Don’t Hate Your Pregnancy Body

I was standing in the grocery line yesterday morning and noticed that all of the weekly magazines had images of a celebrity that is currently pregnant – and not a flattering shot in the lot, “I hate my pregnant body” I believe was one of the “quotes”, or something like that. I don’t know this celeb and have NOT interviewed her, I just looked at a headline.  The weeklies have had more images of pregnant celebs over the past couple of years.  I take note because as Co-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month® I tend to pay more attention to anyone that is pregnant. Heck, to be honest, I’m always noticing women around me that are pregnant or that are carrying/strollering their little ones…I love pregnancy and babies, I guess that is part of why PAM is my passion.

Getting back to the weekly rags, the images this week have NOT been toasting to the robust figure of this one celeb.  Interestingly they aren’t referring to her cute little bump like they have been tending to with the Princess.  What’s up with that?  Do you have images of yourself when you were pregnant?  Are you pregnant now?  What do you see when you look in a full-length mirror?  Do you hate your baby body?

On this blog and site we talk about celebrating pregnancy.  Wednesday is hump day and bump day on our facebook and we ask women to post images each week of their amazing bellies.  How many pictures do you have of you?  I must admit, the majority of the images of me when I was preggo I don’t like.  I have a couple of fine art type photography shots that are super cool, and one of me at 6 months that I LOVE, but every other shot I tend to look at and shudder.  Why?  Because I see a similar body to what is on the magazines this week in those images of me, a very big, double D bust, round buttocks and full faced/cheeked woman with wild and thick curly hair.  She doesn’t look like my image of myself.

My body CHANGED when I was pregnant.  I mean CHANGED.  I had been thin my entire life, very small bust, B on a good day while taking the pill.  Flat stomach.  High cheekbones.  Straight hair, I actually permed throughout most of high school and college.  Heck, my feet grew ½ inch.  I gained 10lbs during the 1st trimester!  By the end of my term I was at least 60lbs over where I started, to be honest, I stopped counting.  When I saw images of myself, I was not happy.  I was surprised.  It didn’t look like me at all. 

But I’m not a reality TV celeb.  My image wasn’t on every weekly magazine in the grocery store showing all of those changes.  I wasn’t facing that image daily.  True I wasn’t looking in the mirror at myself either.  Instead, I was rubbing my belly daily in the shower and connecting to my growing baby.  I was doing prenatal yoga and laughing at the changes in my balance and center of gravity from week to week.  I was giggling at my need to wear my draw string skirts UNDER my belly.  I was enjoying the life that was growing in me and when I would see a shot of myself, would take a double take, and then shrug and say, “whatever.”  I didn’t let it pull my joy down.

I feel for Kim this week…I know nothing about her, at all (I don’t have a TV for going on 4 years now). But the shots on the covers of the magazine I saw yesterday are not celebrating a pregnant body.  And it is difficult to see yourself and not recognize your body.  I don’t know how I would have felt if there had been images of me from every angle while pregnant, probably it would have been incredibly humbling.  But even in those shots of her this week, I see the beauty.  She is voluptuous.  Curvy.  A baby is growing.  A BABY is growing.  It is miraculous ladies let us not forget.

The body changes, it is supposed to.  Some women stay small and some grow big.  I grew big, did you?  And afterwards, the body changes again.  Perhaps never back to before, perhaps smaller than before.  Perhaps bigger than before.  Post partum bodies are the topic for another blog.  Today I say let us embrace the largeness that is pregnancy.  It is a BIG EXPERIENCE.  A baby is growing.  Please don’t forget that.  How awesome!

Alisa Donner, LCSW, MSW, Co-Founder of PAM

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