Fotolia

10 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Pregnant Body (Because It's Not Always Easy)

Ad failed to load

I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely hated being pregnant, mostly because I didn't really appreciate or like or feel comfortable in my pregnant body. It was hard for me to come to terms with all the constant, often nauseating changes my body was experienced as I cooked another human being in my belly. I wasn't really "happy" with the shape I was taking. Thankfully, and eventually, I did find ways to fall in love with my pregnant body, but I would be lying if I said it was easy. In fact, it was a constant struggle.

In a society that seems to only value women in terms of how they look or how attractive they're perceived to be, it can be difficult to love your body, whether it's pregnant or not. Our cultural standards of "beauty" are unforgiving, at best, and when you're gaining weight society tells you you're not supposed to gain, and you're expanding in a way our society tells you you're not suppose to expand (even when you're pregnant) self-loathing can hit you in the face quick and fast and in an unforgiving fashion. Tack on the loss of complete body autonomy and pregnancy side effects like hemorrhoids and constipation and vomiting and, well, it's not fun, you guys. Pregnancy just isn't always that much fun.

However, pregnancy is also a pretty miraculous thing, especially when you stop and think about all the things your body is accomplishing on a daily basis. I mean, even if you're just sitting on your couch, you're not just sitting on your couch; you're sitting on your couch and growing another freakin' human being. That's incredible. So, while it can be so difficult to learn to love your pregnant body when it's changing and seemingly plotting against you, if you try a few of the following suggestions, you may just find yourself able to really appreciate just how incredible your body is, pregnant or otherwise.

Ad failed to load

Remember What Your Body Is Accomplishing On A Daily Basis

giphy

It can be extremely easy to focus on the negative aspects of pregnancy (like morning sickness or fatigue or constipation or you freakin' name it) and forget that your body is doing something incredible.

For me, and while I will be the first to admit that it took some constant effort, focusing on what my body was doing instead of how it was looking, made all the difference. I may have felt awkward and uncomfortable in my body as it continued to change, but there were was a reason behind it and that reason is pretty remarkable.

Research The Changes You'll Likely Experience...

giphy

In order to keep my eye on the "prize," I made it a point to track my baby's progress and anticipate the many changes I would probably, and inevitably, endure. It helped me to know what was going on, and why it was going on, in order to come to terms with this new form and how I felt inside of it. Plus, knowing that you're growing something that, this week, is the size of a summer squash, is pretty cool.

...And Then Feel Free To Celebrate Those Changes

giphy

Don't judge me for throwing a little mini-party about the fact that, thanks to my pregnant body, my child has developed finger nails this week. Don't be surprised if, next week or the week after or whenever it happens, I'll throw another mini-party because, now, my kid has hair.

Honestly, because you can't see what's going on inside of your pregnant body (you can only see the changes occurring on the outside) it helps to research and celebrate exactly what your body is facilitating. Sure, I may feel like absolute garbage, but it's because my body is helping my kid grow his heart right now. It's worth it.

Ad failed to load

Allow Yourself To Not Always (Or, At All) Love Being Pregnant

giphy

For me, the most important part of learning to love my pregnant body was having the courage to admit that I didn't like being pregnant. Like, at all. In fact, I hated it. I really didn't like losing control over my body and having a tiny little fetus call the shots. I didn't like feeling outside of myself; like this body wasn't necessarily mine anymore.

The moment I admitted that to myself (and especially out loud) I was able to really appreciate what my body was simultaneously doing and enduring. No, I didn't have to like it, but I could start to really be in awe of all that was transpiring and, in turn, love that my body was capable of doing something so insane (even when it sucked).

Don't Be Afraid To "Dress Up" And Go Out...

giphy

Your pregnant body isn't something you need to hide (if you don't want to). There's nothing wrong with wearing something form fitting and showing off that baby bump and owning the life choice you're currently experiencing.

I will admit that towards the end of my pregnancy, I was all about the dresses and the tight shirts. I wanted to enjoy the final leg of my pregnancy by highlighting exactly how much my body had changed. It was pretty awesome.

...But Don't Feel Like You Have To, Because Comfort Is Key

giphy

However, if I didn't feel like going out or showing off my pregnant stomach, I didn't. Comfort is the name of the game, people, and if you really want to love your body, you need to give your body room. Take up space. Be unapologetic about your size. Enjoy the amount of room you take up in the world. Don't "squeeze" into something (f you don't want to). If you take the time to simply be, then you can simply enjoy being pregnant.

Ad failed to load

If You're Up For It (And It's Safe) Have Sex

giphy

If your doctor or midwife has given you the all-clear to have sex (and unless there's a complication, they will) feel free to have all the pregnant sex your heart desires. Do you have to have sex? No way. Not when you're pregnant (or ever). However, if you're feeling up to it and you're one of the women who experience a higher sex drive when pregnant, enjoy yourself. Sex is a great way to get in touch with and enjoy your body.

Stay Active (If You Can And If It's Safe)

giphy

Again, you should always consult with your doctor or midwife, but changes are (unless you'e experiencing complications) it's perfectly fine to be active. This doesn't mean you have to be diligent about gym time so you can keep the "pregnancy weight off." I'm sorry, but enough of that garbage.

This just means that walking around and/or enjoying some of the work outs that made you feel good about your body before you were pregnant, can help. I know that I often felt at my lowest when I was just laying on the couch. Once I was up and walking around, I started to really feel better about my pregnant body.

Take Notice Of Some Pregnant Celebrities Who Fight Against Pregnancy Shaming

giphy

Celebrities are under a constant barrage of ridiculous scrutiny, especially women celebrities and especially pregnant celebrities. If you're feeling down about your pregnant body, it doesn't hurt to turn to some pregnant celebrities that have shut down pregnancy shaming like the bosses they are.

Ad failed to load

Remember That, Even Though It Feels Like It, You Won't Be Pregnant Forever

giphy

I promise, you will not become the first woman to be pregnant for the rest of her life. Eventually, your pregnancy will end. It will. I promise.

I had to tell myself this very obvious but sometimes very easy to forget fact, regularly. Pregnancy isn't forever, so when you can (and if you want to) try and find a way to enjoy it.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}