My body image issues started pretty early. I was never happy with how I looked and always compared myself to others. I thought I should be taller, shorter, thinner, my face should be a different shape and the list goes on and on. I absolutely never felt hot or attractive. Unfortunately this cycle continued through college and even into my early married years.
An unhealthy viscous cycle.
As a result it led to some really unhealthy eating habits in attempt to help me achieve the look I was going for. In reality I was trying such extreme tactics that I could never sustain, so I’d just end up eating all the things and probably gaining weight from it( I didn’t know for sure because I refused to weigh myself). It was just a horrible self-defeating place to be. Needless to say I was in a unhealthy brain space about me and my body and it effected every other part of my life. Once you are in this way of thinking for so long it’s hard to break free, but it is possible.
Freedom can come.
With the right people in my life, some helpful books and A LOT of prayer I have been able to do an over haul in my way of living/thinking. It has definitely been a journey and I still have my triggers, but I can honestly say I’m a different person now than I was six years ago. Thank the Lord!
How would I feel about my pregnant body?
Knowing this body image baggage was in my not so distant past you can only imagine that the thought of the physical changes that come with being pregnant would scare me. I knew it meant my body was about to undergo a major transformation and be stretched to the limits (literally). I knew that getting pregnant meant “gaining weight” and undergoing my biggest body change yet. So, I had an inward battle. If I were able to get pregnant it would be an absolute miracle from God but there was still the nasty lingering thought about how I would handle my new body.
People can say stupid stuff without knowing it (me included).
I’m not going to lie. I also worried about what people would say about or to me. Somehow when you are with child people think they have free license to comment on the way you look. “Wow, you’re huge!!” “Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?” “You look like you are going to pop.” All things people to say to women who are creating a human and all of them are incredibly hurtful to someone who’s on rocky ground with the way they see themselves. I could just envision myself having a total melt down on a daily basis after hearing people’s lovely comments on my growing belly.
I always told my husband, Aaron, that I was going to just give that gift right back to them and say, “Oh, you look like you’ve put on a few pounds?!” “You’re hair is looking rough today” or “Did you pack on some LBs after the holidays?” I mean it’s only fair. If they can freely comment on my body and what they think of me I should be able to return the favor, right?!
I got pregnant and everything changed.
Anyways, up until I actually got pregnant I was still apprehensive about what would happen to my body and my thoughts about it once I was actually pregnant. Then I GOT PREGNANT and something changed.
I wasn’t scared anymore. All the worry and stressing about what might happen was for nothing(that’s usually how it goes). The minute I saw my pregnancy test result and saw the word “pregnant” I didn’t care as much about how I was going to look. I just cared about my baby. There was a human growing inside of me!!!
My mind shifted to the absolute miracle side of being pregnant and what that meant, a life was inside of me. Every day I would check my pregnancy apps to see what they said was going on with my little baby. I loved seeing the different fruit or vegetable sizes he was (there’s an app for that:)). I think I got so focused on my son and his development that there wasn’t as much space in my brain for self doubt or deprecation.
Believe me I had plenty of other worries in regards to my pregnancy and of course I had moments where I felt huge and unattractive. Oh and it still hurt my feelings when people commented about my belly or breast size (yup, that happened). But, it didn’t effect me like it did before I was pregnant. It didn’t shake me to the core like I feared it would. I had a new appreciation for my body. I knew I needed to take care of it because my little baby was in there! It wasn’t just all about me anymore. I was gaining weight but I was also gaining a life! The most little precious life that I’ve ever known!
So, for the first time in my life now that I am a mom I feel like I have a hot bod. Not because of what it looks like, what I eat or how much I exercise, but because it nurtured my son for 9 months and gave me the best gift I’ve ever received!
Now post pregnancy bod is a whole other topic that I’ll cover another day…
But for now, mama friend, please know that you are stronger than you think, your body is a freaking miracle and you my friend are a hot mom!!