It’s no surprise weight gain goes along with pregnancy, but for some women, the idea of it is different from the reality.
Pregnancy weight is good for your baby--it means they’re growing healthy and strong, but seeing your shape change, sometimes in unexpected ways, can do a number on your self-esteem. Embracing your new curves may not come easily, but it's good to know you’re not alone. Not every woman is going to feel beautiful all the time, and this can be especially true when your body feels out of your control.
You may be prepared for your belly to get bigger, but you could be shocked to see how much your breasts grow. For others, pregnancy brings rounder thighs, dimpling where there wasn’t before and a stomach that seems to grow at a rate you never thought possible. It’s all part of pregnancy, but when you add all those changes and hormones into one nine month mix, learning to love your body can feel like a big challenge.
But, thankfully, loving your pregnancy body isn’t impossible. If you’re finding you struggle to see the positives when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror, know you can fall in love with your changing shape--or, at least learn to look at it all in a different way.
Dress the Part
Choose formfitting clothes that fit well and make you feel good. You may be inclined to purchase regular clothes in a larger size, but you may find it makes you feel “tent” like. Maternity clothes have cinched sides that accentuate your belly and stretch where the pregnant body can use it most. Finding an outfit or two that helps you feel sexy and accentuates the parts you love the most can really change your inner thoughts.
When you feel tired and rundown, you’re not going to look at yourself in the best light. After talking with your doctor and getting the okay, start a light exercise routine. Not only will it help give you a boost of energy, but it can help keep your weight gain to your doctor’s recommended amount. Exercising now can even mean speeding up your recovery after birth.
Make time to take care of yourself. Prioritize sleep, put on some bright lipstick, use your favorite lotion after every shower, enjoy a mocktail on a sexy date with your partner and head to the salon to get your overgrown roots taken care of or get a pedicure. These little additions to your schedule can have a big impact. You're more likely to begin to see your growing bump as a gorgeous feature, not something that’s hindering your beauty.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts and seeing that influence the way you eat to an unhealthy level (like avoiding eating or limiting your calories), talk to your doctor. Depression, anxiety or an undiagnosed eating disorder may be adding to your changing body stress. Even if you're not experiencing a specific mental health concern, talking to your doctor along with a therapist can help guide you through excessive negativity and low self-esteem.
Keep Your Eyes on the End Goal
Remind yourself what you’re doing is all for your baby and you won’t be pregnant forever. There will be plenty of time to “reclaim” your body later down the road. Slowing down and enjoying this time is good for you--and your baby.