As a human being living in today’s world body image is a huge issue. Men and women alike struggle with it on a daily basis. This doesn’t get any easier as a pregnant woman!
Pregnancy leaves me constantly torn between loving my baby bump and severe insecurities. On the one hand, my baby bump is a sign of my baby growing inside of me, healthy and strong. On the other, I look in the mirror and do not see the body I was used to. I’ve turned into Miss Blobby.
I think part of the problem is the stage of pregnancy i’m at. I’m not at a stage where strangers in the street would look at me and know “Yes, she’s definitely pregnant!”. Fully dressed I can quite easily pass as someone who is just a bit chubby. Strangers are more likely to think “Yes, she ate all the pies!”.
Dealing with all these changes to your body is especially hard for someone with a history of eating disorders. I’ve been that girl who starved herself, sometimes going weeks at a time without eating anything at all. When I did eat I would obsessively exercise to always be in negative calories. I’ve been that girl who made herself sick after every meal or who binged on large amounts of junk food just to throw it back up. At my worst, my hair was falling out, I was cold all the time and my periods stopped for over a year. At the time I still didn’t believe I was skinny enough.
I fought long and hard to get healthy again just to have the possibility of getting pregnant. Despite my insecurities, body image has to be low priority right now because my baby is all that matters. It needs me to eat well, and regularly, so that it can continue its magical journey of growing from that tiny seed into the baby it will become.
The most important thing right now is to focus on a positive mindset and the wonder of pregnancy. Being grateful that I have a partner who supports me and loves me and (claims to) still find me me attractive even though i’m slowly turning into a beach ball!! I am not someone that finds it easy to love myself but that’s something i’m really working on right now. As women, our bodies are incredible things and the changes they are capable of is beyond comprehension. I’m trying to focus on the magic “there’s a real life human being growing inside that tummy” rather than the negative “gosh is that a double chin forming?”.
Being kind to yourself and refusing to listen to that negative little voice is half the battle. The rest is remembering that every mark, every bump and change in your body is one step closer to that bundle of joy this has all been for. It’s all so totally worth it.
I will also be seeking support after baby is born to make sure I never go back to that negative place where calories and food consumed everything. Right now it’s easy to eat and take care of my body because i’m doing it for baby not me. But I need to remember that after baby is born I still need to take care of myself for baby’s sake! I want my son or daughter to love themselves, just the way they are. To look after themselves and treat themselves with kindness and love. How can they ever do that if they look at Mummy and see someone who hates themselves and abuses their body?
I am human, I am a woman and I am insecure. I am not perfect. But I will always do my best to be the Mummy this baby deserves.
I found a great quote online regarding body image and pregnancy:
If you’re struggling with body image, pregnant or not, know that you’re not alone! Loving yourself can be damn hard some days. But know that you are worthy of love no matter how hard that can be to believe some times. Don’t be afraid to seek help and to talk to those close with you about how you feel- our biggest critics are always ourselves.
So how do/ did you deal with body image issues? When pregnant or not?