Things That Cause Fear During Pregnancy: Perfection
In this article we discuss the Things That Cause Fear During Pregnancy: Perfection and how it harms our sense of self-worth. We’ll identify it, and then replace it with some good stuff instead.
It hits early on. I really believe it hits before the morning sickness, before the bump makes its appearance…
The pressure to be perfect.
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Nowadays it seems you can’t be on social media for more than 5 minutes before you see someone who seems to be “practically perfectly pregnant in every way”. That super-cute pose with the coffee–er, uh, hot tea–mug, the over-sized bag, ultra-stylish outfit and nothing extra to bulge it out of perfection, except for Bump.
I really admire those people. I look at them with raised eyebrows and a nod, and I congratulate them on achieving the ultimate “pregnant look.”
It extends beyond the outfit, too. We can’t forget the amazing pictures of shopping dates, impeccable and photo-worthy meal choices, and the exquisite nursery that’s complete and ready before trimester 3.
Again, most impressive.
And, for a lot of us, totally impossible.
Things That Cause Fear During Pregnancy: Perfection in Appearance
I’m being transparent. I gained my first 10 pounds before my first trimester concluded. My outfits were breathable cotton things that I did my best to “cutify” for the sake of not melting away during the summer I didn’t even finish my son’s nursery until after his birth–in fact, it wasn’t complete until he was a several months old. I was so not up with the pregnancy perfection trend.
I endured comments about my weight gain. I endured comments about my complexion. I endured comments about my aches and pains. I endured comments… just comments.
Things That Cause Fear During Pregnancy: Perfection In Progress
I could feel that pressure to be perfect. It made me feel like I was failing somehow, because my feet were too swollen to fit those amazing shoes and I hobbled from excruciating back pain that I couldn’t always hide.
I remember the glances at my quite round tummy and folks asking me to repeat my due date, as though I were a month –or so– off. And, was I sure there weren’t two in there? Or three? Or five?
When it came to the world’s idea of pregnancy picture perfection, I did not meet the bill. In fact, I fell short on every aspect. I had to either accept who and what I was or be miserable and feel like a complete loser.
All of this happened while my beautiful son was growing and developing in my body, preparing to make his grand entrance, while he and I were deeply connected and both of us were doing exactly what we needed to do. That’s a very real shame. While I was being forced to grow a thick skin and come to terms with who and what I am, the beauty of my pregnancy took second place.
And that’s where we find ourselves.
Feeling pressure to look, act and be perfect will grind away at your confidence and cause insecurity to bring doubt. Doubt can lead to fear. Fear fights every good thing in pregnancy.
So… what to do about it? We aren’t going to complain about this without coming up with some sort of solution.
During my pregnancy, I learned to fall in love with the “new me.” I decided to really believe what I’d been raised to believe–that I am a woman of God, created in His image, andHe knew exactly what He was doing. That was the standard I was going to use.
I had to become determined that I was going to appreciate my body for growing a baby and not condemn it for not looking perfect to everyone else. I decided to embrace the actual beauty of pregnancy itself, without getting hung up on the superficial stuff–no matter how today’s culture pressed in on me. I was going to press right back.
It was time to get meaner than the meanness.
I don’t mean becoming rude and obnoxious and attacking people. I mean I had to gain some grit and become stronger than the negative pressure.
Oh, boy, was it a hard battle at times. Looking at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing myself, and then having the “privilege” of hearing comments from everywhere, could really weigh on me. I did reach a place where it began to roll off of me. I just simply didn’t have the energy or the inclination to allow the negativity to bring me down. I had too much to look forward to.
If you’re reading this and you find yourself in this place, where you don’t feel like you meet the bar for perfection, you can feel assured that you aren’t alone. Chances are that even those who seem practically perfectly pregnant are dealing with their own set of challenges, and we’ll do no good in comparing ourselves among ourselves.
Instead, let the true beauty shine. Let it come from the twinkle in your eye, the softness in that tired but loving smile, the gentle way you pat that Little through your tummy. Let the beauty of the forms, shapes and curves of a strong mother who carries life resonate and stand tall (if you can without hurting) and walk with pride. You’ve done it. You’ve had a hand in one of the most incredible things a woman can ever do.
Instead of letting the pressure to be perfect define you, redefine the meaning of perfect. What is perfection in pregnancy? Is it having skinny arms in trimester 3? Is it going the entire 10 months without throwing up? Is it going the entire 10 months without getting a zit? Is it creating and completing a designer nursery by month 5?
What about this…
Perfection is watching a belly grow because a baby is growing perfectly. Perfection is feeling that kick and roll, even though you wince. Perfection is watching your body transform to accommodate another human and share the space. Perfection is getting the floor swept before collapsing into bed. Perfection is encouraging another expectant mother and watching her worry lines smooth away. Perfection is the smell of your favorite bath salts. Perfection is the sound of your baby’s heartbeat and the doctor’s nod that things are going alright.
Perfection is when, in an imperfect world, in a harsh world, in an ugly world, you give birth to the most beautiful, perfect little human who is even more incredible and fascinating than you imagined.
Perfection is the realization of those tears on your cheeks as they place that baby in your arms and you get those first kisses, and you realize,
I just did this.
That is fearless perfection.
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