Even before I was pregnant, I worried about how pregnancy would affect my body image. For a very long time, I’ve had a funny relationship with body image – I mean, don’t we all?! As a teenager, I struggled with body dysmorphia, and I know that to an extent, I still see myself in a strange sort of way. I have to actively remember to tell myself that what I see in the mirror or in photos isn’t necessarily what I really look like. And I also need to remember that what my body looks like isn’t the be all and end all.
I worried that getting pregnant and seeing my body change very rapidly in a short space of time would throw me. Walking past a mirror and seeing something different to just a couple of days before can do that to you.
Over time, I’ve learned to live happily with what I look like. People might think I’m totally 100% body confident considering the photos I share on both this blog and on Big Cup Little Cup, but in reality, this is just one technique I use to build that confidence. And it does work! It’s not easy to look in close detail at every perceived flaw while editing and uploading photos, but I try to look at them impartially, as if it was someone else on the screen, and to appreciate what I’m seeing.
I have a mantra of trying not to think bad things about my body – I ask myself if I would think that thing about my best friend, and the answer is always, NO. Of course I wouldn’t! This has helped to drum into me that my inner voice isn’t very kind to me and that I need to push it to be so.
There are times when I feel like my body hasn’t changed with pregnancy, and this is odd. I’ll look in the mirror and wonder aloud to Ben, do I actually look pregnant or just the same as before?! He assures me that I do in fact look entirely different and not just like a slightly bloated version of my usual self, but it’s made me realise that I must sometimes still see myself as a different version to other people. This is letting me know that my sense of body image and confidence are still a work in progress.
But something magic has in fact happened with pregnancy. I’ve learned to appreciate my body in completely different ways. It’s similar to when I got into yoga and fitness – rather than appreciating how my body looked, I started to realise what it was doing for me instead. How fit, strong and healthy it was.
Pregnancy is very similar. I LOVE my changing shape. I’ve always imagined being pregnant with the big bowling ball of a stomach, and now I’m at that point, I’m obsessed. I keep showing off my shape to everyone. And I think it’s because of how magical pregnancy is – this body is growing a human!! It’s honestly amazing and miraculous what a body, my body, can do.
On top of that, I’ve gained an extra sense of self-protection. I find I’m being more careful with myself, for example, not rushing around in my usual clumsy manner, because it’s not just my own life to protect – I’m entrusted with keeping someone else safe too. I’ve come to the realisation that if I feel so protective over keeping someone else safe and appreciating their life, why don’t I always feel like that about myself?
So there we go, a few thoughts on body image and confidence alongside pregnancy! One of the challenges I’m having now though, as I reach 38 weeks pregnant, is that I’m definitely starting to struggle to find inspiring outfits to wear – I’m very much wearing the same things over and over, plus many items, even maternity, are feeling uncomfortable for me or don’t fit now too!
I ordered this dress from H&M a couple of months ago as a potential for my baby shower, although I ended up wearing this floral one instead in the end. Fortunately this is super cozy for the rather chilly weather we’ve had lately, plus it’s easy to wear with tights and leggings, both of which fit a lot more comfortably than other wear lately!
Blanket Scarf: Joules | Maternity Dress: H&M | Maternity Tights: H&M | Flats: Primark