The beginning of a new year is always a time of motivation and goals. “I’m going to lose ______ pounds, get fit, organize my house, read this book…” the list goes on. If you’re pregnant, however, things a bit–no, a lot more limited. It’s easy to feel your pregnancy self-image to take a beating.
I know that some of you mamas-to-be out there are so tired at the moment that nothing feels new and motivation is far away.
I understand, Sister! You’re exhausted because you’re living for two people right now, and, if my guess is correct, you’re still doing the work of at least three people. You are beautiful and amazing.
Something I want to approach right out of the gate is pregnancy self-image.
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It’s the beginning of the year. That means that all the diet apps, books and magazine sales have increased in a big way. Everyone is hustling to get themselves looking slimmer after those warm, cozy holidays.
This can be a hard time for a pregnant mommy who can do nothing but GROW at the moment.
Each day, it seems, your belly is bigger. For most of us, we don’t see changes in just our belly, either. Everywhere is looking different… from your belly button, to your elbows, to your ankles.
During my pregnancy, I struggled with my self-image. I’m a whopping five-feet even, considered petite but not super slim. I’m just regular. That’s fine by me.
But when I was pregnant, I gained weight and inches–quickly. I was enduring comments on my tummy by the beginning of my second trimester.
My Self-Image Took A Hit
I had strangers commenting on my size.
Even men would say things to me. I was asked questions like, “are you sure there’s only one in there?” and, “what was your due date again?” as though I had misquoted. I even got, “whoa, you’re big.”
In the beginning, I laughed it off. The pure gall some people have to say those things struck me as hilarious. But, at the end, when I was really, really round, tired and achy and now grumpy, those remarks started to sting.
I had some dear, sweet friends who encouraged me and were a balm to my confidence, but I still battled insecurity.
I would see pictures of these women would post pictures of themselves at nine months pregnant, and then their miraculous “postpartum body,” and they looked magnificent.
If you’re one of those moms out there who look like you swallowed a beach ball, and then look like you didn’t right after birth, that’s amazing and I admire you.
We Are Too Hard on Ourselves
The reality for most of us is that we don’t do that. I put on more than the “30-pound” allotment of weight… yeah, I passed it up nicely. I grew EVERYWHERE.
The comments kept coming. I began to battle insecurity and wondered what my husband thought of me.
News flash. My husband was enamored with all the changes. He thought they were amazing. He looked at me and was completely awed that our son was in there, and we could even see him move!
So what did I do? I stopped putting my insecurities in my husband’s perspective, so-to-speak and I believed him when he complimented me.
Took Control of My Own Insecurities
Finally, I took ownership of the fact I felt insecure and that I struggled with self-acceptance. Once I allowed myself to realize it was coming from me, I gained the control to deal with it.
I began to re-frame my thinking. Who was I comparing myself to? What sort of expectations was I placing on myself, and were they realistic?
After I addressed that I went to work on my self-belief.
Did I really believe I was a child of God, made in His image? Did I believe that my self-worth and value did not come from my outside appearance?
Yes, I was having a son, but if I were having a daughter, was I setting a good example for her?
That idea forced me to rethink and then relax.. I began telling myself, “Hey, you’re pregnant. It’s okay. You’re round. That’s because you’re in the process of a miracle. You don’t have to try and prove anything.”
I wore clothes that made me feel comfortable and stopped worrying about if they made me “look bigger”. I was having a child. Skinny isn’t on the list of priorities.
Be Okay with Beautiful Y-O-U
If you find yourself looking in the mirror and feeling discouraged, stomp that out, girlfriend. Pour steaming hot coffee right on that voice that’s telling you that you’re not good enough.
You’re having a baby.
YOU ARE AMAZING!
And since when did having a baby become an image-thing, anyway? You’re beautiful, because you are carrying a child, bringing life into the world, and because from here on out you’re going to be someone’s superhero.
So if your ankles are swollen, your favorite blouse is a distant memory, and your effortless sashay has becoming a huffing, puffing waddle…
Waddle fearlessly. You’re incredible.
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