4 Ways I’m Coping With Pregnancy Body Image Issues
I think it’s pretty clear that I’ve gained some weight over the last few months... I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t mentally struggled with my body image during this time. For a little background, all my life I was told I was too skinny. Especially since I was a softball player. It was an advantage to have a little more meat on your bones to be better! I tried just about everything growing up to gain weight, but my body just never did until I was retired from softball. Which is so ironic!!
Fast forward five years, and I’m pregnant with my first baby. I’m 28 weeks and have gained 30 pounds already. For me it is the weirdest thing to step on the scale and see the numbers that I’m seeing. I never imagined to see those numbers! My doctors keep telling me that they’re not concerned at all about my weight and thinks I’m carrying baby very well for my body type. It was hard for me to take that as a compliment though. I always imagined myself as the pregnant lady with just a really big basketball belly and nothing else changing. Unrealistic... I know. So it’s weird to notice other parts of my body getting “thicker” as my husband likes to call it. I like to say fatter.
I do have to and my husband reminds me all the time that I am pregnant whenever I get down about my body changing. He keeps telling me that my body is just carrying this way because my body before becoming pregnant was smaller than the average woman, so it needs to stock up in order to be able to hold a baby. Not sure how I feel about that explanation, but it makes me feel a little better that my husband is thinking that! And not that I’m just a fat pregnant lady. 🙈
With all that being said, I want to list the ways I’m coping with all of these negative thoughts. They aren’t taking over my pregnancy, but they definitely do make their appearances every once and awhile! This is how I’ve been fighting those negative body image thoughts...
1. TALK ABOUT IT
I’ve learned over the years how important it is to vocalize negative thoughts. It makes them smaller and also gives you a chance to hear them. Most of the time, once you vocalize and hear your negative thoughts it makes them sound REAL stupid. When you keep them trapped in your mind, you’re giving them more power than they deserve. So I’m talking about it and being very open with it to my husband and therapist and all my other close people.
2. WEAR THAT BIKINI IF YOU WANT TO
Not going to lie, I’m not mad about all my body changes. It’s kind of nice having curves and bigger boobs (sorry if that makes you uncomfortable). Although, I wish my thighs and cellulite would calm down and stop growing, I do like showing off my bump and curves! A part of me wanted to wear a bikini this past weekend because it’d be the first time wearing a bikini while having curves. However another part of me was concerned about it being more obvious how big my thighs were. I just went for it though and shut down those negative thoughts! It felt empowering to do that and definitely gave my positive thoughts more power.
3. REMIND MYSELF THAT I AM SHARING MY BODY AND GROWING A HUMAN
It is so empowering and really quite miraculous if you think about what a woman's body can do. Like we can literally grow a human and give it a home inside our bodies. This weight gain is happening to help keep my baby safe and healthy. So I think I can trade a little cellulite for in return a baby of my own!
4. JOIN PREGNANCY GROUPS
It took me until my second trimester to join pregnancy groups on Facebook. Why it took me this long, I couldn’t tell ya! It’s so nice being able to talk and listen to others dealing with the same things you are. Sure you can listen to your relatives who have had kids, but it’s different being connected with someone who is going through the same things at the same time as you. It feels less lonely. A lot of pregnant people worry about their weight gain and their body image. You don’t really understand it until you’re in it. These groups are not only amazing because they make you feel less lonely, but you can receive a lot of great advice through them too!
That’s all I’ve got for now about this. I wrote this for anyone who is just dealing with body image issues in general (not only for pregnant people) and also for myself to keep myself accountable!