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.
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.
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.
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.