How pregnancy has changed my view on body image...

 
 
 
 

Growing up I was always on the more confident side when it came to my body image, however, I am only human and as a woman being raised in a culture and society that likes to tell you what is "wrong" with you every turn you take, I too have had my moments of insecurity. There is that scene in the movie Mean Girls that I think every woman can relate to, where they each stand in front of the mirror and pinpoint all the things they wish were different about their bodies. It is so sad, but an honest reflection of how we often treat ourselves. Like I said, in regards to body image, I was always on the more confident side, pretty comfortable in my own body. But as I became an adult and my body started going through inevitable changes, I started dealing with more and more insecurities. I developed a self-deprecating humor in regards to my body. This joking about my body became my coping mechanism, as it was a challenge for me to accept and figure out this new woman body I was developing. I have talked about this several times on my blog before. As a teen I was very athletic and active and could eat whatever I wanted, and then around the age of 22 my metabolism completely changed as well as my overall lifestyle. As an adult, most of us just don't have the time to play three sports year round like we did in high school haha ;) The reality for me was that I couldn't keep my 17 year old body forever, and I had to let go of that idea even though the world I live in tells you, you should look like a preteen as an adult. The funny thing about ideal body types anyways is that they are always changing decade to decade, but I guess that is an entirely different post and I will spare you.

While I have been figuring out that transition over the last few years, I have seen my body change yet again as I experience pregnancy. At first this was really hard for me. My breasts and hips grew so fast I had stretch marks within the first few months. About a month ago I noticed some more developing underneath my stomach. Up until that point I only had the ones on my hips and had none on my stomach area, and so I was surprised to see them. But I guess I shouldn't be when you realize just how big my belly actually is! haha The weight gain, stretch marks, water retention, swelling, and hormonal acne that has decided to show up, all came to a head (ironic choice of words) one night and I got a little emotional. I didn't even recognize myself anymore. Who was this person?! Trevor was there and told me that I was being crazy and that I was beautiful and not to worry so much about it all. He then started to express that he doesn't see why women get hung up on stretch marks. It made me really think about it. Why do we? How are they any different than birth marks really? And these are markings we earned doing something pretty amazing! His words helped me more than he knows.

While I still have my self-deprecating humor attached to these changes; calling myself a bloated hippo, or talking about my lack of jaw line, I have found something sweet attached to this experience. My body is changing for a very special and specific reason, to create life and give that life the best environment to thrive. It is a lot easier to be kinder to yourself when you go through body changes and adjustments when it is attached to something as sweet and as beautiful as a new little baby. On another evening, when my hormones were probably more in check, while oiling up my pregnant belly I stopped and stared at myself in the mirror and I had a moment that has never happened with me and my body before. I looked at myself and said, "this is beautiful." In that moment I didn't see the stretch marks on my hips, or bloated body, I just noticed these curves that represented womanhood, and life. It is the most positive body image I have ever had with myself. Ironic considering my list of complaints about my body right now are probably the longest I have ever had. While I am not perfect, at least now when I find myself having a weak moment about my body, I have taken myself back to that moment in the mirror.

I know that after this pregnancy my body will never be the same again, but I won't be the same again either. Pregnancy has started to change the way I view my body. After birth, everyone is always trying to achieve the look that they never had children, that is the ultimate goal. Women connect their dress size to their self worth. It is so hard to express the sentiment I am trying to get across without sounding like I am contradicting myself, but I think there is such a fine line and we as women cross it all the time and all too easily. At the end of the day we all want to be healthy, fit, and look good. I don't think there is anything wrong with trying and wanting to achieve that. In fact, I think it is what we should be doing and that it is the healthy way to be living. This pregnancy has taught me that my body should be celebrated and loved. To me that means I will treat it with respect by trying to feed it right and exercise. It also means that I will look at my stretch marks, or not as tight skin, and not feel embarrassed. I can look at that and say my body did it's job, and a well done one at that. I can view the changes in my body as experiences and not imperfections. The reality is, there is no such thing as perfection, so why view those things we can't change as anything but perfect parts of who we are? Especially since we all have them. Let's celebrate them! I have developed a new appreciation and love for my body throughout this experience, and I am so grateful for this new perspective as I am about to become a mother and want to pass on a healthy body image and confidence to my daughter. I know that I will have good days and bad days with these kinds of thoughts, but I also know that every time I look at my daughter's face... I will always be proud of my body and what it did. Our bodies are powerful creations from our Heavenly Father, and we should be nothing but honored and amazed at the capabilities and beauty in them. 

19 comments

  1. Amen! I have always had stretch marks and I've never had a baby! It has always bugged me when women would complain about stretch marks in pregnancy--your body is adjusting to creating another human, what do you expect?! You are a beautiful pregnant woman and like you said, you should be proud of every mark!

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    1. I had a few before too in-between my legs from puberty! It is a shame we put such an emphasis on not having them when they represent something so beautiful :)

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  2. yes!! pregnancy is beautiful and we need to love our bodies for being able to birth a human!!! my body is def never the same after i have babies... but it's mom bod, and i'm working it as you should too!! :)

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  3. I didn't expect all the stretch marks on my boobs and butt and thighs! They were a surprise. I later got them on my calves! haha. And I only have the tiniest white stretch marks on my belly, and that's where most women seem to dread getting them.

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    1. Isn't funny how they can really end up ANYWHERE! haha I have heard a few people now talking about getting them on their legs! My fewest are on my stomach too which is totally where I thought I would get all of them.

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  4. I made a comment the other day to my husband that hopefully I won't gain 60 pounds again with my next pregnancy like I did with my first. And he looked at me and said, "Your body will gain what it needs to gain." And it is so true. I can't hate what it takes to make a person. And it took me a while, but my stretch marks don't bother me anymore. In fact, I think it is kind of funny that I ended up with some on the back of my knees.

    You look absolutely beautiful, by the way. I know that isn't the purpose of this post, but you do.

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    1. It is true! For the most part, you tend to gain the same for all your pregnancies. That means something. I had a friend who ate healthy and worked out really well with one, and the other not so much, and she gained the same. Our bodies hold on to what it needs for those babies thats for sure!

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  5. I got teary as I read "this is beautiful". It is beautiful and amazing what our bodies can do as we create and nurture life. After I had Kira I had a nurse in the hospital tell me that I didn't have stretch marks I had the "stripes of Motherhood" much like a soldier who earns badges of honor. I have always loved that analogy and have never forgotten it. Love you!! xxoo

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    1. Like mother like daughter, because I got teary when it happened! haha Love that stripes of motherhood, that is what they represent after all.

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  6. having just had a baby, I couldn't agree more

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  7. This is so perfect! I have had such a hard time with the weight issue and everyones input on how much weight I should gain or not gain and how fast i'll lose it so this was just such a new light! I seriously couldn't agree more, having a baby is changing me in more ways than just actually having a baby, and its definetely for the better.

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    1. Oh man, doesn't everyone have an opinion on that? What is average anyways, I swear everyone I know gained more than the "average" they say! haha And yes, I love that these babies start working on us and changing us way before they get here :) We are SO close!

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  8. Amen! Life truly is a miracle in itself and to know OUR bodies create every piece of that beautiful baby you will be holding so soon is truly amazing! We should all have your outlook when it comes to this! You are being so strong and mature and honestly you truly are BEAUTIFUL! I have loved watching that belly grow! You are truly glowing!

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    1. Aw thanks Traci! It has been a mind trip watching it happen to myself. I totally "get" what everyone has been talking about all these years!

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  9. A well written and beautiful sentiment Alycia! And I love the picture! Can't wait to see the baby pics I know your mom will post!

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  10. It is so hard for so many women to love their body and many women find being pregnant a terrible experience as they see themselves as fat and not large with life, when I was young and pregnant I loved the way my body looked it helped that Tim told me often that he loved my big belly

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  11. I'm not a mama yet, but this post spoke so much to my heart. I suffer so much with worrying about weight, body image, and worth tied to those things. Thanks for speaking truth and encouragement to me, tonight! :) XO

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  12. Thanks for the useful information I would suggest that you learn with this video. Be helpful and get maximum knowledge about the Pregnancy. This Video'll suggest you : Signs of Pregnancy Before Missed Period

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