Body Image in Pregnancy

I wanted to talk a little bit about pregnancy body image. I know it’s a topic that’s been covered ad nauseum, but I’m in it, so I’m gonna talk about it.

To be perfectly honest, I was really scared that pregnancy would cause me to gain a ton of weight and feel really bad about myself. I already tend toward the negative self-image side of things, and worried that gaining pregnancy weight would make that worse. We all know women who had a tough time with what happened to their bodies while carrying their babies. And really, there’s very little one can do about the body changes that come along with pregnancy. Some women experience terrible morning sickness or aversions and aren’t able to maintain the healthy diets they had pre-pregnancy Some women just gain more weight than others regardless of what they’re eating or how they’re moving their bodies. And pretty much ALL women gain weight during pregnancy.

Mercifully, I have felt really, really good thus far. I’ve been gaining weight on the “ideal” timeline, and have received nothing but generous, lovely comments about how healthy I look and how well I’m carrying. While compliments are great and all (I sure do love hearing that I’m “all baby”), what matters is how I FEEL. And I actually feel great. I still get a little anxious every time I step on the scale at my prenatal appointments, especially as the number inches ever closer to that 200 pound mark, but on the whole, I’m coping really well.

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I don’t feel “fat.” I don’t feel scared that I’ll never get back to pre-baby weight or pre-baby body. I don’t worry that I won’t be able to lift as much or run as fast as I did before. I truly believe that getting into the best shape of my life with running and CrossFit before getting pregnant has helped me have a healthy weight gain and healthy pregnancy. Sure, I haven’t been as active as I’d imagined I would be (thank you ligament pain and light-headedness), but I’ve done my best. I’ve been eating decently and drinking a ton of water and I just feel a sort of supreme confidence that my body is doing what it needs to do right now, and I can worry about the after AFTER.

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Rocket isn’t a fan of the belly cause there’s less lap room for him.

Perhaps this confidence is simply ignorance, but I’m trying to take it for what it is right now. I have no idea what the postpartum period will hold in terms of body image, but I’m doing my best to place ZERO expectations on myself to “bounce back” on any particular timeline. Above all, I want the initial weeks after our baby is born to be ones focused on bonding as a family and allowing my body to heal, rather than time spent stressing about when I can get back to the gym and whether or not I’ll ever fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. Sure, I miss running and CrossFit, but I miss them because of how they make me feel, not because I’m anxious to lose weight, and I know they’ll always be there for me when I’m ready to come back.

Mamas out there, how did pregnancy make you feel about your body?

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3 thoughts on “Body Image in Pregnancy

  1. dgobs says:

    Yes! I don’t think it’s ignorance at all – I think you’re thinking smartly and fairly about it, which isn’t always easy to do. I was lucky in that I put on my pregnancy weight consistently in the target zones and was also told often that I was “all baby” – lucky in that I had no complications and that I felt okay with it all. A friend of mine suffered from almost debilitating body image issues during her pregnancy that caused her to lose weight, and that was a little scary. Our societal expectations for women’s bodies don’t make it easy, but I think as long as we’re comfortable with what our bodies are doing, and as long as this continues to be talked about, then maybe we can change those expectations. Maybe I just never paid attention before, but positive pregnancy and postpartum body image was never something I heard about, especially the postpartum bit. I was a little surprised at how long I still looked pregnant after I delivered, but that’s totally normal! Because I didn’t really know that was normal I had more body image issues postpartum (crazy hormones don’t help either) but reading parenting blogs/sites (Pregnant Chicken, Scary Mommy, Motherly, Romper, etc) helped me realize that almost everyone ends up in the same postpartum boat.

    And wow, I got a bit overboard with my rambling there 😣 All that to say, I think you’ve got a healthy outlook, and you’re looking amazing 🙂

    • Rae says:

      Thankfully, I’m fully aware that continuing to look pregnant for a while postpartum is totally normal. But what a bummer, right? Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get through it, and hopefully with minimal issues.

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