How to Adjust To Your Changing Body During Pregnancy
February 20, 2018
I don’t think I realized how common it was for pregnant women to experience negative thoughts about their body image until I started speaking up about my own thoughts as well.
When you think about it, it’s dang hard to have to accept a body that’s going to rapidly grow for truly like 7 months straight. It doesn’t matter that you love the little human that’s making it grow without end. It doesn’t matter that you know it’s healthy to put on weight at this time, that your baby needs the nutrients you’re taking it.
What you see when you look in the mirror is what you’ve always seen. Not the things that make you exceptionally beautiful, but the things that make you flawed.
The love handles on your waist, that have decided to balloon out.
The lines around your bra, from wearing sizes too small and not being able to grow with them quite as quickly.
The swell of your fingers and feet that make it impossible for you to wear your engagement and wedding ring.
The extra weight on your cheeks that give your face a whole new look.
The acne on your face that makes you feel like a teenage girl.
When you look at yourself, you can tell yourself 1000 times that it’s all for the best of reasons, that it’s all because you’re pregnant, you’re growing a baby. But you don’t have that baby yet, and what you see in the mirror is you.
You guys, I have been fighting it, this body image battle (as evidenced by this post). Sometimes, it can be a daily struggle. It’s made me cry, it’s made me mad, it’s made me feel defeated. Doesn’t matter that I know it’s silly… reason has no place in this debate.
How to Adjust to Your Changing Body
And so, I’m slowly learning what to do, or not to do, to help me overcome that. And piece by piece, it gets a little bit easier.
One. Wear clothes that fit.
I know that’s silly to say, but that’s been one of the hardest things for me – to accept that I can’t wear the same items I used to wear, even if they were stretchy before. Often times, I could hide the flaws that I see so easily if I just wore pants that actually molded with my pregnant body instead of just trying to work around. Invest in some maternity leggings, even maternity spanks, and allow those older items to stay buried in your closet. They can wait a few more months.
Two: Try on clothes before you wear them.
Two: This piggy-backs off of the first. I have had so many outfits picked out, only to put on the items and realized they were all sorts of wrong for my pregnant body. I’ve even pushed myself to wear things solely because they were what I had in mind, and was left uncomfortable the rest of the day. Trying on items ahead of time can give you a solid idea of what is flattering and what actually fits, saving you from those morning-of panics.
Three: Stick to darker colors.
With anybody, this is a fall-back method. The lighter the color, the more of those curves it will show. Darker colors tend to hide imperfections. 90% of the maternity items I’ve purchased are black. I don’t care that it looks like I’m grieving during this time; I feel most confident in black, so it’s what I wear.
Four. Throw on a cardigan.
For me, one of the most difficult body changes come with the extra weight around my waist, particularly on my sides. And while I want to show off the bump in tight fitted clothing, I don’t want it all to be tight. A cardigan allows your belly to show (and stick out, actually) but hides the rest. Additionally, it’s one of those items that, for the most part, fits you throughout your pregnancy.
Five. Draw attention to other aspects of yourself.
Some mornings, the thought of going through my regular makeup routine is the last thing I want to do. However, it’s made a huge difference in how I feel about myself if I at least look put together. Wearing statement jewelry or exciting shoes also helps draw eyes to those specific aspects instead of unwanted aspects.
Six. Fit in exercise any way you can.
Going to the gym after a long day at work is typically not ideal. However, pushing yourself to get a little extra walking in by taking the long way or parking in a spot far away is much more attainable. Stretching when possible, keeping your body as limber as it can helps you feel healthy, even when you don’t feel like you look that way.
While these ways are more concrete, actionable things you can do to adjust, perhaps the one that makes the biggest difference for me is to imagine my little girl growing up, speaking to me about my body image. What would she say if she knew I was arguing with myself over changes in my body due to her? How would she feel if I didn’t feel beautiful when growing her? I would think she’d bring her sassy side right out and tell her mama to stop that, get it together, and be glad my body is changing – it’s bringing her into this world;).