SHelahAs a kid I always wanted to be the center of attention. I was also a total exhibitionist. I remember...

As a kid I always wanted to be the center of attention. I was also a total exhibitionist. I remember my friend Lucy's slumber party the year we turned eight. She had her whole family over for cake and ice cream and something possessed me to take off all of my clothes and run naked through the party, surprising and probably horrifying the 30 or so people who were trying to enjoy dessert.

I always thought I'd be an actress when I grew up and when my grandma gently suggested that I might not be a celebrity I remember feeling incredulous that she could even imply that my name wouldn't be a household word.

In high school my favorite extracurricular activity was drama club, and I felt completely at home with the spotlight on me as I starred in several plays. I was really outgoing--the kind of girl who was always trying to drag the wallflowers from their safe niches on the edge of the dance floor into the center of the mosh pit.

I've mellowed a lot in the 11 years since I graduated from high school. While I'm still not too modest, you probably couldn't find me walking around naked unless you snuck into my house and surprised me. I've never (even in my "future star" days) been too interested in doing my hair or wearing makeup, and I dress pretty conservatively. I guess I've become the wallflower I was always trying to draw out in high school.

But there's something about being 35 weeks pregnant that puts women in the spotlight even if they feel reluctant about being there. The belly seems to work like the beam of a lighthouse--drawing everyone in to stare at the spectacle before their eyes.

I have mixed feelings about looking so ripe and attention-grabbing. On one hand, I love being pregnant, feeling good, and talking about the pregnancy and the baby. I love comparing notes with other pregnant moms. I love showing off the nursery and all of the cute things I've accumulated for the baby. I really love feeling him kick and wiggle and sharing those kicks with Eddie and the kids. I just wish I didn't look so ugly when so many people are paying attention to me.

I feel vain and horrible for admitting that I wish I didn't look ugly. Just two paragraphs ago I was saying that I wasn't into hair and makeup and clothes, but I think that I've always felt that way because I think I usually look pretty good without investing too much time in primping. Unfortunately, that's not how I feel right now. The last two times I was pregnant I convinced myself that the only place I was growing bigger was my belly and proudly wore non-maternity clothes in my eighth and ninth months.

I look back at pictures from those days and sure, I look happy, but I also look swollen and really fat in the face and the butt (oh, my poor butt got huge!). There are pictures from my first baby shower when I was pregnant with Bryce that I'd really like to burn. I feel like I've lost some of my innocence this time around.

I'm not disillusioning myself that I've gained 22 lbs. in my belly but no weight anywhere else. I'm sure my face is chubbier than it was eight months ago and I know for a fact that my butt is bigger! So this time around, my belly shots from late pregnancy are probably more tasteful--I'm wearing clothes that fit and flatter someone in their 30-somethingth week of pregnancy, but I probably don't look as unabashedly excited. My lack of excitement isn't related to the baby either, because I'm just as excited for a new baby as I ever was, but I'd just rather not have a camera stuck in my puffy face these days.

I don't know what's the most fun part of the pregnancy and postpartum period. I love having a newborn and getting to know the little person who has shared a body with me for the last nine months, but I also love the expectant feeling I feel right now. I'm one of those people for whom Christmas Eve and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season are almost as exciting as Christmas Day. I feel a little bit the same way about pregnancy--it's fun to be anticipating something so exciting and life-altering that's coming so soon!

Not much has happened with the pregnancy in the last week. After our scare last week I'm really glad to be here, growing a big, healthy baby. I have my 36-week appointment this Wednesday, and 36 weeks was the time when the doctor said she'd start to feel comfortable with induction if my blood pressure rises. I've been trying to do a few things to get my body ready (practicing relaxation, taking Evening Primrose Oil to soften the cervix) but I'm also mentally preparing myself for a long induction if we decide it needs to be done. I guess there's a chance, albeit a small one, that I could have my baby by this time next week!

Until next week (I think!),

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