Pregnancy is a transformative experience.
As our bodies work hard to grow a new life, there are a multitude of emotional and physical changes that we’ll encounter throughout our journey- both during and after pregnancy. Some of these changes (like morning sickness, food aversions, cravings) we expect and anticipate, while others- like the discomfort we may feel as our body starts to change, are less talked about.
If you're struggling to find confidence in your changing body, you're not alone!
Many women struggle with body image during pregnancy especially in today’s society, where we constantly compare ourselves to that perfect mom influencer on social media and celebrities who have been photoshopped into having a “belly only pregnancy.”
Here are 8 helpful tips that can increase pregnancy body confidence:
Understand the process- learning and understanding why we gain weight during pregnancy and where the weight goes can help you trust the process and calm some of the upset and anxiety associated with pregnancy weight gain.
Self compassion and self care- Treating yourself with kindness is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself feeling good physically and mentally. Think of it this way- how would you treat a friend who’s pregnant or is new to motherhood? Would you say uplifting things to her, ask her what she needs, send her meals or a gift, or take her out for a fun day? If you would do these things for a friend, why not do them for yourself as well? You deserve it!
Buy clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in. Wearing clothes that fit well and make you feel confident can positively impact body image.
Stay active. Finding a type of exercise that you do for enjoyment, not for a calorie burn or because you feel like it’s what you should be doing, can have a beneficial impact on your pregnancy journey- physically and mentally. Staying active can help you appreciate your body, feel energized, sleep better, and decrease your stress levels. Not to mention, staying strong and active throughout pregnancy helps prepare your body for labor.
Journaling & keepsakes- Consider documenting your pregnancy with journal entries or by creating keepsakes. This can be a powerful way to celebrate and appreciate the changes your body is undergoing. It seems simple, but writing down our thoughts helps us to process what we’re actually feeling and puts things in perspective.
Focus on health, not your appearance- Shift your focus from appearance to overall health and well-being. Eating well, staying active, and getting adequate rest are all crucial for a healthy pregnancy and can help you appreciate your body more for what it’s doing (growing a human!), not what it looks like. After all, your appearance is the least interesting thing about your pregnancy.
Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel inadequate or trigger negative body image thoughts. Be mindful of how you consume media, especially social media. If you find yourself looking at accounts or content that makes you feel like you need to change something about yourself, then do yourself a favor and hit unfollow! There are plenty of accounts out there that can uplift and encourage positive thoughts and behaviors.
Create a support system- It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, that village also helps raise a mother. Communicate with your partner, close friends, and family members you trust about your feelings and concerns. Their support and encouragement can be invaluable in boosting your confidence and body image. If body image concerns become overwhelming or are significantly impacting your mental health, consider seeking support from a mental health professional who specializes in body image issues or perinatal mental health.
As you navigate the ups and downs of body image during this season of your life, hold onto the truth that you are creating life, and that, in itself, is an incredible feat. Practice self-love, surround yourself with positivity, and cherish the uniqueness that is uniquely yours.
Above all, be gentle with yourself. You are enough, just as you are. Trust in your body, and know that you are creating love that will last a lifetime.
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