Friday, May 8, 2015

Follow-Up On Pregnancy & Body Image Posts.

[Copied/pasted from the blog's Facebook page]
I wish to make something clear here, in case I haven't before: I think it's obvious that one's body changing rapidly can be overwhelming and can sometimes bring up insecurities.* However, if it were in any way truly debilitating to someone, I'd hope that she wouldn't hesitate to seek help. Also, strangers commenting in a negative way/tone isn't acceptable at any other time in one's life, so I don't think it should just be considered part-and-parcel of pregnancy.
BUT, with all that said, I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. I wouldn't trade my expanding belly for a flat stomach nor do I constantly long for my more defined waist or to fit back into my skinny jeans. In general, I do love my pregnant body and being pregnant. In fact, I've been extremely lucky in how smoothly everything has gone so far, and I feel blessed every day this baby continues to grow. My blog posts merely show how I mentally handle the insecure moments and resolve them. I think most people, pregnant or not, have those moments, and I think it's good to normalize them rather than create a fantasy world in which someone is 100% happy 100% of the time or always thinks about their circumstances in relation to those less fortunate.** As humans, we just aren't always capable of that, so it seems like a surefire way to develop feelings of guilt, failure, and shame.***
I actually personally don't mind when people congratulate or compliment me. It's that "negative tone" I dislike. For the most part, it's wonderful to me to witness how excited and giddy people can get over someone else's impending new arrival, and I often enjoy hearing their experiences. Just because I myself don't mind it, I still think it odd that strangers feel confident congratulating someone without confirming first; many women still look the same for a time postpartum, and I know that's already a difficult enough time for some without people asking when they're due, and I also know plenty of pregnant women would prefer to be left alone. What I do mind for myself and anyone else is when someone's words are obviously discomforting and nudging insecurities to the surface, but they continue anyway.
It simply isn't realistic for me to be happy with my body all the time, but how could I ever not appreciate it when it holds something so precious to me? Now, if only baby would decide to keep kicking while Mr. Nerd was actually in the room...

*I've struggled with body image issues and not seeing what other people see for a long time. At one point in my life it was taking a toll on my health, but nowadays I have a great support system and positive ways of coping (blogging has certainly been a free form of therapy to me), and I've never felt better and more capable of handling it. Of course pregnancy, which by its very nature is all about change, was going to throw something new into the mix. While the "moments" remain, it has, overall, in fact helped more than it has hindered, because I've started to view my body more in terms of its capabilities--the same way someone who starts running might start to appreciate her body for the athleticism it displays--than in terms of looks, and the looks in turn become more beautiful and fascinating to me. 
**Of course I wish everyone's trauma, sadness, and suffering would end, and of course I know that I am lucky for my health, the roof over my head, the food and water to which I have access, and my family and friends. This does not mean that we shouldn't think of people less fortunate than ourselves; only that we as human beings--rich or poor, sick or healthy--all have times when we are more inwardly than outwardly focused.  
***Even if you've finally gotten pregnant after two, five, or fifteen years of trying, it's perfectly normal to sometimes be hard on yourself or not to enjoy every. single. aspect of pregnancy. It does not mean that you aren't grateful to be pregnant or that you're unhappy about your baby. I also consider myself lucky that I've actively enjoyed so much of pregnancy thus far, because I know that's not always everyone's experience. 

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