We all have talked about having children, we definitely all have had fun trying to make a baby but there is nothing quite like the first time you pee on a stick and wait those 3 minutes (which feels like an eternity) to see those two little pink lines, the plus sign or the digital message claiming that you are “pregnant”. Excitement runs through you…maybe a little shock…and certainly pure joy. For some of you the first couple of weeks will be a breeze; for others, you will be hugging the bowl. But in the end it will all be worth it.
When you finally start to show…at first you will be over the moon and then all of sudden…it hits you like a ton of bricks. Your body…it is a-changing! Your hormones are raging and all sorts of things start to happen. Your breasts grow (for some of you this will be the highlight of your entire pregnancy especially if you were flat-chested to start), your skin will probably break out, your feet may get bigger, you will start to have intense food cravings, major mood swings, and will start developing the dark line from your belly button to your pubic bone (linea nigra).
Some days you will feel great and other days you will feel horrible. A lot of women will get to a point where they will start to question themselves. What did I do? How am I ever going to lose this weight? I am so huge? Ugh, I hate looking at my body. How can my husband or anyone for that matter stand to look at me? I look like a beached whale.
Yes, ladies, even being pregnant, we sometimes hate our bodies. Body image affects us all. It really doesn’t matter what is going in our life. But there are some ways you can combat these feelings. (For all those pregnant women out there who think they look fantastic…you go girl! We wish we could all be more like you.) For those of you are having a hard time with the way your pregnant body looks, here are some tips that may help you.
- Remind yourself of the special cargo you are carrying. Sure, your body is getting “bigger” but for good reason. There is another human being inside you that you are caring for. You are the most important person to this baby right now (you always will be) and you need to do whatever it takes to make sure he/she comes into the world well taken care of. That means putting on those necessary pounds, eating to not only replenish your reserves but to make sure your little bundle of joy gets whatever he needs. Your body is going to go through the ringer preparing for this child. It starts with conception and goes well into your child’s first year or two. You can do this. And you will be amazing at it.
- Participate in lots of loving activities. It is so important to take good care of your body while your pregnant. I can’t stress that enough. Two of the best body centered activities to help you overcome those body hang-ups that still might be lingering around are Pilates and yoga. There is so many pregnancy Pilates and yoga DVDs on the market and if you lucky, you probably live near a studio or gym that specializes in these type of classes. Take one. Try them all. The important thing is to stay active and in tune with your body. Pilates and yoga can help you do that. Feeling fit and strong while you are pregnant will eliminate any body issues you may be experiencing.
- Focus on extreme self-care. You probably hear this all the time. But it is worth repeating. Pamper yourself. Take long hot showers, luxurious baths, get a massage, a pedicure, a manicure. Treat yourself to some new clothes that mesh with your new body. Forgot about hiding your pregnancy under baggy clothes. That is not going to make you feel good about yourself. Find flattering more form fitting garments that let the world know you are going to become a mom.
- Show yourself some compassion and acceptance. Your body will never be exactly the same after giving birth. That is not a bad thing. You have a little person now that you didn’t have before. Sure, you might have a jiggly belly, stretch marks, saggy boobs and some extra weight that just doesn’t want to budge but the gift of a child far outweighs these superficial body hang-ups. Look at them with pride. Like badges of honor. You are a superwoman. You are strong, beautiful and amazing.
- And last but not least, understand that you are not alone. There are millions of other women out there that feel exactly like you. Use your support system. Talk to other pregnant women or moms that have already been through this journey. You will find you have a lot in common.
Your body may never be the same but your life will forever be enriched. I think after birth women’s bodies are even more beautiful. There is a strength that wasn’t there before and an appreciation for how magical our bodies really are. Stand tall pregnant beauties! And welcome to the ride of your life!
[Kimberly Riggins knows all about The Art of Eating Chocolate Naked and encourages us to nourish our belly...love our body and accept our self. She's well worth checking out.]