Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: When Pregnancy Doesn't Feel Pretty: 6 Things You Can Do

Monday, March 6, 2017

When Pregnancy Doesn't Feel Pretty: 6 Things You Can Do

Let me tell you, I had no idea what my body was getting into when Jon and I found out we were pregnant.
As the oldest of 10, to a mother who had fabulous pregnancies, my expectations were nothing but full of excitement! I was even excited about my body growing to sustain a human, curious to see how God has created me to expand and stretch as this little gift grows inside of me.

I am discovering, however, that my ignorance about what truly goes into pregnancy has created quite a roller coaster in this second trimester. There were so many things that I didn't know! so many things no one told me!

Like, no one tells you...
That you don't actually look pregnant for a long time, just bloated.
That buying clothes during the first and second trimesters is hard and that they won't even fit for long, so why bother? just wear sweats those first several months.
That sometimes you won't like what you're body is doing.
That most times you don't feel like your pregnant body is something powerful and wonderful, something to be proud of, but it feels tired and achy and just swollen.
That, for a good chunk of your pregnancy, the only reminder that you are actually pregnant is the nausea, the exhaustion, and the fact that you can't quite button your jeans anymore.
Like I said before, I've watched my mom walk through a lot of pregnancies, and she was a champ. I know there were moments she didn't feel pretty, or powerful, or put together. But she just didn't talk about it, and nor did anyone else, so I just didn't know that every pregnant woman feels crappy at multiple stages of the human-building process.

It makes me feel a little uncomfortable to say all of these things, because I feel like I've always been able to either be confident, or fake feeling confident until I felt actually confident. So through this experience I've been abnormally not confident about my growing body.

But since I know I'm not the only one, and that many mamas and mamas-to-be are in need of a girlfriend to just say, "hey, I know what that feels like!" I feel like I can share that.

Not only that, but I have found that a few things have helped me feel a little more confident when me and my pregnant self are not feeling pretty.

6 Things to do when pregnancy doesn't feel pretty

1. Get rid of clothes that don't fit, ASAP
Pack 'em up or give 'em away, just get them out of your closet and send them somewhere they can't call to you anymore. If they're never going to fit ever again, then don't even keep them (but if that process is just too emotional for those preggo hormones right now, just pack them away and deal with them after your pregnancy).
Don't even keep the sorta-fitting things, like the tight jeans or the uncomfortable T's. Get rid of everything in your closet that doesn't make you feel excited to get dressed or confident about your body.
(Read more about this in my post "5 Things You Don't Need in your Closet")

2. Change what you can... like your toenails!
We aren't in control of how (or where...) our bodies are swelling and growing and surging with new life, but we are still in control of some things! Keeping your toenails painted, your eyebrows shaped, your mascara bottle full, and trying out some new hairstyles are great ways (and cheap ways!) to still feel like your wild, beautiful self. 
These can also be great pamper excuses (who doesn't love pedicures?).

3. Be careful where you're finding your standards
I realized a couple of days ago that one thing that was making me feel a little dumpy were the places I was looking on social media! Don't get me wrong, I'm all about getting inspired to lose baby weight quickly postpartum, or eat healthy during your pregnancy, or those super duper trendy super model bloggers who "always be fleakin'". BUT, sometimes they can just make us feel bad about ourselves. Be filling your eyes and mind with healthy, realistic expectations, particularly positive pregnant women! 
And if you need to, unfollow a few people, or just get off of Instagram (or Facebook, or whatever). If it's causing you to doubt your beauty, or feel less confident, just cut it out. 
You should always be celebrated, never intimidated!

4. Make your purse your statement piece
My mom always said that bags and purses were her favorite things to shop for because you didn't have to be a certain size or shape to rock a cute purse. Not only that, but soon you'll be carting nothing but a diaper bag (even though, hopefully that'll be cute, too;)
Hunt a thrift store, or dig out that fab bag you didn't think was practical enough for your every day, and make that your statement piece! Even if you're too tired to go anywhere but the grocery store.

5. Find ways to celebrate the reason for your changing body
Last week was especially hard for me in the area of physical self-confidence... so to remind myself what is actually going on inside of me that is causing all of these changes, I went to the grocery store and bought something that was the current size of my growing baby - an artichoke! I took pictures with it held up next to my belly as a silly reminder of how much my baby is growing and thriving. And it's a practice I might just do for the remaining 22 weeks of my pregnancy:)

What are some ways you can celebrate your growing bump? A friend of mine (with a beautiful Instagram) recommended a Promptly Journal that she's been using (and loving) for her pregnancy. You can also write weekly little letters to him/her! Or join me in buying random fruits and vegetables;)
6. Remind yourself that beauty is not physical
Beauty - especially the beauty of the female form - cannot be defined. And it's never been possible! (Just take a peep at Modern art vs Renaissance art!) 
There's no "right answer" to how a woman should look. Mindset is everything, and when we start believing that we are "less than what we should be" or that we can't meet the standard of beauty, that could be the debilitating factor, the dagger to the heart of our confidence.

Remember, our identity is ultimately never about what we look like. Just like that precious baby in your belly is going to be perfectly perfect and beautiful and lovely and powerful and everything he/she should be as soon as they are born, our bodies are no different. No matter how you feel, you are intentionally created and incredibly beautiful! And everything you should be.
P.S. How are you rocking your bump?? I want to see those preggo outfits! Tag me at #TheModestBudget!

Also linking up with some awesome parties here!

2 comments :

  1. Casey! These are great insights: realistic and positive too. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Many moons ago when I carried my children, :-) I LOVED being pregnant and I loved having a belly. I know that isn't always the typical response, but it was for me. :-)

    Yet I see a friend of my daughter's really struggle with body image when she is pregnant, where no issue exists.

    Great tips and reminders for the young mother out there to embrace her pregnant body and to make herself beautiful in ways that might be different from a non-pregnant body.

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