over the last 20 years, so I’ve scratched my corneas and Doc says I’m stuck wearing glasses for the foreseeable future. (Pun not intended, but glad it happened.) Oh! And your gums can get super red and sensitive, your boobs begin to look like literal cow utters, and hormones decide your back could use a few pimples for good measure.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t have time to try and make all of that worthy of an appealing picture. I’ve been lucky in life to always have a pretty laid back regimen to look decent, and– perhaps I’ve been spoiled, but I won’t up my morning routine just for the sake of trying to be cute enough for a photo. I’d rather enjoy my mornings walking my dog sans-makeup, sans-camera, and sans-filter. That’s far more pleasant than concerning myself with applying extra foundation to blend my reddened cheeks.

I do take little boomerangs when I’m walking, though, because I think they look hilarious. (Idea stolen from another pregnant friend of mine.)

boomerang Wahhh I can’t figure out how to embed it, so you’ll have to click the link.

So we’ve covered the sheer visual aspect of why I’m not an Insta-mom. Then there’s the mental/emotional side of things. You see, when you’re not a cute pregnant person, the mirror is only the first hurdle. People tell you that it’s normal to not be able to stand up easily because of your tummy, but then you wonder if it’d be easier if you hadn’t gained too much weight. People say it’s normal to lack energy to be super social, but you question if your reclusive inclination is correlated with your confidence. (I’ve always been a recluse, but I’ve been extra hermit-y these last few months.) People say that the baby’s health is all that matters, but you wait anxiously before each appointment with fear and guilt that something might be wrong because you don’t look as healthy as the cute bumpers.

It’s a lot. Too much for Instagram.

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All of that, in a nutshell, is why I’m not an Instagram mom. I am SO happy to be pregnant– despite the insecurities, despite the physical discomfort, and despite the worries. It’s so fun to be full of love for another little being that hangs out with you 24/7, to feel a new kind of closeness with my spouse, and to know that we’ll have the honor of raising a little piece of us. I really do love it! But as with most things in life, sometimes there are layers and complications that don’t fit into one perfect frame.

I do want to say thank you to all of you who bugged me to finally post a bump picture, and the ones who see me in person and say I’m “glowing.” The fact that you all want to see my journey just reminds me that we live in a world where– despite what the news tells us– most people are selfless and good and able to rejoice in other people’s exciting experiences. I feel really lucky to have so much love in my life from family, friends, acquaintances, and blog strangers! I do hope you can be patient with me for not sharing lots of photos, and trust that my intention is to not perpetuate social media fakeness, and also to enjoy this time without pressuring myself to look a certain way.

That said, here’s the rare picture I snapped the other day! These won’t happen often, but I wish I had a picture of my mom when she was pregnant, so I’m trying to be cool with putting something online at least once in a while! And I *think* I’ve finally decided that I’ll do an official maternity shoot, as well, when Aaron gets back. Since they’ll pop up once in a while, I hope the sporadic pictures of this little boy bump make you smile!

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Real talk: I took 7 pictures before deciding that this one was alright. Also, had to do this in my guest bedroom because my master bedroom is full of socks and underwear strewn about by my puppy because I didn’t put away the clothes in the laundry basket before she got to them. Now that I think about it, if I ever end up doing cute photos for a blog in the future, I think all of my captions will just unveil the ridiculous backstories of what it took to make the photo happen.