I have been trying to write this article for over two weeks now. My very pregnant body has been achey and tired, along with feeling quite sick in these final weeks, I haven’t been able to stay out of bed for very long. It has put a few things into perspective for me, and I hope that this article helps you to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Pregnancy takes a big toll on the body, and it is especially important that we honour ourselves and physical bodies and how much it take to grow a little person.
Being pregnant is an amazing thing. It is important that during your pregnancy, you continue to cultivate a healthy relationship (http://twosixprod.wpengine.com/the-greatest-relationship-of-all-how-to-have-a-relationship-with-yourself/) with the changing ‘you’ and your changing body. Whilst it can be hard at times to see the silver lining when your face is in the toilet bowl and none of your clothes fit you any more, incorporating some of the following practices into your daily life can help you have a happier pregnancy and allow for a more relaxed transition from pregnant woman to mother.
One important aspect of pregnancy is weight gain. Your body IS going to change. You are growing a little human, it only makes sense that you are going to put on weight. In our society, with such an emphasis on weight and physical appearance, it can be a shock to some when they start to pack on the kilos required for healthy foetal development. It doesn’t help either that everyone and their dog has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy and they don’t seem to mind commenting with ‘OMG you look so BIG!’
LET GO of the control you may wish to have over your weight and allow nature to take its course. I am only 5’ and I have put on 12+ kilograms during this pregnancy (at 31 weeks and this is my first) and I can tell you, if you eat healthily and continue to be as active as you can be throughout your pregnancy, you will gain weight in all the right places, and you need this extra weight to allow for a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Accepting that your body is going to change is vital in maintaining positive body image and self-esteem. I can’t help but feel like a whale every now and then (actually it is almost daily) but I have to turn it around and think about how amazing my body is, to grow a little person, to feel each kick and thump even if it keeps me awake all night. Knowing that my body is changing in a positive way as I transition into motherhood keeps me from focusing on perceived negative aspects of my new body. Acceptance is key in being able to become the new you and embrace your new role as a mother.
A fundamental step in accepting your changing body is understanding why these changes occur. Researching and learning about the stages of pregnancy, baby’s requirements at the different stages and how & why physical changes manifest themselves as they do will equip you with the knowledge you will need to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but also allow you to interpret the inevitable changes from an educated perspective. This grants you the opportunity to step away from the notion of these changes happening TO you, but rather, they are happening FOR you, and for your little bubba.
Ask For Support
Pregnancy is one of those times in our lives where people aren’t afraid to go out of their way to help you. If you need support, I can guarantee it is around you, you just need to ask for it. Pregnancy and birth are stages of life where it is imperative to have a positive support network around you to help you with the transition into motherhood. The reassurance and encouragement you will receive from those around you is usually enough to keep you in good spirits and help banish any feelings of loneliness you might feel through your pregnancy.
As hard as it can be, keeping active is imperative during pregnancy, not only to prepare you for the labour and birth of your baby, but to keep you feeling sane! Prenatal yoga, walking, aqua aerobics – these gentle forms of exercise are enough to keep you feeling fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy and can even help alleviate the fatigue and lethargy you may be feeling. Just remember to consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before beginning any exercise program, stay hydrated and work within your limits.
At the end of the day, having trust in your body and accepting the changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth are key in maintaining positive body image and a healthy relationship with your physical self. Trust that your body knows what it is doing and will bounce back postpartum, and allow and create space for the physical changes that accompany bringing a new life into this world.
Article by Rachel Marie