Food baby or baby bump?

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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

The 2nd Trimester “Glow”

I’m 17 weeks pregnant, in the second trimester, and I feel like I’ve been robbed!

“The second trimester is wonderful!” I was promised.

“The nausea will go away, your energy will come back and you’ll look like a goddess!” they said.

“You’ll have more energy than the Duracell bunny!” they claimed.

“You’ll look like a hair and nail supermodel!” they assured.

The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People (Jordan Ried and Erin Williams, 2017 ) says this about the second trimester:

“You step out of a dense fog that smells like feet and emerge onto a sun-drenched plain where Legends of the Fall-era Brad Pitt is standing with his arms outstretched. You float toward him, a flock of adorable little cartoon budgies chirping at your side. Your hair is long and flowing, bedecked with a crown of lotus flowers. You take a deep, meditative breath (because your stomach has not yet moved your lungs into your shoulders, and you can still do this), and you do not sneeze. In the second trimester, there is no pollen.”

All this magical second trimester stuff is a load of B*****s!

Myth 1- Your nausea will vanish  and you’ll be able to eat everything again!

Now I haven’t really thrown up since about 7 weeks (apart from the odd occasion). But my nausea and food aversions have been a constant friend. The mere thought of beef makes my stomach lurch. The other day I tried to eat a chocolate biscuit and spent the next few hours curled up feeling sorry for myself and trying not to puke. I’m still restricted to about 5 foods and this doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon!

Myth 2- Your energy will return, in fact you’ll be full of energy!

My energy started to return a bit and I got seriously excited. I thought great! I can get through a day without napping! This lasted about a week. I’m back to feeling like a zombie, desperate for bed by 8pm and struggling to prop my eyes open by about 1pm.

Myth 3- Your hair will be luxurious and shiny!

The only thing anyone will notice about my hair is the abomination that is my roots! I spent a year gradually transforming from dark brunette to light blonde and had nearly reached the white blonde I dreamed of when I fell pregnant. Now I have brown roots halfway down my head, I dread to think how bad they’ll be by May!

I’ve read plenty that says it’s safe to dye your hair from the second trimester on wards and i’m sure the risk is minimal. However, there are still a few things that mean I won’t be dying my hair again until baby is born (And then, sadly, I may just return to brunette).

a) Money. I’m trying  to save money right now and I can’t afford the £60 odd every 12 weeks to maintain my hair. I certainly won’t be able to afford this on maternity leave which is why brunette may make a return.

b) Colours can affect you differently when your pregnant. Imagine going to get it dyed and instead of that glorious blonde you get a hay stack yellow!

c) Sensitivity! Even using a face mask for sensitive skin makes my skin feel like it’s going to peel off at the moment. I’m not sure I could risk hair dye!

So for the time being my hair is going to remain a tragedy.

Myth 4- You’ll glow!

People do keep telling me that i’m glowing. Sadly, I then look in the mirror and can be pretty confident that the glow is just grease. I’m greasier than I was as a teenager (and just as spotty). Seriously, I haven’t had an outbreak like this since I was 15 and I forgot how awful it was! Not to mention the fact that on the rare occasion my skin isn’t greasier than a chip pan it’s dry as sand instead. I’m constantly torn between face products for greasy and dry skin and I cannot wait for a return to normalcy!

I’m still holding out some hope that the magical second trimester will make an appearance soon. There’s still plenty of time for it to show. But I can’t help glaring jealousy at all the lucky women who felt instantly amazing at 13 and 14 weeks and are currently smugly revelling in their second trimester goddessness. When is it my turn?!

What about you? Did you experience a magical second trimester or do you think it’s all b******s too?