Friday, 20 January 2017

Body Confidence In Pregnancy

This is a bit of a sensitive subject for me to write about, and a post that I considered scrapping on many occasions. I've suffered with body confidence issues, on and off, for around half of my life. I used to think that when I got pregnant it would go away - there was a wonderful reason that I was getting bigger, so the fact that I was wouldn't matter. Unfortunately those sorts of feelings don't just switch off, and I've battled with mixed feelings about my body often throughout the last seven months.

The second trimester was definitely the hardest for dealing with any insecurities. At the start of it, you may just be beginning to show, but it's not always obvious to outsiders that you are pregnant. On numerous occasions I would catch people staring at me thinking "is she, isn't she?!" To someone who is conscious about their body, this can be quite unnerving.

I don't think it helps that your body becomes a regular topic of conversation with others when you're pregnant. Of course they don't mean any harm when they say "Oh aren't you getting big?" or "your bump is so tiny" but we can really take it to heart. It's as if it's a personal attack on your image, rather than just a passing comment on your bump.

The worst is when they compare it to their own previous pregnancies, or other people who are currently pregnant - as if you don't compare yourself to others enough already. During the second trimester I began searching for pregnancy selfies on Instagram and comparing the bodies of those at the same stage to my own body, and wondering if I fitted in with the norm. The truth is there is no norm though, and I quickly realised this from the dozens of pictures I was sifting through. Every body is different, every pregnancy is different.

Another low point for me came just before Christmas at a family get together. I noticed a relative of mine, who was just two weeks behind me in her pregnancy was much smaller than me. We could've easily passed for being months apart. I was absolutely mortified and instantly took that to mean that I was way too big. I went home that day and cried, but it was actually that day that made me sit up and think that I need to do something about this. I'm only going to get bigger and I don't want to let my insecurities overshadow the fact that my body was doing such an incredible thing, and this was actually meant to be an exciting time in my life.

So, what have I done to banish my body crisis....?

1. Banning the scales I've spent so many years keeping an eye on my weight. I don't need to be doing that right now, the doctors will do that for me, so I've no longer been stepping on the scales at home. It's inevitable I will gain some weight, but I can deal with that whenever I am ready to after the birth, it shouldn't be a priority.

2. Investing in maternity wear When I first began to show and my normal clothes started getting too tight, I simply went out and bought new clothes in bigger sizes. This may be the cheaper way of doing things, but it did no good for my confidence. Because everything was the wrong size and shape for my changing body, it would hang in the most unflattering of places and make me look huge. Buying a few pieces of maternity wear, in my correct size, has given my confidence a huge boost. When I wear my maternity tops, I love the way my body looks - they show off my blossoming bump whilst everything else still looks normal.

3. Eating well & exercising This can make you feel good in general, and that in turn can lead to having a positive body image, just from having a more positive mindset. Looking after myself properly has probably reduced any potential extra pounds I'm going to put on too, not to mention been healthier for my baby. In terms of exercise, I don't mean a full on routine, just a brisk walk in the fresh air can make me feel so much better.

4. Talking to my husband A supportive partner is definitely important in situations like this, My husband has always been encouraging, telling me that he still loves my body, but telling him how I've been feeling has definitely led to him being more attentive and reassuring. It's like a weight has been lifted too, getting my feelings out in the open rather than bottled up.

5. Reading into pregnancy body changes Reading into how my pregnancy is progressing week by week, and why my body is doing what it's doing, has made me appreciate it a lot more. We go through a lot more than we give ourselves credit for and it's really quite interesting to learn about. And I can't wait to meet the end result of all of my bodys hard work.

Have you ever suffered from body confidence issues whilst pregnant? How did you deal with them?

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