7 May 2017

Coping With Body Changes During Pregnancy

I don’t know why I’ve titled this post ‘coping with body changes during pregnancy’ because, well, I’m not coping brilliantly at the mo. In fact, I’m coping pretty bloody badly.

As I’ve mentioned (banged on about) before, I have low body confidence. It’s not a new thing that’s been sprung on me since being preggo either, it's been a long ol’ journey of me feeling shit about the way my body looks, believing that my eyes were deceiving me and monitoring the number on the scales like a hawk.

I was just starting to getting better, learning to trust myself (my eyes) and my ability to maintain my weight when BAM. I found out I was pregnant.

Initially I thought this may help me. Help me to view my body in a different way, a non-superficial way. To see my body as the amazing life-bearing vessel that it is. I thought I could learn to view pregnancy as many mums-to-be do. As a time to let go of the pressure to look a certain way, to ditch any body confidence woes and just accept the inevitable, natural changes that come with bearing a child. A time to ditch any guilt and think fuck it, if I want a Krispy Kreme, I'ma have a god damn Krispy Kreme, or two - original glazed obvs.

And don't get me wrong, I am in total awe of my body. Every time the little wriggler kicks I'm in amazement by the fact there's a baby, A REAL LIFE HUMAN BABY - my baby boy - growing inside me. I know how lucky we are. This little tyke is already so, so loved.

Yet whilst I marvel at the fact my body is growing a teeny tiny human without any input from me whatsoever, there's a horrible flip side: an overwhelming sense of lack of control.

Y'see, I had control over my weight and my body and it was helping me to accept it again, to feel comfortable in my own skin. But now that control has been instantly whipped away from me, I'm left feeling insecure and vulnerable. Like I'm being left in the dark. I feel like a guest in my own body.

I hate not knowing how much weight I'm going to gain, or what farm yard animal I may or may not resemble when I'm full term. Will I be 'all bump' like everyone seems to think or will everything expand along with my belly? Who knows. Every body, every pregnancy is different.

I realised just how much this was getting to me last week. I was out shopping with my Mum looking to pick up a few pieces (non-maternity as NOWHERE seems to have an in-store mat section) that would accommodate my bump, my new ample chest and see me through the next few months of my pregnancy. Mainly stuff suitable for work.

I tried EVERYTHING. Longline cami tops in a couple sizes larger, wrap dresses, oversized shirt dresses, oversized everything. Nothing looked quite right. I felt squat and frumpy, not like a glowy mumma-to-be.

My haul consisted of a measly 2 pairs of capri leggings, some plisse culottes, a blue floral wrap dress that isn't 'me' but looked half-decent on and one, yes ONE top for work, to wear with aforementioned leggings.

I cried the following morning. I told Ed that I felt hideous and that my all-too-familiar insecurities were flooding back. Of course, being the amazing husband he is, he kissed my belly and said that he thinks I look gorgeous and always will. Bump or no bump, swollen ankles or no swollen ankles. What a babe.

And whilst I believe he thinks that, It didn't stop me feeling as attractive as a forgotten piece of cheese that'd been left to rot in the depths of the fridge.

I was also crying because I feel guilty and selfish for thinking this way. I've had a trouble-free, healthy pregnancy so far and the price I'm having to pay for one of life's greatest gifts is so small. Like not worth worrying about. I know that I shouldn't give a shit about what I look like, as long as I'm giving bubs all that he needs.

But I can't help it. Does that make me a monster?...*prays that it doesn't*

Anyway yes, I had to write this post because I needed to get my thoughts out, and I'm publishing it in hope that it may help any ladies in a similar situation (massive hugs if that's you) to know that they're not alone.

On a side note, before I sign off and get back to my blanket den, I'm gonna share the things that I have been doing to make me feel chirpier and more like I've got a grip on the situation. They are:

Talking it out
As with writing this, expressing my thoughts to someone really helps. I find that feelings are much clearer, much easier to deal with and make sense of when they're out in the open and not muddled up in your own head.

Taking photos of my pregnancy bod
You know that old saying, 'the camera never lies' (lol whoever first said this obviously never anticipated filters and photoshop). Well, funnily enough I'm more likely to believe what I see when I look at a photo of myself, than my reflection in the mirror.

So what may be perceived as vanity; my outfit posts, my Insta #bumpwatch pics etc. are in fact helping me to see that actually, I don't look like a shapeless potato, I look pregnant.

Maintaining regular exercise and a healthy(ish) balanced diet
For both mine and baby's health I'd like to stay within the recommend pregnancy weight gain guidelines. As much as I can anyway - I'm aware it may not be 100% feasible as some days my appetite matches that of a teenage boy.

Still, by continuing to exercise several times a week, I feel like I've got SOME control, even on those pigging out days.

I've also made sure to surround myself with a supply of healthier snacks, whether I'm at work or at home. Granted, I'm not always going to choose an apple over a slice of cake (nor should I, it's all about balance) but having healthy alternatives to hand helps a great deal.

Thinking about the future
And breathe..This is all temporary. Before I know it, my little bundle of joy will be in my arms and my body (except my boobs) will be my own again. I can worry about getting back into shape then.

Although, I expect that I'll be more concerned about my lack of sleep and my WHY WON'T HE STOP CRYING FFS newborn than my spare tyre.

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