Over the course of our trip to Hawaii I hit the 22 week mark and suddenly started feeling really, really pregnant. (Note to those who have had kids already: I know I’m not that big yet, and I’m going to get a whole lot bigger, but this is my first time, so I have nothing to compare it to.)
I know pregnancy brings up a variety of feelings for women with regard to their changing bodies: fear, joy, peace, freedom, elation, panic, frustration, and even more thoughts: “My body will never look the same,” “I’m gaining too much weight,” “nature is a beautiful thing and so is my changing body,” etc. Many of these negative thoughts probably stem from the unusual amount of pressure on pregnant women to look a certain way, much of which comes from the tabloid covers over the last couple of years about celebrities either gaining “too much” weight while pregnant or about “getting their bodies back” after pregnancy.
This, unsurprisingly, pisses me off. I don’t know about other pregnant women, but I haven’t lost my body, so I don’t need to get it “back.” My body is right here with me. It’s carrying around and taking care of and growing my baby daughter. And after I give birth my body will still be around, this time holding and feeding and soothing my baby daughter. My body is not going anywhere.
But I know what the tabloids mean. And I know the tabloids are mean. They are creating all sorts of negative thoughts in pregnant women everywhere, and I am doing my best to create my own better, kinder, more helpful thoughts.
This isn’t always easy. I am not completely free from thinking I’m gigantic. From worrying that I’m gaining too much weight. From putting pressure on myself about my body. However, I do have one really good thing going for me: I know that worrying about it will not improve a single thing in my life. At all. If I worry about gaining too much weight, I’ll most likely put pressure on myself not to gain weight, make some restrictive food choices, eat way too much in response to that, and gain weight. The thoughts I think create my reality (and the same goes for you!).
This morning I sat down and used a little bit of Self-Coaching 101 to try to come up with some really positive thoughts to hold onto if I get into a spot where I’m struggling with my growing and changing body.
Result I want: To love and respect my body no matter what. That includes talking to it nicely, thinking about it kindly, and taking care of it physically with movement, healthy foods, stretching, etc.
Actions I have to take to get that result: Say nice things to myself and my body every single day. Catch myself quickly in negative talk, let go of pressure to look a certain way/be a certain size/weigh a certain amount. Buy foods that I enjoy that support health. Exercise in a manner I enjoy.
Feelings I have to have in order to take those actions: Peace, calmness, positivity
Thoughts I have to have to create those feelings: Everything is as it should be. I am beautiful and wonderful as I am. I deserve the best care possible.
I’m also going to remind myself of something that I know, deep down in my soul, is completely true, pregnant or not:
And that’s how I’m trying to keep my thoughts clean and maintain a positive body image throughout my pregnancy.