Body Image During Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant, I used to think about pregnancy a very specific way. My belly would grow and I would love it day in and day out. Fast forward a few years and my time finally came. I have been overjoyed since the moment I found out I was pregnant. I prayed to be a mother and my prayers were answered. Today I’m not here to complain or list a set of reasons you should feel bad for someone who is pregnant. I’m here to share some of the unexpected feelings that I have been through and hope to encourage other women out there who may be in the same boat. 

Body Image During Pregnancy

  • So Many Changes: It’s quite obvious that pregnancy is filled with 40 weeks of non-stop body changes. How amazing to see God’s work first hand and learn more about the baby’s development. Throughout my time, I have felt so much joy that I sometimes can’t help but cry. I also have moments where I feel overwhelmed and that my body is no longer my own and that is quite overwhelming too. A deep breath and feeling the baby move and kick helps to reassure myself that all is well.
  • It’s hard not to feel the pressure: No matter how much of a positive spin I place on my experiences, there will always be tons of pressure to look a certain way during pregnancy and a certain way immediately after. I’ve made the decision to stop reading any articles that seem to put an unnecessary amount of pressure on mothers to “bounce back” after birth. It is taking 40 weeks to make this baby, and I will not place a time limit on the after stages. 
  • Weight & Physical Appearance: I’ve never received so many comments regarding the way I look and my weight in my life. I’ve had people tell me that I look like I’m going to give birth any day and I’ve had people ask me if I’m eating enough for my child because I look too small. Both have had an impact on me and both have been hard to swallow. 
  • Unwanted Comments : Along with my thought above, people always talk. Everyone suddenly has something to say about every single thing. For someone who has lots of anxiety, this has been a real challenge. 
  • A Daily Reminder is necessary: Throughout my journey so far, I have been reminding myself daily that I can do this. Every day is not going to be perfect and easy. People may hurt my feelings or make me angry or anxious and there’s nothing I can do to stop those. I will remind myself that I am doing the best that I can. 

So, thank you to everyone who has been supportive and loving especially on my pregnancy related posts. It has helped me through some of the tougher moments and feelings during this amazing journey so far. 

What I’ve Taken From This:

  • The Changes are evident and boy, they are quick. From this I have learned to slow down and soak in each day because  tomorrow will not be the same.
  • It’s easy to succumb to the pressures from others and hard when hearing and reading unnecessarily negative things regarding mothers. From this I’ve learned to lean on my support system and I feel even closer to my loved ones now.
  • The opinions will never stop coming but I can choose to not listen to them. Hurtful or judgmental words may come out of someone’s mouth but I have learned patience and grace through those experiences. 
  • Finally, and most important of all I know with my whole being that this will all be worth it. No matter the aches and pains, the hurtful words, or the unwanted judgement. When I feel my baby girl kick and move I know that she is worth more than anything else I could have ever asked for or wanted.  She already brings me joy that I didn’t know that I could feel.

How do you remind yourself that you are enough? How do you learn from tough experiences?

Tell me in the  comments below!

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32 thoughts on “Body Image During Pregnancy

  1. Wow mama, I am so grateful that you are able to shut out the hurtful comments and see the wonder of what God is forming inside of you. I have seen so mamas do it and been so in awe and wonder of how God shows His glory through the delight of a small, precious life inside of the mama. <3

    This is something I've always wondered about, and I'm so grateful for your transparency in sharing about the ups and downs.

  2. Pregnancy is tough. As much as you love that baby inside of you, it’s HARD to watch your body transform into something you’ve never been before. Opinions are always going to be there but as long as you feel good about yourself (staying healthy, moving, eating good food) then who cares! If your doctor has a concern, they’re the only ones to listen to 🙂

  3. I totally agree, it is hard!

    For me, it was surprisingly hard to be weighed so often. I don’t own a scale and never weigh myself, so it was weird for it to suddenly be a factor. I was also super lucky and had very little morning​ sickness – I was super hungry at the beginning instead though, so gained more weight than all of the stupid articles said I should. It all balanced out in the end, as I just gained less weight the last couple of months, but I really wish I had not wasted any energy thinking about it!

    • That has been a bit weird for me too because I tend not to weigh myself so I don’t become number obsessed or tempted to be crazy about the number on the scale! I’m trying to focus my energy on the good and not worry so much but it has been a challenge some days!

  4. I found pregnancy to be healing for my body image issues (weird, huh?!) but I still had those days – especially in that early “in between” stage where nothing fit – where I felt ugly and horrible. And I hated the comments from every Dick and Sally about my size/shape. But…pregnancy is a beautiful thing it’s just amazing when you think about WHAT your body is doing and WHY it’s doing it instead of merely the appearance. I’m glad you have a well balanced perspective! Just remember the gift you’ve been given and you’ll make it <3

    • That’s wonderful! I definitely feel that my overall inward thoughts about my body are kinder since I’ve been pregnant because I don’t like thinking unkind things while I’m harboring my little baby in there! You are so right, I am constantly reminded that I’ve been given an amazing gift!

  5. Wow. Having your body change so rapidly in this way must be pretty overwhelming. And it’s discouraging that everyone suddenly feels the need to comment on your appearance? Why not ask a question and defer to your authority on how you are/how your pregnancy is going–like, “How are you feeling?” Glad you’re giving yourself that daily reminder and affirmation. If it helps at all, I will echo that reminder: You can do this!

    • Thank you, Joyce! You’re right, I’ve been very surprised at the “freedom of speech” people choose to use around me regarding my body and shape! I always love when people ask me how I’m doing because it shows they care about me and my journey…not so much when people just make rude comments! Thank you for the encouragement! <3

  6. Having your body change so much so quickly is bound to take it’s effect on each person.
    I hate that because you’re pregnant people think they can make comments on your figure. You are carrying a life!
    Every life is different, so I think it only makes sense that every pregnant body will be different.

    • So true! There is another coworker of mine who is pregnant and due around the same time as me and everyone compares how we look to each other. It’s not fair to her or me because everyone carries differently!

  7. This is beautiful, Heather. With no motherhood experience, I can say that pregnancy looks like hard work, not just physically (oh my gosh you’re making a tiny human) but also emotionally too. You seem to handle those difficulties with such grace and resilience. That takes a special person. Best wishes as you continue on this journey <3

  8. I’m so surprised at hearing what comments people would make. Gah. I wish people would just stay away from physical appearance/body image comments regardless if pregnant or not pregnant. They should only be commenting on the glow that is in your face from all the love and excitement we all know you are feeling. Its really good that you are voicing these feelings that this transition is bringing you rather than stuffing them in. This will make you all the much more stronger…. and your baby girl stronger too.

  9. Sometimes it’s shocking to think what people actually say out loud and comment on. I love your outlook that you are choosing what to expose yourself to, such as reducing and eliminating any external pressure to look a certain way or “bounce back” after baby weight. I can only imagine the mental toll that pregnancy can take with body changes, but remember, you are creating something beautiful! 🙂

    • Thank you, Sarah! I know my body will do what it needs to do as I strive to be my healthiest and that is all I can do 🙂 I sure agree with you that I am creating something beautiful. I look at her cute little face and body in those ultrasound photos and everything seems amazing <3

  10. I love that you touched on this subject. It’s so tricky, but I don’t know a single woman who has gone into pregnancy and come out the same but for the better. I don’t think I had that many body image issues pre-baby, but becoming pregnant really showed me that I did. However, being on the other side of it, I will say I like my body more after the fact, even if it is not quite the same.

    I so feel you on people’s comments. I’ve gotten a lot of “you’re bigger this time!” since it’s my second. I don’t really know why anyone feels the need to tell me that… lol. It really does blow my mind that it’s not “okay” to comment on people’s bodies when they’re not pregnant, but throw in hormones and pregnancy changes and now is a good time to talk about body image?! Doesn’t make any sense!

    I’m glad you said you’re not going into postpartum with expectations. I was on bed rest for the last 6 weeks of my first pregnancy and then hadn’t run in a lonnnng time. I was super determined to get back to working out immediately, which I did. But it wasn’t enjoyable and I was forcing myself to do it for a long time. It still took me a good 9 months to feel like “myself” again. I now wish I hadn’t pushed so hard because it wasn’t the fact that I worked out that helped me get back in shape, it was just time (and finally sleeping again). Time is your best friend! There will be bumps in the road and postpartum probably won’t look like what you expected but it is the best time to give yourself grace and just go with it.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I know you’re going through this now too! I am a little nervous about postpartum and recovery but I know I have a good suport system.

  11. Wow that made me a little angry reading how people are making comments about the way you look. Why do people think it’s okay to speak their minds about someone else’s appearance? Don’t listen to them at all! You know you’re body and you know how to take care of it the right way. Your weight and the baby’s weight is between you and your doctor and no one else should have an opinion about that! Sorry! LOL I am sensitive about body shaming anyways and I hate that people think they can make comments about your appearance and it not affect you. I think if the tables were turned, those people wouldn’t like it either.

    The only thing that people should be talking about is how great you look! Your pictures that you have posted look amazing! There is no rule on how you should look at each stage of your pregnancy, and definitely not afterwards. I’m glad you’re not going to put a time limit on getting back in shape. Your body is going through a huge ordeal, it will bounce back when it’s ready! 🙂

  12. I also wrote a post about learning to love my post baby body. I was really impatient with myself at the beginning. But got through it by focusing on my bodies humbling abilities: 1. It kept my baby safe while it grew for nine months 2. It fed and comforted my baby daily. 3. It magnificently delivered my perfect baby boy.

    • I’ll have to check out your post as well. Sounds like you have a really great attitude and one I hope to have too!

  13. I so respect you for posting about this, and I am so proud of you for doing so. It is amazing how callous people can be; how ignorant and unlikely to think before they act. From what I understand, being pregnant is at once the best and teh most alien time of a woman’s life–people revere you, but at the same time, they thing that they are allowed to touch you and invade your space. Guys, you aren’t going to get magical powers, shove off. People will comment on any thing and everything. You keep doing you. You look beautiful, and your health and that of your baby are the only things that matter.

  14. Thanks for sharing this so vulnerably, Heather. I bet it’s not easy- I never thought about how many comments pregnant women probably do receive, and as women we do hold onto each one and internalize them. I love how you shifted your perspective though and are choosing to focus on what’s truly important- the fact that you have a beautiful little girl and every one of those changes will be so worth it! I loved a photo shot I saw of a mom one time with her baby- stretch marks and all. The fact that we can carry our own children and have that kind of bond is so beautiful, but society sometimes portrays it as this obstacle that we must conquer in “bouncing back”. I’m so glad you posted this- I may need to come back to it in a few years down the road. Massive hugs! I admire the way you deal with these tricky matters with such grace.

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