I have never had the greatest mental imagine of my own body. As an obese child I was insecure, discouraged, and didn’t view myself in such a positive light. Sports changed my body image as I learned to love my physical strength and abilities, but I still struggled with my body weight.
Losing weight off and on these past 7 years has been a body image roller coaster. I’ve gone from struggling to find the beauty in my body to loving who I am and back again. Although I wasn’t near my goal weight, I had to put aside my insecurities and found true peace before getting pregnant.
The moment I found out we were expecting everything changed. I didn’t instantly love my body, but I realized that my body had an entirely new purpose. No longer was I eating for myself or for pleasure, instead I was eating in order to provide for my growing baby. The first trimester brought about a wave of emotions. I was overjoyed to be expecting and yet scared about the weight I was going to put on over the next 10 months.
The second trimester was full of so much joy! I loved seeing my body grow and change and although I was putting on weight each week, I can’t say I cared all that much. I watched the scale week to week, ate the best I could, and continued to workout a few times a week. My growing body was a reflection of my growing baby and I was in love.
The third trimester has been the most trying time of my pregnancy so far. I feel great physically, but it has really hard to keep a positive body image these last few months. In my head I don’t think I look like I’ve gained all that much weight, but then I see myself in the mirror or in photos and get discouraged.
Seeing photos of myself from my baby shower this weekend was really what made me realize how polluted my body image has become during my third trimester. The third trimester has brought about insecurities I haven’t felt in years, but despite my body image, I am overjoyed about baby growing inside of me. Gaining weight is inevitable and although I fully connect with why my body is going through so many changes, it is difficult to feel and look so unlike the way I perceive myself to be.
The reality is, each trimester has brought about a different body image and emotion. I’ve gone from fearful to excited to discouraged in 8 months and still have 8 weeks to go. For now, I know I need to focus on what I can control (diet, exercise, and mindset) and need to be as kind to my amazing body as possible. I may not like how different I feel at the 32 week mark or be happy with how chubby my face is, but the baby that kicks my growing belly each day reminds me to stay positive and to focus on the joys of pregnancy.
Pregnancy has shown me the full spectrum of my own body image and I hope to love my body for all is has done, all it is doing, and all that it still needs to do moving forward. This body, no matter how I perceive it, is a beautiful, beautiful body… I just have to be kind to it!