It surprised me to discover that for the first several months of pregnancy my stomach didn’t get much bigger. At first my pregnant belly didn’t look that much different.

What I did notice was that it was more sensitive. When I’m not pregnant, I zip up my jeans tight. I’m used to the waistband fitting snug on my middle. When I was first pregnant, I couldn’t tolerate that pressure. They pants fit the same, but I undid the button and wore long shirts to cover that it was open.

Give your pregnant belly and that first button a break.

That’s how I handled it. So I didn’t notice so much as my pregnant belly got bigger, until I realized this unbutton strategy didn’t work. I had to choose different close altogether.

So there were loose dresses. And elastic waistbands.

There is kind of an obsession with a pregnant belly for some people. They want to see other people’s belly. They want to see celebrities’ pregnant bellies. It is a specific state of being for a woman.

One of the things about a pregnant belly is that it’s different than fat on your stomach. Having been both pregnant and fat, I know that fat will squish and move around.

That’s how Spanx works, you know? Squishing the fat on our bodies to a different shape.

But a pregnant belly doesn’t squish. It’s solid. I mean, the uterus is a muscle that is holding and protecting the baby in a woman’s belly. It’s hard. Like a strong muscle.

Big belly means a baby.

After my daughter was older, we had a stubborn debate about whether all women with big bellies were pregnant. She was still in preschool and didn’t understand that it was not nice to ask a woman who had a large belly if she were pregnant.

“Mommy, look? See? She has a big stomach. That means a baby.”

Not all the time.

As adults, we can tell. And we can also know when to keep our mouths shut and not speculate out loud about a woman’s state. She’ll let us know when it’s important for us to know.

But pregnant bellies get bigger, and they start to change. They get rounder, and sit on your body in different ways.

Do baby boys and baby girls sit in the belly differently?

I have heard that baby boys sit differently on a pregnant woman’s body than baby girls. Bellies holding a baby boy are kind of more forward.

This kind of old wives’ tale was more important before ultrasounds were invented, before we could peek. I don’t know if it’s true. But I swear I’ve noticed a difference and have been right more often than not.

Pregnant bellies get bigger and bigger until the belly button stretches and turns inside out. Some women start to get a dark line from the bottom of their belly button down into their pubic area. Hormones are very active at this time.

I found that my taut pregnant belly looked totally smooth, until the baby came out. Then POW. I had a map of purple stretch marks.

My skin is prone to stretch marks. Some people’s skin is better at stretching. After some time, maybe a year, the stretch marks weren’t purple anymore and became pale. Like a scar.

My body went through a lot to make a baby.

A lot of people have fun with their pregnant belly. There are silly t-shirts, and sometimes people do body art. Many women take pregnancy boudoir photo shoots. Do what feels good to you! It’s fantastic to honor your body and enjoy it.