One day I met a pregnant lady in my mirror. She appeared there suddenly, after two positive lines indicated a big change was coming. Her eyes sparkled with joy—she’d dreamed of this for a long time.
In the next few weeks, she pivoted proudly to see her happy secret sprouting. Seemingly overnight, she’d popped. Somewhere between weeks 12 and 13, others started noticing too. With a family reunion coming up, she planned a creative way to announce news that begged to be shared.
At week 14, I noticed her outfits getting progressively tighter—it was time to go shopping. Soon she looked back at me in her first maternity clothes. She loved how her new striped shirts made her tummy take the starring role, front and center. She didn’t realize how often before she’d subconsciously sucked in her gut, and this motherly style suited her. I thought she’d never looked better.
Pregnancy still treated her kindly at week 16. I saw her color-dusted hair and sweaty face after the Color Run 5K race. She was proud of herself for running the whole way with her husband, albeit slower than usual and a mid-race potty break.
When she found out the baby’s gender at week 21, happy tears stained her cheeks. A girl! I saw the love radiating from her very being. The lady in my mirror gave her rounded belly gentle caresses, telling her daughter she loved her.
At week 25, she showed up in a Vegas hotel mirror, dressed in business attire for a work conference. Week 27 brought us face to face at Chicago’s celebrated mirrored statue, “The Bean,” where she was on a final pre-baby getaway weekend with her husband.
I saw the alarm in her eyes at week 31. Past midnight, she’d come to the hospital, concerned her water had broken. Would her baby be premature? Would she spend the next months on bed rest? Thankfully, it was a false alarm. The next day, despite little rest, her smile lit up to see her dear friends at her baby shower.
Tired rings encircled her eyes at week 34. At that point, I began seeing her more and more often in our nightly bathroom rendezvous. This became a common scene in the day too: At her job, the ratio of desk-work to visiting-the-loo shifted noticeably.
Although I’d seen her diligently apply vitamin E lotions and oils, I noticed her mama battle scars appear at week 36. Purple marks on her hips matched the thin purple line creeping up her stretched stomach.
Could her belly really get any bigger?
Yes, it could.
And it did.
At week 37, I saw exhaustion and worry in her eyes, knowing her baby was still breech. And while the attention had been fun, now she’d get irritated by the dozens of daily comments about her body. An observant gal asked, “You haven’t had your baby yet?” Really…did it look like it?
Now at week 39, she’s earned full-term status. I see her ripe belly hanging low, ready to deliver precious cargo. Her sausage fingers go numb at night, and it’s difficult for her to sit, stand, sleep, bend, or walk.
Getting out of bed is something of an Olympic event that leaves her huffing and puffing. She spots her third-ever gray hair, and promptly pulls it out. With parenthood on the horizon, more will be coming.
We’ve gotten to know each other, the pregnant lady in my mirror and me. I’ve watched this mother-in-the-making prepare to welcome her daughter. Her belly and boobs have grown. Her patience has been tested. Her heart’s been expanded.
Sometime in the next week, she will disappear as quickly as she came and part of me will miss her. But mostly, it’s time to see her go.
After all, a mother holding a new baby will soon be in her place.