Let me start by saying I think it’s really important to LOVE and APPRECIATE your body at any AGE & at any STAGE.
Seriously. Take a minute right now to think about what your body does for you every single day. No matter what you do, your heart keeps beating, your lungs keep breathing, and your various organs and systems all work in harmony. Your body is AMAZING. YOU are amazing. Just stop and appreciate that for a second! 🙂
I have to admit, when I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t appreciate my body so much, towards the end. I gained over 65 lbs and it was REALLY emotionally hard to see how my body changed so much over those few months. I knew that I was carrying a baby and so it was for a great REASON but it was still hard, especially being a health coach! However, overall, people were very supportive. They reminded me it was normal and that I was growing an entire other person and I should take it easy on myself. Still, when I took Maternity photos, I was self-conscious about my weight/appearance and went for a fully-covered look (even though it was a warm Spring day) and never really shared them with people.
This time around I wanted to do things differently. With Baby #1 my doctor told me NOT to exercise, and to go on an “ice cream diet” (no joke!) since Baby was measuring small in utero. With Baby #2, I’ve been exercising every day, and eating a much more healthy diet. I still have dessert of course, but it’s usually my homemade Cherry Garcia ice “cream” (made with just frozen cherries and banana! Recipe HERE or cooking video HERE!) or a similar healthy treat. In fact, for my Maternity photos this time around, I took my first ever bare-belly shot!
For this pregnancy, I feel better, and am embracing it! I’ve gotten many lovely and supportive comments from friends and strangers alike. But I’ve been surprised by many of the comments I get that are… let’s just say “less than supportive.”
I often get some form of “you’re so BIG!” or “are you carrying twins?” or “you must be due tomorrow!” followed by an exaggerated look of shock and disbelief when they find out I am carrying just one, and still have 2 months to go.
It’s really hard to hear comments like that, especially when I don’t always feel like working out every day but STILL do (I have kept up my barre class 3 times a week – SAME class I did pre-preggo, pre-natal yoga 1-2 times a week and walk 4-5 miles twice a week!) Between the pregnancy hormones and interrupted sleep, I find myself even more emotionally vulnerable than usual. It’s hard to “shrug off” such hurtful comments, even if they didn’t mean it maliciously.
I recently read a really great blog post by Jennifer Aniston. She was responding to speculation that she was pregnant, just because she had one too many hamburgers. The congratulations she was getting from friends was almost as bad as the gossip in the press. I think the moral of the story is: when it comes to pregnancy, weight issues or body image of any kind, stay supportive but don’t presume!
As a society, we focus a lot on appearance and weight but not so much on health or how we actually FEEL. I’d love to see that change. Let’s focus on our health and FEELING good! The scrutiny women face over their bodies is always intense, but to pick a time when you’re already full of hormones and genetically programmed to gain weight seems cruel.
For the record, according to my midwives I’m at the perfect weight, and my baby and I are healthy (which is the important part, after all!) and growing just as we should be. I can even still wear some of my “regular” clothes! And despite the body shaming comments, I’m DEFINITELY appreciating my belly more this time around. I LOVE my baby bump and am very grateful for it and proud of it! You won’t find me hiding it under a baggy dress or shirt. I wear fitted clothes that proudly display it. I think it’s beautiful! 🙂
Unfortunately, my midwives also told me I’m not alone in this experience. They have clients who won’t leave the house for their last few months or weeks for this very reason. How sad and horrible. Why can’t people be supportive and loving? If you’ve already done it, you know what I’m talking about but if you haven’t, let me tell you, growing a baby in your belly is the most miraculous thing, but it can be seriously hard work at times. The toll it takes on our bodies is REAL. While I’m sitting her writing this, I just made a hand! 🙂 Seriously though, a compliment or kind word or smile can REALLY go a long way. (Even if you’re not pregnant!)
I’d like to share some advice my father gave me growing up: If you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all. So the next time you see someone pregnant, how about a supportive “you look glowing” or “beautiful” or “you are doing a great job!”? Or even focusing on the real point, her health and the health of the baby: “So glad to see everyone is healthy and doing great!” or “that’s so awesome that you are working out!” or “great job making it to yoga today!” You will make her day, I promise. 🙂
And for a final thought: I’ve been wondering a lot lately why I didn’t feel this scrutiny and judgement with my first pregnancy (even though I gained more weight). I think part of is is that I did more to protect myself. Here are some of the tools I used that helped me and might help you too, if you find yourself dealing with judgement, negativity or emotions like these!
- Energy Muse bracelets
Energy Muse combines traditional crystals with intentions to make a stylish piece of jewelry that has healing properties! I wore 5 different bracelets during my first pregnancy. Not only were they pretty, but I think they helped protect me! (Note: they have bracelets and jewelry for men and women, and around a range of topics like health, wealth and wellbeing. It’s not just for pregnancy!)
- Young Living Essential Oils
Although I use essential oils every day on me and my daughter to keep us healthy, a dear friend recently reminded me of an oil that is meant for just this purpose: White Angelica. I had totally forgotten about it, but this blend promotes feelings of protection and security when diffused, and can be used to guard against negative energy. I used it often during my first pregnancy!
Before I had my daughter, I was an avid meditator and would meditate for anywhere between 30-45 minutes each morning. Since having her, I’ve found it much more challenging to carve out the time. I know from experience though that this practice is very grounding, and helps you deal with negativity more easily. If you’re not sure how to get started meditation, try this free 3 minute guided meditation from Dr. Andrew Weil!
Since rediscovering these tools, I’ve already noticed a difference in my daily life!
What are your go-to tips for combating negativity or protecting yourself? Share with us below! 🙂