I wasn't one of those women who longed for children, or marriage for that matter.* 

So when we realized in early January of 2014 that I was pregnant (and had been for 4-6 weeks!) I felt lucky.

But I also didn't want to change my life that much. Nope. That bit, I knew, would come later. 

This is us last January in the Dominican. Charlotte is 4 months old here. 

This is us last January in the Dominican. Charlotte is 4 months old here. 

So Justin and I both lived in denial about what would happen to our lives in nine months' time. We did little planning and very little research for the arrival of our baby and instead tried to be newlyweds. 

Except that my hunger, fatigue and bathroom needs trumped EVERYthing else during our first year of our marriage! Justin was a trooper and I had a feeling that our little bundle would have a mind of her own. 

A couple of highlights from gestation:

1. I knew the baby was a girl. I called her Pom or Baby PomPom. Justin of course knew I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. Still, when we discussed names one evening, he suggested Charlotte and then added the Chloe. It was perfect and we never even had a boy option. 

2. Charlotte was super duper chill in utero.** She would move in the early morning or around 9 pm at night. Nothing during the day unless I started to meditate. Whenever I meditated she would dance around like crazy. I don't know if that's because she liked meditation or because she wanted to distract me. 

3. Everybody loved Charlotte. Wherever I went after I was visibly pregnant, strangers on the street and in stores and even in cars while I was waiting at a crosswalk would stop and talk to me or say hello or "God bless." Now, I'm a friendly person, but I had never experienced this level of attention. I chalked it up to being a pregnant lady who happens to be pretty tall. My tummy itself wasn't really big until the last month and even at 8 months I faked somebody out by wearing a loose dress so I don't think it was about being obviously preggo. 

Nope, this attention was entirely due to the little being growing inside. She continues to stop people in their tracks and is the most extroverted person I know. It takes us 20 minutes to walk down our block. I call Charlotte the Mayor of Bond Street. She is the embodiment of the Magnetism Factor. 

This is a few weeks before my due date. I would lie to the midwives about my weight at each appointment because I was so embarrassed. I also didn't feel like I was eating abnormally- just whenever I was hungry. Maybe a little more ice cream than usual. Anyway, dress by Balenciaga. Bag is vintage. 

This is a few weeks before my due date. I would lie to the midwives about my weight at each appointment because I was so embarrassed. I also didn't feel like I was eating abnormally- just whenever I was hungry. Maybe a little more ice cream than usual. Anyway, dress by Balenciaga. Bag is vintage. 

4. I was over 200 lbs right before I had Charlotte. When I went to the midwife for my regular checkups I'd just lie about my weight because I felt so bad for gaining 50+ lbs! Oops. I never did retain water or look like a balloon so I thought the weight was not really a big deal and assumed I would have a big baby. Except she was only 7 lbs! So once she was out I really couldn't blame her for it. 

As I write this I'm probably only 10-15 lbs away from pre-baby weight so I guess I'm not that far off. In any case, I think that the prego body is lovely but the post-baby body (for me) was tough to come to terms with. I felt flabby and goopy in places I had never felt that way before. 

My joints and structure felt weird from all the relaxin that loosened up ligaments. I lost strength in surprising places (abs-duh, glutes- huh?) and in general just didn't feel comfy in that body. 

One bout of food poisoning (thanks Dean and Deluca!), one stomach flu (thanks Charlotte), and a vacation climbing the Alps while carrying a baby have done wonders for my self-esteem though. 

While I can't get into my skinny jeans just yet, I'm starting to feel the strength come back and look forward to feeling more stability in my body in the coming year. 

I think I'm going to write another post about the last few weeks and her actual birth.

* At 30 I decided I was ok with being single and figured that I would go live in a villa in Italy and wear silky robes and have a long term relationship (or several over the decades) with a man (men) who didn't actually live in said villa. We might have a child but the child would be mine more than anything. True story.

**That is absolutely not the case now. Experienced mothers tell me that Charlotte is the busiest little baby and toddler they've ever encountered. Whew. 

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