At 32 weeks in my pregnancy with my second child, my belly measured 39cm. Yes. That’s big.

My doctor ordered a growth scan that afternoon which revealed a perfectly healthy, albeit large, child. This didn’t come as any great surprise to my husband or me. Our first child weighed over 9lbs. Now, that was somewhat surprising since neither of us is a large person, but genetics are funny. My dad is 6’5’’. My mom was 5’2’’. I’m built like her but carry the genes to host babies the size of little giants. And I’m OK with that and all that comes with it. Because, while I only have one case study on which to base this, I seem to grow healthy babies. I worked in pediatric healthcare for nearly a decade, and I have seen enough to be grateful.

I’m now 35 weeks along, a little less than four weeks from a scheduled C-section (do you want a countdown in days or hours? I can give you that.) and, yes, I am uncomfortable.

I am carrying an extra 40 pounds, most of it in an organ that has grown to crowd out my stomach and my lungs.

The heartburn is so bad I can’t eat after 5 p.m. if I want to go to sleep before midnight, and when I do go to bed, I’m propped up by wedges and pillows for a few hours until I wake up with some shooting pain that forces me to wake my husband to help me sit up straight or roll to the other side for another couple hours of (restless) sleep. I run out of breath on phone calls, can’t chase (or really hold) my toddler and have to seriously consider whether I’m going to pick up that grape I just dropped on the floor.

And it’s all fine. Because pregnancy is finite. In less than a month our family will expand by one person. And while I cannot fathom loving another child as much as our daughter, I’m told I will.

While I can deal with the exhaustion, I have to admit, the constant questions and color commentary are wearing me down. I am amazed at the number of people—the vast majority women—who find it appropriate to remark, rather brazenly, on my size.

Yes, I’m huge. I get it. No, I’m not having twins. Yes, I’ve asked them to check again. Multiple times. They have. It’s one kid. God-willing, one healthy kid.

I laugh through these check-out line conversations to the best of my ability. I know people mean well. I do. I know you’re trying to make conversation. But can I suggest some new lines?

“Just a few more weeks to go? You’ve got this!”
“I hope it’s a smooth delivery!”
“Your family must be so excited.”
“Congratulations!”

Tell my daughter she’s going to be a great big sister or that she’s soon to meet her forever best friend. Or just don’t say anything. That’s OK, too.

Getting pregnant this second time around didn’t happen as quickly as the first. We are so excited for this baby. I’m grateful beyond measure.

But that doesn’t change the fact that these last weeks of pregnancy—for any woman—are hard.

They’re marked by self-consciousness, sleeplessness, and worry, which can render even the most grounded pregnant woman a little raw. One, “Atta girl!” can go a long way.

And hey, as you’re walking away, feel free to offer up a silent prayer for the massive pregnant lady.

She’ll take all the good vibes she can get.

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Abby Wuellner Samel

Wife and mom to one-soon-to-be-two, Abby lives in St. Louis, MO. When not growing babies, she loves to cook, enjoy a glass of wine and dream of the day she will once again be as organized as she was in her single days.