Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Body issues and pregnancy
I've written before about my previous struggles with body issues, and I thought it was important to make a post here about my current thoughts on this topic while pregnant. I've gotten a lot of formspring questions and emails about it as well, so I thought it was good to finally discuss it. It's a touchy area to write about- it's actually quite scary for me to get this all out, because I know that it's easy to judge something you may not understand. It's also an issue that not many people may think about, or discuss during pregnancy, but for my friends and me, it's definitely been a topic of conversation.
Being pregnant is an amazing, amazing time. I love having this little darling baby inside of me, growing every single day. I luckily haven't had to deal with any sickness, and it's been pretty smooth sailing for me through the past four and a half months. My struggle in the beginning was more on the emotional side of things, and at the current place I'm in- not quite looking pregnant but not quite looking like myself- it's at time a little hard for me to accept this change. Luckily my emotions have totally evened out and I've been feeling good for the past couple of months, but occasionally negative feelings do come to the surface. know that we are very lucky to be pregnant, and to have an apparently healthy pregnancy thus far. And I love this. I love it so much, and body image/issues has nothing to do with my darling little one or my very anticipated baby bump.
Having suffered from body image issues in college, I know what it's like to have unhealthy thoughts and feel bad about yourself. In the past few years I've completely gotten over it, but even though I am 110% healthy now, thoughts always linger. It's weird being at a place where I'm not working out to stay at my weight or to stay in shape, I'm not trying to get bathing suit ready for summer...I'm trying to sustain this beautiful life inside of me. Exercise has a different meaning. And with that comes less working out, less intensity, and more emphasis on letting my body do its thing naturally. I know my body is redistributing weight, and on my best days, this is okay. Heck, even on my so-so days this is more than alright. But it's those days that creep up on everyone, the days when you just don't feel your best, is when I start to have those negative thoughts in my mind. It can be hard for me, as I typically feel awesome about my body and self. Not only is it a bummer for me to deal with these thoughts, I almost get down on myself for having them! I'm pregnant! Why on earth should I care that my face is rounder or my waist is widening during this special time?
And that is where my struggle lies. Because I'm so adamant about being honest and truthful here, and because I'm sure other women have gone through this, I had to share. I do realize that I just made a post about self-acceptance, and I have been taking my own advice...I just find it a little harder to do while pregnant. And I think that's okay. Like I said in my self-acceptance post, I feel great almost all the time...but now, when I do have the occasional down day, it's magnified. Be it my pregnancy hormones, or just the fact that this time it isn't in my head, I am in fact getting bigger, it's rough. It's very back and forth. Some days I embrace it, I know how beautiful these changes are. On those other rare days it's a bit harder for me.
I wanted to write this so other pregnant women out there know that it's OKAY to not feel super ecstatic all of the time about all of these bodily changes. It seems almost a given that you wouldn't! It's hard. I'm lucky to have a very great support system of my Mom, Autumn, and my dear friends Erin and Emily who are Moms, or in Erin's case, are pregnant right along with me. My Mommy friends were always in fantastic shape before the baby, and made working out a large priority. Now, they are back in great shape and dealt with similar thoughts while getting used to their ever-changing bodies during pregnancy. It's so amazing to be able to talk openly about such a taboo subject with them (believe me, most people do NOT want to hear "I feel SO fat" from a pregnant woman), and have so many shared experiences to draw from.
So that's where I ask you mamas out there, did you ever have any body issues while pregnant? How did you handle them?
I feel my BEST when I'm eating super healthy and working out, pregnant or not, so I obviously have continued to do so. I've found that I've been feeling a lot better lately when I get my regular workouts in (lower-intensity of course) and incorporate some pregnancy-friendly relaxation things like yoga in there. When I feel like I'm doing my best to be healthy for the baby I'm the happiest, and on those rare days I feel off, it's easier to come back to reality. My worst was probably in the beginning. It was a mix of new hormones, a rush of all sorts of things going on in my body, and I just felt totally out of whack. Lately I've been feeling great. I'm embracing that my body is changing, and I'm excited to have a big belly and actually look pregnant. I'm in a good place. :)
I love open, honest dialogue and it's nice to have a place like this where I can share my feelings openly. Thanks again for reading and I look forward to reading what you have to say! xoxo