Dealing with Body Changes
In a society that emphasizes appearance, and worships thinness, it can be difficult to watch helplessly as not only your abdomen expands but as you also see changes to almost every other part of your body. Learning to accept and love a larger body can be a challenge for many women.
Pregnancy can be difficult to adjust to for women who have struggled with body image all their lives, but it can be equally difficult for women who have never had conflicting feelings about their body. Whether you've always been thin, have always been overweight, or have yo-yoed, it can be difficult to embrace your new shape. Perhaps the thing that is most frustrating is that suddenly your body is out of your control. People are used to controlling and shaping their bodies through exercise and diet, but in pregnancy, you can't prevent change.
Some women are really displeased with the changes in their body and think themselves to be fat, misshapen, or unattractive. Other women thoroughly enjoy pregnancy, reveling in their new shape and enjoying the fact that for once in their lives they do not have to struggle to retain their figure.
If you have an eating disorder, it is essential that you tell your healthcare provider. Failing to eat enough, or eating and purging, can deprive your baby of essential nutrients, and you could face miscarriage, pre-term labor, birth defects, or a low birth weight baby. If you are an overeater, it is also important that you work with your health-care provider to limit your weight gain.
If you are feeling uncomfortable with your burgeoning body, or the prospect of pregnancy changes yet to come, there are things you can do to continue to feel good about yourself and your physical changes. First, take positive steps for your health. Doing things that are good for your body, such as exercising and eating healthy foods, will make you feel good physically and will give you a mental and emotional boost.
Take the time to remember that your body is performing a miracle. Appreciate the miracle, even if you aren't so pleased with the outward consequences. Remember that every pound you gain is another important benefit to your baby and that as your body changes, so does your baby. Your baby loves you and your body exactly the way it is.
Try to focus on the pregnant glow you're giving off, and accentuate the parts of your body that you appreciate. Many women are excited to see their breasts get larger, for example. Touching your own body will help you feel more comfortable with it, and the tactile connection will bring together your body and your mind. Try to be accepting and appreciative of the changes you experience, and remember there are many women who cannot ever experience this. Pregnancy is giving the gift of your body to another human being. Once the pregnancy is over, you can start to regain your body — the gift is not permanent.