pregnancy body image

I am six months pregnant and it seems that everyone has something to say about my weight, what I am eating and how I look.  It’s like people are obsessed with my size; especially the size of my belly! Why can’t they just ask me how I feel? Or if I am excited about becoming a mommy in just a short three months? If you have ever been pregnant or are currently pregnant, you may have experienced similar comments. Perhaps you’ve even been criticized for being too small.

I have a friend that just delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl; coincidentally on my birthday. She shared with me that many people said she needed to gain weight and that she was “too small” throughout her pregnancy. What do these people know? If the mom-to-be is taking care of herself, eating well and getting ample nutrients then it’s none of their business. My friend is super conscious about what she puts in her body and the end result was proof that she wasn’t too small or too big. She was just right.

pregnancy body image
our baby’s first photo together

Personally, I have spent YEARS letting go of obsessive thinking surrounding my weight and body image. Once I became pregnant that shifted. At first you couldn’t tell I was pregnant. At about 16 weeks, I could notice a difference and my pants were getting snug. I was entering that “awkward phase” of pregnancy where you can tell that you are pregnant (and putting on weight), but others can’t. I wanted to wear a big sign that said “Hey, I’m not just chubby, I am pregnant!”

Eager to leave this awkward stage of pregnancy, I went shopping for clothes that fit my changing body. This was an uncomfortable experience for me. Nothing looked right. I felt big and you couldn’t see “my baby bump” yet.  I was fearful you never would.

Here reinstated thoughts of weight gain and body image. How could it not? I was pregnant. Feelings of self-consciousness overwhelmed me as I tried on various loose-fitting outfits. Eventually I selected a few pieces that were comfortable.

It has been 10 weeks now since my first experience in a fitting room and things are progressing quite nicely. We decided to find out the gender at our 20 week appointment-we are having a boy! My husband and I couldn’t be happier. All of his organs, fingers and toes are in the right places and we are so grateful.

This is what’s important. Not a number on a scale or a tight and toned body. The health and well-being of our growing baby boy. Still, my pregnancy app kindly pointed out that my weight gain was “excessive” as I approached the 24 week mark. I tried not to let it phase me, but it did. To me, it said “you are failing”. Knowing better, I brushed it off and joked about the application’s hypocrisy with friends and family.

As I was heading home from a recent business trip to Toronto, the women behind the airport’s concession counter asked, “how far along are you”? To that, I answered, “I am six months”. She said, “wow you are a good size!” A good size? WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN!?!?!?!?

pregnancy body image issues
in Toronto, May 15′

This is the third person over the past month that told me “I was a good size”. Do these people realize that I still workout five days a week, eat a predominantly plant-based diet and am taking the best care of myself that I can? I even gave up wine for Pete’s sake! The answer is no, they don’t.

We are humans and we sometimes say stupid things. I have to remember that as I embark on the final months of my pregnancy. I am the only one who knows how I feel and what I am doing to care for my growing baby and the body he calls home.

If I didn’t have to go on a scale again, I wouldn’t; but it is routine at each monthly visit to the OB/GYN. Therefore making pregnancy hyper-focused on weight. This can be tough for some women, especially if they struggled with their weight and body image in the past.

Turns out I survived the awkward stage of pregnancy and have a full blown “nice sized’ baby bump now. To all of you that are chomping at the bit to comment on a pregnant woman’s size, you may want to think twice.  Most every woman has struggled with body image in some form and we all have our own story.

 

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. Brush it off, mama!! Trust me when I say this: the vast majority of people have NO filter. At all. With each of my four pregnancies, I gained differently, carried differently, and we were blessed with four healthy babies. Do you know what I did? I put away the scale, the charts, the pregnancy books (blech!!!)… and I just enjoyed the precious little time I had with my tiny miracles before I had to share them with the rest of the world. When all else fails, slap on a smile and invest in ear plugs. 😉

    1. Kristen-great feedback. As a first-time mom, it’s difficult to put the pregnancy books / applications etc. away. However, I do not rely heavily on those anymore and I have found much relief. I simply try my best to take care of myself and my growing baby! Your boys are all beautiful and healthy, so your advice is taken to heart.

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m sure people generally mean well and you should take their comments as positive.

    At 27 weeks into my first pregnancy now, I would actually welcome comments of any kind on my bump. As a fat girl, I think most people are scared to make any comment in case I was not pregnant and they might offend me. Nothing I can do about that but I love my body right now and the amazing things it is doing. Ultimately, that is all that matters.

    1. Hey Tina- great feedback. I completely get what you are saying- I definitely take things with a grain of salt and the comments for the most part are fun to hear! Congratulations on your pending arrival!! 🙂

  3. You look radiant Ashley. When heightened self consciousness is already present, the comments can understandably be irritating. You will have a beautiful newborn baby boy soon and all the little annoyances will seem so silly compared to the little blessing in your life. I hope eberything goes well and your little boy is as healthy as can be!

    1. Thank you so much Aisha! I completely agree with your feedback 🙂 Hope you are doing well!!

  4. […] Not really, no, but everyone will comment on your size. See I was “in-line” with the suggested weight gain up until my 3rd trimester, and then I started to become a little concerned. I wrote an entire post about it on my blog – it’s insightful… http://ashleygilday.com/2015/05/14/pregnancy-obsessed-with-my-size/ […]

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