I have always admired the “Love Your Body” movement and celebrating your own size! This became harder during my pregnancy journey.
Right before I started trying to conceive, I did the Whole 30 program, thinking this would be the best way to get myself in optimal health. I had read many success stories of people conceiving, right after whole 30, and thought this would be the best plan of action. I felt amazing after following the program, loved how my clothes were fitting, and was definitely feeling “body love”.
As I started trying to conceive, this feeling started to shift. After several months of not seeing a positive pregnancy test, I started to question my body. I felt healthy, was running every day, doing yoga, and feeling good, but this made me start to question why my body couldn’t create a life. I had read, How to Conceive Naturally: And Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30 , even though I was 29, and had followed it to a T. The more I tried, the more I stressed. I was seeing more and more women walking around who were pregnant and whenever I opened facebook, there was another pregnancy announcement. It was hard feeling as though my body was so different than everyone else’s and wishing I could have a baby so badly. Sometimes body love isn’t just about looking at your size. It took me so much self-reflection and prayer to start to accept fertility was out of my hands and I needed to accept the body I was given.
When I found out the news that I was pregnant, the “body love” returned. I couldn’t believe the news and was extra cautious with my body for a while. I literally said to my prenatal yoga instructor,” Do you think the baby is okay, because I have been practicing yoga and didn’t realize I was pregnant?” She smiled and said, “Yes, some people drink vodka for months and don’t know.”
I soon started looking at the scale and wondering if I was gaining enough. As the scale didn’t move, I questioned my body again. Then I kept looking for my “bump”. I started comparing my bump to other pregnant women. Why was my belly button not an outie, like the pregnant woman I had seen in magazines? I also didn’t want people to know I was pregnant just yet, so I started wearing bigger clothes. I was constantly thinking," What are people thinking of my bigger body and no one realizes I am pregnant?" Once my bump became more obvious, it was a relief. It felt weird when no one was saying anything about me being pregnant though, but I figured it was a nice thing people in the city do, instead of pointing it out. I mentioned it at every restaurant, for fear of listeria. When I did tell people, they would say, you don’t even look pregnant, which was nice to hear, but sometimes I would think, should my bump be bigger? There was a shift in my thinking on a trip to Florida on Mother’s Day, when a woman handed me a rose and told me, Happy Mother’s Day. It felt good for someone to know I was pregnant, without saying anything. In that moment, I felt “body love”.
I was so happy to know my baby boy was growing inside of me. I prayed over him every day and was cautious with emotions I felt, as I knew he was feeling everything. Once I grew bigger, it became incredibly hard to feel “body love”, as people shouted things at me, as I walked down the street.
I wasn’t even that far along and I heard people say, “Wow, you must be about to pop” and “9 pounds 10 oz 21 inches long-mark my word” The worst one was when someone said, “My wife was never as big as you.” It was incredibly hard to hear comments about my body 24/7, even though I knew a miracle was inside me. It woke me up to the words I say about anyone’s body in general, even if I intend to say them in a positive way. You never know what people are going through.
After having my baby boy, I felt extreme” body love”. I could not believe my body could do all it did and what a journey we had been through. I was amazed my body could produce milk and nourish this incredible baby. I later started noticing my stretch marks and how my body looked completely different than before, but my baby loved my squishy stomach and I saw these stretch marks as a great memory of my experience.
As I followed pregnancy apps, I saw more and more, how to get your body back, lose weight after pregnancy, and pictures of moms who looked super fit and the “body love” started to wane. I was busy breastfeeding most of the day and learning how to be a mom, to even fathom working out like them and I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong. Later I was able to do a little yoga each day and it gave me time to really process what my body went through in 9 months and what it was still going through.
After 6 months postpartum, I can honestly say, I feel more” body love” than I have most of my life. My body is not perfect and there is plenty of proof I had a baby, but knowing the journey my baby and I have been on and how much my body means to my little human has made all the difference. “Love your body” is a journey and one I don’t think I will ever 100% attain, but being grateful for all my body can do has made all the difference.
I’d love to hear about your body journey, E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.