Last week we had a play date at a local park with a friend and her two little ones. It was lovely and we had a great time. The kids all got on well, Miss Belle was really adventurous (for her!) and even went over the wobbly wooden bridge. And for the first time ever she went on a zip wire! A monumental moment, I think you’ll agree. I sat her on the seat, she crossed her legs and held the pole and I ran alongside her. She was laughing her head off having the time of her life, and so was I. My friend videoed it for me so I could show Matt. But when I played it back, instead of feeling happy, my first reaction was to feel a little bit sad.
Learning to accept body changes during pregnancy
I was wearing maternity leggings which I thought were pretty baggy around the front and a dress/tunic thing. What the video showed was the dress clinging to my lumpy body. My leggings looked like they were digging in around my back fat and at the side, showing my love handles in all their glory. Yes I’m 16 weeks pregnant. Yes I’m at that awkward slightly crappy phase where you just look a little bit fat. Like maybe you’ve just put too much weight on, not that you have something the size of an apple in your tummy.
I was sad that the film that should have made me super happy, made me sad. It’s made me really self-conscious.
I knew I had put on a bit more weight at this point compared to when I was pregnant with Miss Belle. The nausea was so bad that all I can do to stop feeling ill was eat, pretty much every 45 minutes. And when I say eat, I mean eat all the carbs. I also cut down my exercise from two to three times a week, to absolutely nothing, for about nine weeks. It’s not surprising that the increase in toast, bread, crisps and biscuits and the lack of exercise, has had an affect.
You might think so what? We’ve been there, pregnancy is a bit rubbish to start with sometimes. I know that. But I am really struggling to accept how my body is changing during pregnancy this time. I don’t feel I have a proper bump yet. I just feel, well, fat. Yes, of course you know I like cake (I’ve made quite a lot of it recently!) but I’ve always liked cake and really I’m not eating that much more than I was, now I’m feeling better. I don’t know if I feel under some sort of pressure this time to look “better”. I don’t think I felt under any pressure last time. Maybe it’s because I see other pregnant women posing for lovely photos on Instagram. Last time I wasn’t even on Instagram. It’s that bloody social media platform again!
I am going to start swimming regularly now I’m feeling better. I went last week and it felt good to do some proper exercise again. Plus, now that my energy levels are higher I’ll be able to walk more. And can I just add, that although I’m writing this from a whiney “I look so fat” mindset, it’s actually not just about that, it’s about health too. I was considerably out of puff running alongside that zip wire and that wasn’t good. My fitness levels have plummeted. Part of me wants to keep as active as possible because I know it’s good for labour. When I was pregnant with Miss Belle I was as active as I could be, working in a desk job full-time. And it stood me well, having a relatively straightforward, active labour. I really want that this time too.
When I replayed that video again, I saw Miss Belle having fun. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care what her Mummy looks like. It’s such a shame that we always feel so critical of ourselves. My husband always tells me to be kinder on myself, and I know I need to be. I love how happy she is in the film, I just wish my heart hadn’t sunk a little bit when I watched it for the first time.
This really isn’t meant to be a pity post. I’m not writing this to hear people tell me I look fine. I just wanted to get it down on paper (well, screen) and say that actually, if you’re struggling with your changing body, you’re not alone. Learning to accept how our bodies change in pregnancy is hard. Yes, I know there are thousands of women who would probably want to shoot me now for moaning. They’d give their right arm to be in this position and I’m not taking it for granted. I know how lucky we are.
I just need something to make me feel a bit better and know that I’m not alone. Can you relate to feeling like this? Did you eventually accept your body changes during pregnancy? Have you got any suggestions of how I can make myself feel better? If so pop them in the comments. I’ve had a pregnancy massage last week which helped my aching back a bit, but I don’t know, maybe I need to get my nails done or something? Maybe I just need to get a more flattering wardrobe!?