Learning to Love my Pregnant Body.
Several years ago, after months and years of denial and avoidance, I found myself standing on the scale facing a number I truly could not believe was a reflection of me.
When you gain weight slowly over time, it’s easy to not realize just how out of hand things have gotten. You feel your jeans getting tighter, but you blame bloating or the winter weather. For every pair of pants that is difficult to button, there is always the hint of reality in the background, quickly covered up with excuses or “tomorrows.”
After years of poor diet and little exercise, my tomorrow finally became a today. And slowly but surely, the weight came off little by little. I reached one goal, and then another. Eventually I set new goals, and fell in love with fitness and nutrition. What started as a desire to look better physically, became a transformation of my whole life – emotionally, romantically, and professionally.
My attitude was different, and my outlook was bright. I loved looking in the mirror and trying on clothes. I knew that my new body had not come easy or genetically – it was the product of hours, weeks, and years of hard work in both the gym, and inside of my head. I was really proud of myself.
Since initially getting into shape, falling back out of shape has always been one of my bigger fears. When I finally reached my goals, I made a promise to myself that life would never go back to the way it was before. For me, it has never been so much about the way the rest of the world sees me, but more about how being fit has brought a level of confidence to all areas of my life.
Even in the past few years, my body has continued to change and adapt to life and age. Now 30, I don’t see my body toning quite as quickly as it did when I was 27, and the ever-increasing pace of life has made it difficult to put in the many hours at the gym that I once did. But even so, I’ve maintained a level of fitness I have felt good about, and have been comfortable with what I saw both on the scale and in the mirror.
So getting pregnant has always been something that I knew would be an emotional challenge for me. Please don’t get me wrong, I am both grateful and humbled to get to enjoy this journey. Finally experiencing it for myself, I believe now more than ever that life truly is a miracle.
But I can’t pretend that watching my body grow and change each day has not been somewhat unsettling at times. After working so hard to achieve goals I never thought were possible, it is hard to step on the scale and see numbers that bring back difficult memories. Of course I realize that weight gain and growth are a natural and normal part of pregnancy, but it is one that most definitely also comes with its own set of emotions.
I get the feeling that dealing with a new pregnant body is something many women struggle with, and yet we are too afraid to speak up and admit it. But I am willing to step out there and say that this is not easy for me. I love the baby inside of me a little more each day, and if he needed me to gain 200 pounds for him, I would. But every morning I wake up and walk into a closet filled with clothes…
Knowing that only one small stack will actually fit my new curves and expanding waistline.
I have a feeling that once my belly is more round, and the nursery is all set up and ready to go, all of these changes will feel more comfortable. Right now I sort of feel trapped between the old version of me that I knew so well, and the new unknown version of me that still feels far away.
My saving grace through all of this has been Casey, who tells me I am gorgeous every single day – no matter how dumpy my maternity pants, or how ill-fitting my t-shirt. I’m scared of what my body will look like in two months. I’m even more scared of what my body will look like once the baby arrives. I also realize that no matter what, the healthy arrival of our baby boy is the most important thing that I can focus on right now.
So I’m going to continue to keep eating my best, moving as much as I can, and stepping on the scale a little less often. Learning to embrace each change and curve is a challenge, but just one of the many I am happy to face on this incredible journey to motherhood.