Learning to Love My Pregnancy Body

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

When you’re pregnant, there’s an unspoken rule that you’re supposed to revel in the miracle of growing another human — that the body is capable of this amazing feat and was built to do it. And it’s true, the body is absolutely amazing. It’s amazing that a woman can physically grow and nourish a human life. That we were built to do this by design.

But there’s another side of that beauty. The part where all that growing and nourishing and changing is happening not just inside you, but to you. The physical (not to mention emotional and hormonal) changes a woman goes through when she’s pregnant are astronomical.

For some, those changes are welcomed and easy to deal with.

For others, it’s a struggle. Like you’re back in your awkward prepubescent teenage years where your body doesn’t know what to do with itself, and you have no idea how to handle it.

I was one of those annoying women the first time around. The kind who thought being able to grow a baby was such a gift and so scientifically cool (nerd alert) and no matter what changes my body went through, I embraced it and loved it. I was also one of those women who didn’t show for much of the first half of pregnancy, didn’t need maternity jeans until nearly the end, and for the most part, only grew in my belly. When I think about it that way, it was easy to see why I could embrace the changes in my body — there wasn’t a lot to be uncomfortable with.

This second time around, however, has been a different story. I was showing and bloated and swollen from practically before the first positive pregnancy test. I’m a walking cliché of second pregnancies, with everything happening faster and earlier than the first time. I’d barely had a minute to wrap my head around the idea that I was really truly pregnant again when I started casting aside everything in my closet that didn’t have an elastic waistband. Even my baggiest of clothes were betraying me.

When I first found out, summer was just around the corner and for the first time in my life, I actually dreaded not only the thought of wearing a bathing suit, but a beach trip at all. I didn’t want to show any part of my body, let alone my already swelling belly. I wanted to hide in baggy shirts under blankets for the rest of eternity.

I wasn’t ready to let the world know I was pregnant, yet there my body was, trying to scream it from the rooftops right from the get go.

But luckily, an early summer beach trip came in handy. I realized that I could attempt to hide and in the process, ruin my fun, or I could embrace it and at least pretend I was cool with every new curve and lump that was showing up in my places I wasn’t expecting on a daily basis.

I knew if any of my friends had come to me with such a worry, I would have honestly told them that nobody cares what they look like. And it’s true: most people care more about what they look like themselves than what somebody else looks like.

My friends don’t know every curve of my body, every swell, every fit of clothing I own. The chances they’d notice — let alone care — were practically non-existent. I’d tell a friend with the same down-in-the-dump body image issues to rock it — put on that bikini and say you’re a woman with the ability to grow life, who cares what you look like.

It’s The Golden Rule of life, so why shouldn’t it apply to pregnancy body image, too? View yourself like you would view others.

So that’s what I decided to do. I decided to pretend I was my own friend and take my own advice. It doesn’t mean I was comfortable all the time, but I didn’t hide. I didn’t feel ashamed, and I stopped worrying. I headed to Target and bought a bikini in incrementally bigger sizes to last me through the summer. I grabbed bigger clothing before I was ready for real maternity wear and broke out my old maternity stash without any shame.

Now I’m more than seven months pregnant, and quite appropriately bigger than I was when I was having all these irrational body image difficulties. But because I decided I wouldn’t let it get to me, I feel completely comfortable in my (ever-growing) pregnancy skin.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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