I am really interested in the topic of body image in pregnancy at the moment (for obvious reasons). I have been quite disturbed by some of the things I have read lately on some of the popular pregnancy forums.
My personal thoughts…
In some ways my personal reaction to the changes in my body has taken me by surprise. I have always been negative about what I see in the mirror, and struggled to focus on anything but the negatives I could see. My body image started to change when I found out I was pregnant for the first time last November. It was an amazing time. For the first time I felt truly in tune with my body. I knew I was pregnant really early on – I felt changes in my body in the days following conception, and by the time I took a test 2 weeks later, I knew what the result would be. Unfortunately that first pregnancy ended in miscarriage 7 weeks later. While this was a really traumatic event for us, I was comforted by the fact that the whole thing happened completely naturally, with no medical intervention. Even at the moment I realised I was definitely losing the baby, something inside me said that it was happening for a reason. I was able to trust my body in my darkest hour.
So fast forward to February when I became pregnant for the second time. Again, I felt the changes in my body immediately, although not as strongly as my body hadn’t completely reset from the first time. I tried to relax through the early weeks leading up to my 12 week scan and trust that whatever happened was for the best. The relief we felt when we saw a strong little heartbeat at the 12 week scan was unbelievable.
From this point onwards, the physical changes have stepped up a gear. My belly became rounded and very quickly my usual clothes became too tight. This was a strange feeling. Usually, I would respond to this by trying to hide it while I lost a couple of pounds. This time, I was proud of it. In fact I was willing it to grow! I loved going out to buy maternity clothes for the first time (love those elasticated waistbands!).
Now, at 28 weeks pregnant, I have a beautiful big round belly. And its only going to get bigger! There is lost of advice about how much weight you should gain in pregnancy. And to be honest, I have ignored most of it. The midwife weighed me at 7 weeks, and I was weighed at my first scan at 12 weeks (I had put on 1.5kg) but since then, nothing. Instead, my bump gets measured at each midwife appointment (from 25 weeks onward) and is plotted on a personalised graph. As long as the measurements stay within the upper and lower limits on the graph everyone is happy. I did step on the scales out of interest for this post and have now gained 6.5kg since my 12 week scan. Not bad when you consider what my body is now carrying around!
I know I will gain weight faster and faster over the coming weeks and plan to go with the flow and enjoy it.
If you are reading this and are pregnant or planning to be pregnant my advice is to stay off the scales. Eat a healthy balanced diet (as far as your sickness will allow you to) and keep active. Trust your body through this process – its really quite liberating!