I’m going to be honest with you all today.
Not that I’m usually dishonest, but this isn’t a “share every detail of my life” kind of blog. So sometimes things get left out.
But this is something that I think is important to share with other moms-to-be, future moms to be, and just women in general. Because while we are all force fed images every day of so called “perfect” women with perfect bodies, who smile with perfectly bleached teeth and flaunt their perfectly glowing skin, the rest of us are here, on some days just trying to survive.
We know that these images aren’t real, because we also have marketing vigilantes like Aerie telling us in all caps that their models -gasp- aren’t photo shopped. And I love them for it, but also some small part of me hates that that has to be such a big deal. And let’s face it, most of their models still look “perfect”.
And that’s what brings me to today, because my pregnant brain is having a really hard time with these images lately, even more so than usual. Because not only am I shown visions of the perfect female, but I’m also told that I’m supposed to be this radiant, glowing goddess of procreation, maintaining that perfect tan, perfect smile, all while sporting a perfectly perfect bump.
I’ll tell you one thing: it doesn’t work like that.
My body is changing in ways I never imagined, and I’m just at past the halfway point– I’ve got a long way to go with this whole baby growing thing. I don’t feel like I’m glowing or radiant– I feel like I look tired (I am). I don’t feel like I have a cute little bump growing, I feel like I have a cute little bump, plus a little more in the thighs, some love handles that have shown up out of nowhere, and an extra “plumpness” to my face. Glowing? I’m not sure. Growing everywhere? Absolutely.
And this, my friends, is difficult. It’s not that difficult physically, after all I’m well within the healthy weight gain range for this point in my pregnancy, and I’m lucky to be feeling pretty good. But it’s difficult mentally and emotionally, especially after fighting my mind and body for so long in my younger years.
I’ve worked extremely hard for the past several years to be at peace with a body I love, even if it isn’t “perfect”. It’s strong, it’s a machine, and it has helped me to accomplish some amazing things. I’ve hit a point in my health and fitness where I’ve been just about the exact same size for about 5 years now– this is my body’s happy place that allows me to lift heavy things, eat delicious foods, and feel great about myself consistently.
And now this is all changing before my eyes. In fact, the change is so rapid I can see differences literally from one day to the next. For someone who’s life is based around moderation and balance, this is jarring. It doesn’t feel like my body, and except for the little bump and the kicks I feel, I’m having a hard time welcoming it as the new me, even if only temporary.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change this for the world, and I feel beyond fortunate to be growing a healthy baby girl. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing that I feel lucky to be able to experience. But if I’m being totally honest here, I don’t feel amazing all of the time. I’m learning to deal with the changes, and I’m learning to accept my rapidly expanding self with grace.
I may not love my thighs every day right now, but that has to be ok. We’re told to love our changing bodies and embrace the changes that are occurring because they are a part of this amazing and beautiful process of creating new life. But at the same time, pregnant women are often told to remain perfect, even though much of this is far out of our control, no matter how healthy our lifestyle. But it’s ok to not love every moment. It’s ok to be scared of the changes that are occurring. It’s ok to wonder what will happen to your body after this is all said and done.
I’m not saying that I lament these body changes day in and day out, but I’d be lying if I said these thoughts never crossed my mind. And I think it’s important to talk about it, because it’s important for other women to know that it’s possible, and perfectly ok, to love being pregnant but still be unsure about all of these changes. I’d love to tell you that my body is a temple and that I love the way it looks no matter what, but that would not be the truth. I have days where I don’t love what I see, just like most other women out there pregnant or not. I have recently had days where I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the body I know, simply because things are changing so fast.
I suppose the point of this post is simple: it’s ok to feel imperfect even while truly loving yourself. It’s ok to be scared of changes that you can’t control, even if those changes mean that you are creating a beautiful life. So if you are pregnant, know that those feelings don’t make you a bad mom or shallow woman– they make you human. And if you’re not pregnant but know someone who is, for the love of all that is good in the world, say three little words to her next time you see her: “You look great!”.
She will glow. I promise.