As women we are constantly conditioned to believe that our weight is somehow tied to our self-worth. Then, we get pregnant we’re suppose to throw all that conditioning out the window and suddenly feel confident and beautiful in our changing body, which usually includes fast pregnancy weight gain. This has been a hard journey for me and while I LOVE being pregnant I have also struggled with my body image as I gain weight. In today’s post I’ll be sharing my struggles, insight from fellow moms and ways I am finding love for my changing pregnant body each day.
Rebuilding the Relationship with Your Body
I’ll be honest, like many women I have struggled with body image and my weight for as long as I can remember. Following my miscarriage in January, I was inspired to rebuild a relationship with my body. That meant recommitting to more intense workouts, cleaner eating and all around better care for my body. I had also started seeing a nutritionist, working on my macros and I truly felt amazing!
Surprise, You’re Pregnant
Then… I found out I was pregnant. While this was amazing news, it was a surprise and I’ll admit, it was hard to adjust to the pregnancy weight gain. Due to intense fatigue and early diagnosed placenta previa, I was unable to workout or even walk more than 10-15 minutes. My diet also changed drastically. After 2.5 years of being gluten, dairy, meat, and processed sugar free, I started craving meat, dairy and gluten again. Luckily my stomach responded well to the changes, but the mental acceptance of these changes was harder.
Pregnancy Weight Gain in the 1st Few Months
I found the first 3 months of pregnancy hardest from a body image standpoint. Not only was I exhausted but the pregnancy weight gain left everything soft and “fluffy”. While I tried to think of that sweet baby boy within, truthfully it was hard to feel pregnant and not yet “look” pregnant. All I could see was the extra pounds, clothes not fitting and the constant bloat.
As I reached about 16 weeks, my belly really started to pop and it caused a huge mental shift for me. Seeing my body display the pregnancy really changed things for me. I had been waiting for 5+ years for this experience and seeing it, made it all real.
That Number on the Scale
All of that joy aside, I am only human and when I get on that scale occasionally, the growing number still gets to me. Concerns rush through my mind making me question whether I am gaining too fast, how I compare to other pregnant women and if I’ll be able to lose the weight.
When these feelings hit last week, instead of going down the rabbit hole of panic, I decided to share my insecurities with my Instagram community. And wow, you all showed up for me big time. I was so inspired by your responses, I felt the need to write this post.
The best part about your responses were they so real!. You talked of your own pregnancy weight gain, your insecurities, your success losing the weight later and your insight as mothers. Your words were honest, reassuring and powerful. Let’s check out a few of the key takeaways,
Pregnancy Weight Gain Wisdom from Fellow Moms
- Indulgence is OK, you’ll be able to return to those healthy habits and high intense workouts after baby
- Your body knows what baby needs and your weight gain will badjust accordingly.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone! Everyone gains at different rates, stages and proportions
- Remember it’s not just baby weight, it’s also water retention and fat storage. The fat storage is helping your baby’s brain develop.
- Your changing body is caring for baby
- You are a vessel for life
- If your doctor was concerned he/she would talk with you
- It’s OK to love the miracle you’re growing AND have insecurities about the weight gain
- Baby weight loss is easier than chemo/cancer weight loss
- Treat your body with care and love, the number doesn’t matter
- Remember this is a phase/season for your body and like everything else in life it is temporary
- The weight gain is a roller coaster, try to focus on how amazing your body is – you’re growing a frickin’ human!
- Balance is key. Nothing wrong with tacos, ice cream and french fries as long as you also give baby tons of fruits, veggies and protein.
- I gained 16, 28, 50, 106 lbs… and most importantly baby was healthy!
- When you look in your baby’s eyes nothing else will matter. This changing body is all for him and every scar, wrinkle, and dimple will remind you of him moving forward.
- Sometimes I don’t love my post-baby body, but it brought me this baby and for that I am grateful. Self-love takes continual practice.
Tips for Loving Your Body During Pregnancy
- Make time to rub on your belly. Not only is that lotion good for your stretching skin, but there is something centering about rubbing the part of your body growing a life. I have started applying my belly butter morning and night and it has truly helped me connect more with my beautiful growing form.
- Flaunt the Bump – For me wearing bump flatting clothing has relly helped change my perspective on my changing body and the pregnancy weight gain. Instead of thinking about the wegith, I see that beautiful bump pocking out and think of the sweet boy we will bring into this world.
- MOVE – Being released from exercise restrictions has been huge for my self- confidence. Not that I have energy or stamina for intense workouts, but just being able to do yoga, lift light weights and walk or bike for 30 minutes has really helped me reconnect with my body and feel stronger and healthier.
- On the topic of movement, pregnancy friendly workout clothes have also been important for my self-confidence. For months, I was squeezing myself into too-tight leggings, ill fitting shorts and tops that provided no support. After trying on my Blanqi leggings and tank, I literally felt like a new woman. Not only are they so comfy but the tank actually provides back support, something that is essential right now as my belly grows. They are a bit pricey so if you want to wait, BLANQI will be offering 40% their their Maternity Belly Support Tank Top, the Maternity Belly Support Leggings and the Postpartum Hipster Support Leggings Aug 22nd – 31st.
- Involve your partner – I love when Mac rubs my belly, or we talk about the baby together. Reading my weekly app updates about baby helps me understand what is going on inside, which in turn makes me appreciate the external changes more.
- Make time for reflection. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of how amazing pregnancy truly is. The past month I have been more intentional about sitting in the nursery each night, rocking and rubbing my belly. These special moments alone with my son and help me develop greater appreciation for my changing body.
- Take photos – seeing my body change in photos is absolutely amazing. All I see if a beautiful human growing and I don’t notice the new rolls, extra flub on my hips or that newly flabby skin on my arms.
I hope that by sharing my emotional struggles related to pregnancy weight gain and body image, I can help other women experiencing similar feelings. I am only human and instead of fighting these feelings, I am committed to working on loving my changing body everyday. I am making that self-love a priority for me and for my son.