I discovered last night that my belly now sticks out farther than my chest. Even in my chest's slightly enlarged state, even with a nicely padded bra on...the belly still extends farther. Obviously this is a good thing because it means the baby is growing and things are progressing nicely. It's just tough to think back to the good ol' days when my waist was small enough to make my chest look more impressive than it probably was :) I hope that someday it goes back to that. As it is I'm hearing two sides of the story. Many people are telling me that my body will snap right back into shape, mostly by virtue of it starting out in good shape and me continuing my workouts all through the pregnancy so far. However, you always hear people say that no matter how hard you work out afterward, your body will never be the same. I suppose the truth is somewhere in between...that with some work my body will get back to a good place, almost to the point where outsiders would hardly know I've had a baby, but that looking at it naked, I will know that it's not what it once was. The key is learning to live with that, and minimizing the impact of future pregnancies and the lack of exercise time that will come with having kids.
I've come to understand in the last few years that my perception of myself is different than what other people see. I think most people are probably like that. While I could always see a lot of flaws in my body, most people that saw me on a day-to-day basis didn't notice them. In clothes I looked fine...and out of them I probably did, too...but like most people, I tended to focus on what I'd like to see improved. However, I was probably happier with my body in the past 2-3 years than I even had been, so that was nice. I'm sure my post-pregnancy world will (eventually) be similar to how it was pre-pregnancy...in clothes I'll look fine, out of them I'll be eager to get back to the gym.
I will say that I'm still pretty happy with how I'm progressing so far, though. I've only gained about 15 pounds and I'm still not noticing any extra pudge in other parts of my body. Everything's still pretty solid and the belly area is pretty much the center of the action. Although, I suppose it would be tough to tell if other things have expanded because the proportions of my belly throw everything off, and I'm no longer wearing any non-spandex pre-pregnancy pants...so it's tough to actually judge. But nothing looks too out of whack, so that's good. At this point, I'll take it :)