Pregnancy and body image

by Kim on June 9, 2014

So I couldn’t decide if I should load this post up with some standard peppiness or if I should just be real with you guys.

And now that I’ve told you that…let’s go with real.

I’m having an off day. More specifically, a “Wow I’m a Giant Pregnant Lady” day. Feeling large but not very in charge. And just a little bit frustrated that I don’t get to look how I “want” to look when pregnant.

I know, boo hoo right? What a stupid thing to complain about. But the feeling is there, and I can’t pretend it’s not.

Don’t get me wrong: I still feel healthy, and even fit. I’m working out–probably more than at any earlier point in this pregnancy, actually–eating pretty well, keeping my stress levels down, and doing everything in my power to ensure that this baby is born healthy and strong. I’m checking off all the boxes.

But my body’s still ultimately in charge, and it’s doing what it thinks is best. My vanity is nowhere on its list of priorities, and it shouldn’t be.

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And yet…when I see other pregnant women with teeny-tiny bumps, or I read pregnancy updates from other bloggers listing teeny-tiny weight gain numbers (and workout stats that are impressive even for a non-preggo)…the feeling creeps back in. I should look like that.

The reality, of course, is that pregnancy is just as unique as every other element of our physical bodies. It looks different on everyone. It feels different on everyone. It is different for everyone.

And as much as our brains tell us we can, we can’t actually measure health by looking at people anyway–especially pregnant women. Some women are unable to put on weight during pregnancy because of intense illness. Some overdo it, physically, and end up with other problems–some potentially scary for the baby. Others watch what they eat and still pack on the pounds.

Pregnancy isn’t about living up to some ideal–either someone else’s or our own. It’s about getting out of our body’s way and letting it do what it’s designed to do, in whatever way it’s designed to do it.

So today, I’m working on humbling myself. This isn’t about me, anyway. It’s about the tiny human being my body is making, who I’ll get to meet in two months (!!).

In the meantime, I can blame hormones for all this, right??

xoxo

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel @ Curious Runner June 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for being real, I appreciate it! I still think it’s so amazing and often unbelievable what our bodies can do, especially when it comes to pregnancy. You actually DO look amazing but I totally know exactly where you are coming from! Pregnancy can be tough! But it’s also such a huge miracle! I hope you feel better about yourself and enjoy these last two months. So exciting!
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Kim June 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

Thanks Rachel! I agree that pregnancy is an unbelievable thing–I have to focus on appreciating that. Thanks for the reminder!! :)

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char eats greens June 12, 2014 at 9:25 pm

I love you. And, I think it’s totally ok to feel this way! It’s human nature. I actually saw a pregnancy belly picture from a blogger recently that actually made me feel sick to my stomach for how small they were for how far they were in pregnancy. So consider yourself in a better position! And plus, you look amazing (which I know you know!), but I totally get having an ‘off’ day. You deserve it!!!
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Kim June 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

Thanks Char! I love you for saying all that! :) I think we all just get used to “you’re so small!” being this huge compliment during pregnancy, which suggests that the opposite is not a compliment–but really, they’re all just observations that people feel compelled to make for whatever reason. :) I’ve recovered now! Only 2 more months, who cares, right??

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emma @ be mom strong June 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

amen! great post. we are all different people and are all creating different people! You look fab and never think otherwise!
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Lindsey I June 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Thank you!!! I just had a melt down Sunday night about this very topic. Totally scared my husband when I burst into tears for no apparent reason. I’m so glad I am not alone in these thoughts. You had excellent points and perspective. love. it.
Good luck with the final trimester!

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Rosi June 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

When I saw this I knew I wanted to read and comment. GREAT POST! I remember during my first pregnancy constantly having that body image struggle. I knew I was going to gain weight, I was pregnant duh! But still, I think I cried at every doctor’s visit. And like you I would see others with low weight gain, etc and it was hard. I would have little talks with myself what felt like almost daily to remind me that being pregnant is about my fitness level or how I look, it’s about creating a healthy, strong, happy baby. You look happy and healthy and that’s what matters. I know you know that but you are definitely not the only pregnant woman to have these thoughts! We’ve all been there, are there, or will be there again! ;)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Thanks Rosi! Even though I know I’m not alone, it somehow still feels that way sometimes. I’m just trying to keep my attitude positive and watch the self-talk. An occasional bad day is doable, but I don’t want this bringing me down for the next 2+ months! Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your experience!

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megan June 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

I feel ya – I had to stop getting on Pinterest maternity boards, it just made me feel bad about myself when I should feel awesome. I gained 50 pounds despite working out 5/6 days a week until the day before I delivered, your body does what it does during pregnancy. You look fantastic, enjoy your bump!

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Marielle June 10, 2014 at 11:26 am

You look great and are super active and healthy! It’s hard not to compare yourself to others for sure, but just remember how much you do and how healthy your little one will be!
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome June 9, 2014 at 11:15 pm

First of all, you look amazing! I know you’re not fishing for compliments but I just had to tell you :-)
Second, I MAJORLY struggled with body image and comparison when I was pregnant. To the point where I wouldn’t eat as much as I normally would and would wear dresses with flip flops when I had a dr. appointment so I would weigh less. Silly right!?! Oh not to mention waking up at 3:45 to go to the gym before work so I could make sure to get in a run. Looking back I realize how silly it was and am planning to try my hardest to be much more relaxed the next time around. Whenever that is…
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

Thank you for sharing that Giselle!! I’m 100% sure that you looked fabulous preggo, so it’s pretty powerful to hear that even you struggled with this! I’m sure a lot of it is just our heads messing with us. And I’m definitely putting some of the blame on hormones, because I already feel a lot better today. Can’t wait until it’s your turn again!! :) :)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

To get pregnant, not to struggle with body image, of course!!!

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Jade June 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Why yes, yes you may blame hormones! I’m in the same mind set and although I don’t look so big in photos compared to my head, I feel the opposite. This pregnancy is totally different from the first and I’m just way too exhausted all the time after work to do some work outs like I did last time. When the kiddo goes to bed, so do I! The comparison game is too cruel but because we are a vanity based society it is so hard to stop it! And I agree, I see some pregnant ladies and just am amazed at what they are capable of (and then those that have additional kids too…) waa waa. Got to get humble, just like you said.
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:41 am

I hear you–every word! I’m actually feeling a lot better about everything today, so I’m definitely blaming the hormones. Not that I’m suddenly perfectly content, but there are some serious ups and downs in the pregnancy business. Hang in there Jade, we’re almost there! :)

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Danielle June 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I so appreciate this! I’m 7 months pregnant with my 3rd, and feeling like a giant most days! I know I shouldn’t worry about how I look, but it’s hard to let that go.
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

Exactly! It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone, although I wish neither of us were worrying about it. Hang in there Danielle, we’re in the home stretch! :)
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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine June 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Your beautiful and you baby is going to be one happy healthy little love! How you feel is only temporary and will be o so worth it! XOXO
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:37 am

Thanks Rebecca–I’m trying to beat that into my head, haha!

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Kristen @ Mapping It All Out June 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I don’t have children yet but I often wonder what will happen when I get pregnant. It is tough to read how much or little others are gaining, but as you said, your body is in charge of it all.

It’s inspiring to read how much you’re doing to stay active while pregnant, especially getting certifications!

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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

Thanks Kristen :)

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Katie @ running4cupcakes June 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm

the comparison trap gets to all of us at times (pregnant or not!), but just like you said, it’s all about recognizing those thoughts and then being the best person you can be and stopping the comparison. because no one else is just like you. :)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

Did I say that? I think you just said it so much better! Haha. But great point–the comparison game is just so ugly in general. Blah. :)

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Jessica @ Prayers and Apples June 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I think you look gorgeous and fit :) I’m sure all pregnant women have the same thoughts.. but blame the hormones, because I think you look great! :)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

Oh thank you Jessica. :)

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