Accepting The Changes Happening To Your Body
I have a confession to make. I hated my pregnant body in the first 3 months. No, I mean, I really hated it. “How could you not love your pregnant body, you are creating another human being inside you, a life!” I get it. The glory of pregnancy, the cheery anticipation of something that is meant to be the pride and joy of your life, and the amazement of life being created in me out of a bunch of cells and tissues… I get it. It’s all supposed to make me gaga about the baby and consequently, appreciate the preparation my body goes through to bring it to the world. But to some people, the connection isn’t always readily apparent. My brain couldn’t seem to grasp the reason behind these changes, I mean DRAMATIC CHANGES, my body was going through.
It really just felt like I was gaining a bunch of weight, lethargic all the time, losing interest and motivation to do things I normally enjoyed. I’ve always dealt with body image problems… all it takes is a little bit of crack in the overall self-image I have, everything sort of comes crumbling down. If anyone ever says anything like “wow your feet look really bloated” or “those pants don’t look like that fit anymore”, it would throw me off for a day or two. If it wasn’t for the fact that I KNEW I was pregnant, I’d probably think I was going through an episode of clinical depression.
But around month 5/week 20, things started to take a turn. It wasn’t so much a conscious effort. Something within my mind just shifted. Perhaps it was when I started to feel the baby move and when my belly really started to “pop”. It was around the time that we took our babymoon trip to the Cayman Islands. Below are three pictures that I took of myself around that 20-22 week mark. You can see that my belly started to pop and I think it was during this trip that I felt the baby’s first kicks! I would say this was around the time I started to accept the way I looked and all the associated changes.
But the emotional saga did not end here!
Dealing With The “Advice” From Others… Good And Bad
This came as a surprise to me. As a pregnant woman, you are constantly being told what to do and sometimes even how to feel. Everyone (especially all the women around you) seem to have an opinion about everything pregnancy related because either they have been through it themselves, or they read it somewhere. I guess it’s such a natural part of human life, people don’t think twice about volunteering their opinions/advice/experience to you. Most of the time, they’re well intended and carefully delivered. They could even be really helpful. But once in a while, you’d get a piece of advice you’re simply not quite sure what to do with. “You should be happy!” …don’t you think I know that? Who in their right mind would consciously, voluntarily, and knowingly choose to be unhappy? This is probably the one most well-intended piece of advice that annoyed me the most.
Trusting That Things Could Change For the Better… Including Your Perspectives
If I learned anything in this pregnancy, it is to never say never in the face of mother nature, i.e. your amazing female body. So many foreign thoughts, feelings, and sensations have emerged and occurred to me in the last 8 months, none of which I could’ve possibly imagined going through. For example, I was never a kids person. I could be friendly with kids but I never really thought I liked kids much. Ever since becoming pregnant, when I see kids (especially infants) I have this affection that just oozes from within the core of my being. All of a sudden I couldn’t help but feel like I am drawn to these cute, warm, and vulnerable beings. It’s the strangest thing!
To Workout or To Not Workout
(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am sharing my personal experience here. Please don’t take my advice instead of a physician’s. When in doubt, always seek out the expert opinion of your OB!)
Hopefully, you have always maintained a workout regimen pre-pregnancy and this isn’t even a concern to you. If you had an on-going and regular workout regimen, most healthcare providers/experts will tell you to just keep it going. Of course, listen to your body and don’t over-exert yourself, and if need be, modify things for your changing body. On the other hand, if like me, you had semi let yourself go between getting ready for the wedding and becoming pregnant (I can’t be the only one?!), do not despair. At the very least, taking a 20-30 minute walk every day seems to suffice, according to most online articles. This may sound ambitious for those of you who are going through that infamous first trimester morning sickness, daily nausea, or the incapacitating lethargy. If that is you, just let your body be. Exercise when you start to feel better.
However, if you are wanting to take your pregnancy fitness up a notch, I highly recommend getting a personal trainer with a specialty and appropriate background in training pregnant women. My trainer Drea, who I have been working out with since I was around 18/19 weeks pregnant (I am 35 weeks now) is nothing short of amazing. Not that this should be your goal, but with my OB’s blessing, I have healthily stayed away from gaining any weight in the last 3 months. Mind you, I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes around the 25th week, so I’ve been watching my diet like a hawk on top of working out twice a week with Drea. (Not a sponsored post whatsoever!)
I personally attribute all the positives from my pregnancy to working out with Drea – no stretch marks, good energy, no backaches or any aches for that matter. In total, I’ve gained about 20 lbs so far since the beginning of my pregnancy, and most of what happened in the first trimester… It simply means before I worked out with Drea I was gaining a lot of weight, and since Drea, my weight has been managed very well! If you live in North County San Diego and are looking for a personal trainer, you should definitely contact Drea!
Click here to see these workout clips live on my Instagram archive:
Mamas, what was your pregnancy journey like? Did you struggle with weight gain and body image issues? I’d love to hear from all of you who have gone through this and feel like you came out of it a better, stronger woman. Or not! I would love both perspectives. I have about a month left of this pregnancy so I am trying to soak up all the knowledge around me that I can get. DM me on Instagram or leave me a comment here!
Professional photography by Natalie Alverado