Tiffany Lewis lives in Austin, Texas, where she grows green vegetables and happy boys.  She writes a weekly column for  And she’s nine months pregnant.

UPDATE: TIFFANY HAD HER BABY!  3/28 … a boy.  The whole family is delighted.

I have never been one of those people who worried about losing their figure as a mother, perhaps because I didn’t have much of one to begin with.

I’m on my fourth pregnancy, and am well resigned to the fact that I am shifting, like the earth’s tectonic plates. There are hills where there once were valleys, and valleys where there were hills. Things just won’t hang or sit the way they once did.

So that doesn’t bother me. And I have good pregnancies—no sciatic nerve pain or gestational diabetes. Beyond the overactive gag reflex and the occasional heartburn, (and being so short people ask me if I’m having TWINS when I’m only six months along), pregnancy is a good fit for me.

But there are times, in this long, nine-month process, that I dream of putting aside the belly, just for a moment. I want to hang it on a hook like Bob the Builder does with his toolbelt, for maybe 20 minutes. I’ll come right back and strap it on, I promise. Only there are things I want to do, and can’t. Here’s my running list:

1. Paint the baseboards of my dining room.
2. Scrub that nefarious region behind the toilet. (I have three boys—it’s like a live mine back there.)
3. Run races down the sidewalk with my children.
4. Take a three-mile jog through the nature preserve behind my house.
5. Do a handstand, then a cartwheel.
6. Jump on a trampoline and touch my toes.
7. Slip into that cute paisley skirt in my closet and twirl in front of the mirror.
8. Give my husband a real hug, not the half-sideways kind we resort to for this pregnancy thing.
9. Sleep on my back.

Nothing fancy, just a few pleasures I pine for as I lay on my side in bed at night, stuffed like manicotti among the pillows.

The only time I can suspend this weighty reality is during my weekly swims at the YMCA. Because of that instinctive gag reflex, I couldn’t swim for the first few months of pregnancy. Whenever I passed a floating hairball (and once, a small lizard carcass) I nearly lost my Cheerios right there in the lap lane. Then I splurged on a pair of dark blue goggles, took out my contacts, and I’ve been good ever since.

I swam a mile last week, trucking through the water like those mighty cruise ships we used to see off the coast of Miami Beach. With the aquacise ladies on one side of the pool and me on the other, we created a mighty wake back and forth that sloshed waves against the pool’s edges. I swam strong and sure for 45 minutes, suspended in the reality that I was light, airless. Then I went to pull myself out of the pool and my knees buckled under all that weight, wet and drippy. I was not Dara Torres, I was Moby Dick, washed ashore.

I am due any day. I am not, like some pregnant marvels, the type that tightens up again into a lithe beauty two weeks after labor. My whole body sags like poked bread dough left to rise and then sink. That too, I am okay with. I will swim, and bike and run, bend down a million times a day to retrieve Legos and Bionicles and change diapers. Every time I do, I will be grateful for the space missing around my middle, and marvel at love’s ability to expand for another child.