How to Have a Healthy Body Image in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a beautiful time. As a woman you get to grow an actual human. One that you'll get to love and cuddle. You spend hours thinking about your baby, imaging them laying next you. You can feel you heart growing.
But, when you stop to think of you, your body and the changes you're experiencing you're not feeling so good. Maybe you haven't shared this with anyone because everyone is so excited for you and it feels like you're supposed to feel amazing.
Here's the good news. You're not alone. The impact pregnancy is having on your body image is common. The better news. There are simple steps you can take to feel better about yourself.
Why is this happening?
There are a lot of messages out there about pregnancy. A lot of them are about how great we're supposed to feel. The "pregnancy glow" is a classic example of that. To those around you, you look incredible. Your bump is adorable and others' are so excited for you, so the messages you receive will be, for the most part, positive. No one wants to scare you. So basically, everyone is trying to keep things so positive that you feel like you have to as well. Even when you aren't.
Check out a few pregnancy related hashtags on Instagram and you'll soon see all the perfect looking bumps and the seemingly perfect looking pregnant mamas in their bikinis. Their skin is perfect, they don't seem to be sweating excessively or growing extra body hair (because yeah, that's a thing). They seem to feel amazing because in that little tile of a picture, they look perfect.
Here's the thing though. It really is just a snapshot. A highly styled and staged snapshot. Now, there's nothing wrong with that. We all have the right to style ourselves up to show ourselves in a good light. But, it's also understandable that when you're feeling like rubbish, seeing these pics is enough to start comparing your body with theres.
Drowning Out the Noise
So, what can you do when you're surrounded by messages that make you feel low? The first thing is to cut down how many of these messages you're receiving. Keep Insta time to a minimum and don't follow hashtags that are making you feel low. When it comes to people in real life, make sure you're surrounding yourself with people that you can be real with. Talking about it can help to alleviate them. Just remember that feeling negatively about your pregnant body doesn't make you a bad mum or person. It makes you 100% normal.
Finding the Things You Love
Whether you expected it or not, things are changing for you. Your body is changing and so is your life. Instead of fighting against, try embracing it. Use this time of change to explore and discover what you love in life. Try new things and discover new passions.
When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time outside. Paddle boarding became my place of zen. This then lead to beginning Mother and Sun, a business I'm so passionate about. Learn more about this journey here.
Focus on the Experience
What we focus on grows.
The more you focus on your body, the more you'll think about it and those negative feelings. When you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts about your body, try to refocus on positive experiences, like your baby kicking, getting to wear leggings every day and preparing the nursery for your baby.
I'm here to tell you mama, that you really are beautiful.