As with most expecting first-time moms, I’ve read a lot of books or articles online focused on pregnancy, child birth, and becoming a parent. I get daily and weekly updates delivered to my email about what’s going on with baby and mother during this time, and these notifications are often times filled with tips to help make this time in your life a bit easier (I actually didn’t sign up for that stuff until I was 20 weeks due to my fear of loss). A few weeks ago, there was a segment on body image during pregnancy and how it can often times be a difficult time for women. This surprised me and got me thinking about my own current body image.
Now, before I talk about how I feel, I want it known that I completely understand why it could be a hard time for females. Our bodies are completely changing and weird things are happening, the scale is going up, we’re tired, don’t feel like ourselves, and can’t work out like we used to. However, I absolutely love my pregnant body. Seeing growth each week makes me happy beyond words. Yes, I’m one of those annoying women.
Despite living in constant fear, battling all day sickness until 5.5 months, and dealing with the cervical length scare, I think I’ve had an uncomplicated pregnancy which probably contributes to how I feel about my body. I’m no dummy though. Some women may be thinking that it’s easy for me to feel this way because of the way my body looked pre-pregnancy. That may contribute to it as I was not carrying around extra weight, but what most people probably don’t know is that I’ve struggled with body image issues for years, and most of the time is was subconsciously. I didn’t realize my disordered eating and over exercising were issues because it was never about the number on the scale- it was about having control over a piece of my life. Therapy will teach you quite a few valuable things along the way 😉
Now, I’m not going to get into my history because this is about how I feel now, but when I think about the past fifteen years of my life, I’ve come a long way the past year and a half. After we lost our first and we started having trouble conceiving, I knew I needed to stop exercising as much and put on some weight. I’ve discussed this in previous blog posts which can be found under the miscarriage/infertility tab on my homepage. To summarize- it was mentally challenging to slow down on the exercise, and at first I wouldn’t accept that this could be a culprit because many women conceive while going about their normal fitness routine or even in the midst of training for marathons. But one day it hit me that I’m not most women- my body was in stress mode and I needed to gain about ten pounds (my lowest body weight ever was scary, and I had no idea until I had to step on the scale at the doctor’s appointment). Despite gaining the ten pounds and refraining from all intense interval training and long runs, I still wasn’t ovulating on my own which was super discouraging and I’d sometimes wonder what the fucking point was. I was upset with my body for not doing what it’s supposed to do. I truly think that all of the shit that happened pre-pregnancy has helped given me a great body image and self confidence during this pregnancy.
Don’t get me wrong- I have moments when I look at my arms or thighs and see that they’re not as defined, or my legs or feet or face swell and it’s not pretty, or wonder if my husband really does still think I’m sexy. However, I have a baby inside of me. A fucking baby. The baby I hoped and prayed for and dreamed of for two years, every single day. And although I ate whatever I could tolerate the first 22 weeks or so, now that I don’t have as many bouts of nausea (ironically, as I’m writing this post, I feel super sick), I want to nourish our baby with healthy, wholesome foods. Yes, I ate a small blizzard last night, but I even it out with nutritious meals and snacks as I know she eats what I eat. I’ll be sharing a blog post soon about foods that were great for me the past couple of months!
Also, I’m way out of shape, but going on walks and bike rides and just getting outside can make a huge difference. I’ve mentioned in my pregnancy updates that I do light weights and certain exercises (I don’t know the names of them but my doctor showed me and there are YouTube videos for exercise during pregnancy) to help my core which will hopefully help during birth. I know I’ll get back into shape (but not get to such an unhealthy body weight again!) after she’s born when I’m given the go ahead to start working out again, and I’m embracing my new body.
Though I’m still worried, am praying for the rest of the pregnancy and labor and delivery to go well, and just want a healthy baby in my arms, I’m so incredibly content right now. Feeling her kick and play inside of me literally still stops me in my in tracks, and I place my hand on my belly and smile. THAT makes it all worth it- the weight gain, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, bleeding gums, monstrous leaky boobs, fatigue, food aversions- everything.
I’m so glad that I started documenting my belly growth, although I wish I would’ve started around 10 weeks instead of 12. I got the idea from a blog, Simply Summer Ann, but her photos are way better, haha. Nonetheless, it’s a cute way to track the pregnancy and see the changes in a sexy, yet classy way rather than just regular bump pictures in normal clothes.
Pregnancy is a miraculous thing and I’m not ashamed to embrace it. I may be one of those annoying women that blasts pics on Facebook and Instagram, but I’ve shared our struggles and bad times, so I simply just want to share the good. I will NOT be posting pics of the baby all the time though, and I’m really not sure if I’ll continue on with the blog. We shall see. I’m wanting to start a second Instagram account strictly for baby bump and baby pics, but for some reason I can’t add an account on my iPhone6 which is super annoying. I want the accounts linked to to the same email to make switching over easier, so if anyone knows why the iPhone isn’t able to utilize this feature yet, please let me know! I about whipped my phone across the room last night 😉 Just kidding!
How do you feel about body image and pregnancy?
Did you have a different experience than me?