Although Kellie and I consider ourselves experts in many areas of health/fitness/body image, at this point, pregnancy is not yet one of them:) That being said, we have LOTS of followers who have experienced the ups and downs of this incredible time in their lives. Needless to say, we were THRILLED when Christine decided to write a guest post for us! So, without further ado, here’s her brave and beautiful story:)
The day I found out I was pregnant was incredible. It was just shy of 6:00am – my husband is a firefighter and leaves for work at 6:30am – and I had taken a test after waiting a painstakingly long two weeks. When the test came up positive, I ran out of the bathroom and exclaimed with an indescribable excitement, “I’m pregnant!” Bryce and I shared a few minutes of overjoyed tears before he had to leave for work. I think I may have dozed off for an hour after he left, but woke up even more excited than I was when I went to sleep.
It wasn’t long before thoughts of how much my body would change during the pregnancy started to enter my mind. And by wasn’t long, I mean a couple hours. How much weight would I gain? Would I swell? Would I get stretch marks? Will I bounce back as quickly as I’d like? Like many women, I have struggled with body image issues. So much so that throughout high school and into college I was extremely underweight as a result of withholding food. I now have a healthy relationship with food (in that I LOVE food), but every now and then, those issues rear their ugly faces, especially during times that I feel out-of-control. And guess what pregnancy is – a huge lesson in surrendering control!
Now back to those pesky fears about how my body would change during pregnancy. Those fears continued to mount until one day, it hit me – this isn’t what my pregnancy should be about, and I refused to let these fears dominate MY pregnancy. I made a promise to myself that I would put all of my focus on being as mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy as I had ever been during my pregnancy (and after), for the sake of our baby. And if I got stretch marks, or extra cellulite, or extra junk in my trunk, or gained more or less than what was recommended, it was going to be ok, as long as I was being healthy. I was realistic in my promise. I knew I would have moments of fear pop up, and I was ok with that. And when those moments came, I allowed my fear to express itself, and moved on.
Our society inflicts an insane amount of pressure upon women in relation to body image during pregnancy. We are expected to gain only what is recommended (if that) and bounce back within a few months, looking better than before. It has been just over three months since I gave birth to our beautiful baby, and these have been the most amazing and challenging three months of my life. Guess what, my body is changing yet again! Sure there are things I don’t feel fabulous about at times, but then I think, this body nourished and protected a precious life. This body! This body continues to feed and nourish our baby. This body! I have never felt such a strong sense of inner confidence in my life. My wish is that women would be kinder and more patient with themselves. That they would be able to enjoy their pregnancies and how their bodies change, because it truly is amazing what our fabulous bodies can do.