The challenge I wasn’t expecting in my pregnancy

Here we are — 33 weeks pregnant — with roughly about 7 weeks to go. While I feel like I have been pregnant for 3 years, the last few weeks have really flown by and I know the holidays are only going to speed things up even more.

I knew that pregnancy wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would change our lives drastically once the baby was here, but I honestly didn’t think much about the 9 month process before the baby arrived. IMG-3494

Pregnancy is humbling. It’s physically and emotionally draining and demanding and I don’t think women get enough credit for taking almost a year of their lives to go through it. I’ve spent the better part of my pregnancy throwing up, napping, and looking for ways to relieve my back pain. I’ve cried through both Wal-Mart commercials and CMT music videos, and I’ve felt emotions I didn’t even know were inside of me.

The thing I wasn’t prepared for, and the thing I don’t think many women talk about, is dealing with body image. We all know that our bodies are going to change and grow and morph to fit this new human, but you can’t be prepared for how you are going to handle all those changes.

Before I got pregnant, I was in the best shape I’ve been in. I was in a great workout groove, eating a balanced diet, and fitting better in my clothes than I have before. I’ve talked about it before so I won’t go into much detail again, but when I used to be overweight. I wasn’t in a great place emotionally and I buried myself in bad food, drinking, and not exercising. The last six years have been a constant journey of finding balance, fighting old food demons, and making space for health and fitness in my life.

For the first part of my pregnancy, I threw up just about everything I put inside my body except for bread and eggs. My mainly healthy diet went out the window and workouts slowed a little just because I was so nauseous all the time. The only positive I saw was that I didn’t gain any weight. This is when I started to be in a negative head space, and where I’ve stayed my entire pregnancy.

As my body has grown and put on weight, I’ve found myself burying my bump in layers, comparing my bump to others, looking through Instagram to see if I’m bigger or smaller than others, and talked negatively about myself quietly and aloud on a daily basis. I started to wonder if people thought I was huge, and would feel so insecure when anyone commented on my pregnancy. I’ve had people tell me I look like I’m pregnant with twins, and people tell me that I don’t look pregnant at all. I wouldn’t let my husband see me change in fear that he would be scarred by the sight of my ever-growing body. I weighed myself daily in fear that I would see the numbers I saw in college creep back on the scale. I became obsessed with not looking pregnant. And it affected me 100% negatively.

It’s only been in the recent weeks where I have come to realize that I haven’t been giving my body the respect it deserves. I have been trying to listen to my body, feed it when needs it, move when it feels good, etc., but the way I have talked and thought about myself has not been good—and I’m not ok starting this kids life with so much negativity. Another spoiler alert — I’m growing a HUMAN. Laying in bed at night and feeling him move around so much has made me realize that what I’m doing is amazing. What our bodies can do is truly a blessing. Our bodies HAVE to grow and get bigger in order to produce this life…and that is OKAY. I’m learning to say more positive things to myself, and I’ve stopped talking about how huge I look to others. I’ve started wearing clothes that don’t totally swallow my bump, and I’ve learned to try to take people’s comments with a grain of salt (for the record, just tell a pregnant woman she looks beautiful. Don’t comment on her size in any way).

I’m learning to love my body through this process. While it still throws up and is still exhausted 90% of the time, it’s producing a baby boy, and that’s pretty amazing. I’m embracing the growth and the discomfort, and I’m reminding myself daily that this 9-10 months is such a short-term process in the whole scheme of things.

Tonight, I went to a prenatal yoga class. My first one my entire pregnancy. I walked in wondering how many weeks everyone else was and if I was smaller than the other 33 week girls…but I quickly got myself out of that space and decided to offer up love and positivity. It was beautiful to see 15 pregnant women at all different stages move together the best they can, embracing their bodies, and honoring what they needed in that moment.

I’ll say it again–This pregnancy has been humbling. I’m learning to love myself a little more, spread a little more positivity, and embrace changes that I can’t control.

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