Loving Your Bump: Overcoming A Negative Body Image While Pregnant

While creating life is a beautiful and amazing thing, the combination of weight gain and hormones can really make it hard to have a positive outlook on your body. I don’t know about you, but gaining a belly and having everyone point it out to me really took a tole on my confidence. Here are a few things that helped me battle my loss of self-esteem and let me love my body, even though it was constantly changing.

 

Eating Healthy
I fall back on this policy time and time again, but it’s so true. When you eat well you feel well. And it’s hard to be down on yourself when you feel well. As a pregnant person it’s easy to look at a tray of cupcakes and say, “Well! I’m eating for two.” But the truth is your baby child only requires that you eat an extra 300 calories a day (and that’s to get in the crazy amount of nutrients that you need). I won’t say that I’m perfect at this, but when I’m eating right I feel so much better and it’s harder for me to have negative thoughts about my body.

Dress and Appearance
Gosh, this was so tough for me. It’s amazing how fast your self-esteem drops in the fifteen minutes it takes to dig through your closet to find something to wear. Once I reached 24 weeks it seemed that an outfit would work for a few days and then I was too big for it. I fought this for a long time because maternity clothes are so expensive and it’s both frustrating and disheartening to have to purchase new and bigger clothes so often. But I realized that the way I dressed played a lot into my self-esteem. So I eventually broke down and gave into the demands of my body for bigger clothes. Doing so helped me to feel more confident about the way I looked and helped me to stay positive about my body image.

Exercising
Ugh, this one is so much harder than you want it to be, especially when your stomach is the size of a soccer ball. But trust me when I tell you it’s worth it. When you’re creating a baby your body is doing an amazing thing, but it can be hard to see the immediate results of that (because the baby is still not here and you just feel chubby). Exercising allows you to gain an appreciation for what your body can do in more immediate terms. Like running a mile. That’s so amazing that your pregnant body can do that! Or lifting weights or swimming or yoga. Exercising really helps boost your self-esteem and appreciation for your body. It allows you to focus on what your body can do rather than the way it looks.

Sleep
Apparently creating life is a very exhausting thing to do. Pregnancy really drains you of your energy and it can be frustrating that your body can’t do everything you want it to. I suggest power naps and getting to bed at a decent time. Now, I say power naps because it’s very tempting to sleep for four hours in the middle of the day. But take a quick snoozer to give yourself a little boost and then get back to business.

 

Overcoming insecurities and a negative body image is a daily thing for me. I constantly worry that people are judging me as harshly as I’m judging myself. Over the past few months I have struggled talking about my new body insecurities. The usual responses I get are “Well you’re pregnant, you’re allowed to be fat” or “You’re creating life, you shouldn’t feel insecure about your body.”

Unfortunately, insecurities about my weight and my body littered my preteen and teenage years. Once in college I had finally reached a point where body positivity had come to fruition and I rarely thought about them. But then I got pregnant. Mastering these things in college- eating healthy, dressing well, exercising, and sleeping – helped me overcome my negative body image in the first place. Now that I am pregnant I’ve realized that I need to put in more of an effort to execute them.

If you are battling body negativity I hope these tips provide some help. I want you to know that you’re not alone when dealing with these feelings. I should also note that I couldn’t have made it this far without my husband. He’s great at being supportive and reminding me that I am pregnant, not fat. Another thing that also helps me feel better is the fact that a little bundle of joy is coming soon. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m uncomfortable with my new body, but it does make gloomy days brighter.

 

How have you overcome the challenges that come with being pregnant? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

Read our story of announcing our pregnancy.

Read my story of how I met my husband.

Bump, Bump fashion, Maternity, Maternity Fashion, Maternity photo, baby shoes, pregnant, pregnancy
Here are some photos from my maternity photo shoot <3
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Our little girl is due August 2016!
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Lovin’ this bump.
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We just love her so much already
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Here’s a close up of the bump
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This necklace is from my sister. It even says ‘Mom’ in it!

 

The Announcement

I hadn’t been feeling well for the last few weeks and Alexis had noticed. He kept urging me to take a pregnancy test. I was planning on taking one eventually, but his family had been staying with us and if I was pregnant, I wanted time to process everything before we told anyone else. So I kept putting it off and changing the subject.

It was a new semester and the add/drop deadline had passed (up until this deadline you could change your school schedule and classes around). I had just been accepted into my highly competitive major and was finally able to start taking the required courses. The morning after the add/drop deadline had passed I threw up. I never throw up. My body simply doesn’t do it. I tried to play it off but Alexis wouldn’t talk to me until I took a pregnancy test. So I reluctantly and nervously agreed to take a test that night.

As retaliation for the silent treatment, I made Alexis read the results of the pregnancy test. I was too nervous. The test came back a definite yes and Alexis and I were speechless. The rest of the night was a combination of talking, crying, and laughing. We both felt inadequate to be parents and were terrified of messing up. We splurged at the store and bought a ton of candy to snack on while we watched Life As We Know It before falling asleep.

We kept our pregnancy a secret for a long time. I was in denial and Alexis wanted to make sure the risk of miscarriage was as low as possible before we shared our news. We told our family when we were about three months along. Our friends with due dates after ours were announcing their pregnancies before we did. Our moms began to get anxious to share the news of them being grandparents, so we decided it was probably time to make it public knowledge. We were about five months pregnant when we made a video announcing the upcoming baby. It was Easter Sunday when we told everyone.

Now I’m 28 weeks along and the baby is kickin’. She’s anxious to grow up, I can tell. She uses my bladder as a waterbed and is constantly playing drums on my ribs. She is due August 22 (the day before our wedding anniversary) and time is moving fast. We still don’t feel ready to be parents but we’re going to be parents either way. Cheers to the changes ahead.

 

How did you announce you were pregnant? I’d love to hear your announcement story in the comment section below!

 

Read about how I learned to love my changing pregnancy body.

Read my engagement story. It’s sure to make you giggle.

Watch our pregnancy announcement video
Watch our pregnancy announcement video

IMG_6278 IMG_6279Baby Pregnancy Announcement Easter Instagram_IMG_2796

Our Engagement Story

A little pressure can be a good thing. I always attribute my engagement actually happening to my mother-in-law.

Alexis was in Chicago for the summer and I was drowning in classes and work on the other side of the country. We were dating before he left but had never actually discussed what our plans were for the future. To my surprise, Alexis stayed in contact while in Chicago, so I assumed that meant he was still interested. An occasional text turned to a late night phone call which turned into a nightly routine of skyping. Alexis and I had been a “thing” (whether official or broken up) for several months now and we cared a lot about each other.

One night, when we were discussing the “M” word (Yes, “Marriage.” It was the only way I could talk about it with Alexis without him going all boyish on me and changing the subject), we came to the conclusion that yes, we probably should spend the rest of eternity together. We just liked each other that much I suppose.

It was Memorial Day weekend and my parents were in town. Alexis called his mom and told her that he was thinking about getting married, although he wasn’t for sure. The next day while I was at lunch with my parents, I got a phone call from Alexis. This was way out of the ordinary because he worked long hours and was always very busy. He then proceeded to tell me that within the last twelve hours, his mom had spread the news of his upcoming engagement to every member of his extended family. Even long-lost relatives he had never met from Mexico were messaging him their congratulations.

 

“I guess we’re getting married,” he said nervously.

 

Like I said, a little pressure can be good sometimes.

Fast-forward probably another twelve hours and cue my mother-in-law again. Alexis and I were planning on making this whole marriage-eternity-I-love-you thing public at the end of June, when I was scheduled to fly to Seattle to meet his family. However, my mother-in-law talked some sense into us and asked why we would even wait that long? So Alexis packed up his bags and hopped onto the next available plane. Which put him on another plane. And still another (Poor guy. He did a lot of traveling and layovers for this).

His plane finally got into town late Thursday Night. I picked him up from a friend’s house Friday after work. Saturday morning we went to the jewelers. I absolutely did not want to pick out my ring. I felt this way for two reasons: first, it’s so much more fun to be surprised. Second, I didn’t want to make it awkward if I fell in love with a ring that was out of Alexis’s budget. But I did go with Alexis to get my finger measured and I did show Alexis my Pinterest board full of engagement rings that I liked. But other than that he was on his own.

Saturday night we went on a road trip out of town with a group of people to visit some friends. We came back late Sunday night.

Monday I had work and an evening class. Alexis picked me up afterwards and we went to grab some dinner. We ordered some take-out from a mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant, grabbed some snacks at a gas station, and headed to the lake nearby.

Alexis had told me that he wouldn’t have the ring until the end of the week, so I wasn’t really expecting anything until then. At the lake we ate dinner, chatted about our day, and enjoyed the general splendor of being two people in love.

As a distraction, Alexis gave me some food and told me to feed two ducks nearby. Oblivious, I happily set out on my task of feeding the birds. One of the ducks began biting the other and wouldn’t let it eat anything. Appalled, I kept turning back to Alexis and exclaiming, “Did you see that?” I was so distracted by the ducks that I hadn’t noticed what Alexis was doing. He acknowledged all my commentary on the duck fighting and went back to nervously fumbling around in his backpack.

After a few minutes of duck feeding, Alexis sat me down at our picnic table and handed me a stack of photos. Photos are a big deal in my family. My home is littered with them and the photoprinter employee at the store recognizes us whenever we walk in.

I began thumbing through the photos. Some were of us, some were of Alexis in Chicago, and some were of Alexis and his family. I reached a photo that was a snapshot from a motivational video Alexis and I loved. I laughed that this was included in the pile and moved on to the next photo.

It was Alexis’s favorite picture of us. There was text written across it that said, “Will you marry me?” I smiled, thinking it was cute. I looked up from the photos to try and find Alexis but I couldn’t see him.

Confused, I turned around and there he was behind me, down on one knee with a little brown box. I gasped. Remember, Alexis said the ring wasn’t ready until the end of the week, so no, even with the photo that said “Will you marry me?” I wasn’t expecting a proposal.

I said “yes” and the rest is history. He’s a cutie and I love him. Two years later we’re still the best of friends and we have a little girl due in August. Life is good and we’re making our way towards our happily ever after.

 

What is your engagement story? I'd love to hear your experience in the comment section below!

 

Curious as to how we first met? Read our love story!

The snapshot from the motivational video. This was Alexis’s cue that the “Will you marry me?” photo was next in the pile.

The famous “Will you marry me?” photo.

I think he liked it, so he put a ring on it.