I'd like to tell you that I was completely body positive and body confident and in love with my body throughout my entire pregnancy. Then again, I'm not the lying type, so I won't even try. I had a difficult pregnancy (to say the least) that made it damn near impossible to completely and unapologetically value all that my body was doing and enduring. So, as a result, the things every pregnant woman thinks about her body, but doesn't say out loud, were things bombarding my mind on a pretty regular, relentless basis. Was I proud of these not-always-positive thoughts? Nope. Where they valid and understandable and, honestly, normal? Absolutely.
My pregnancy wasn't easy, and gave me more than a few opportunities to resent my body (unfortunately). I was hospitalized for a blood infection at 16 weeks. I lost one of my twin sons at 19 weeks. I had three pre-term labor scares that left me hospitalized for days at a time, all before 27 weeks. I mean, I hated pregnancy and, as a result, I didn't particularly like my body, either. When you're in the thick of something as difficult and life-changing as pregnancy, it can be pretty impossible not to search for a scapegoat to channel your frustrations or fears or misunderstandings. For me, that scapegoat was the body responsible for growing and birthing my now 2-year-old toddler.
Which, of course, makes the following thoughts extremely unfair. Not only was my body doing something incredible, it was also having to deal with my unnecessary and negative feelings or reactions. I know, especially now, that I should have been much kinder to my pregnant body while it was doing all the things and enduring all the things and preparing to do all the labor and delivery things, but it's hard when your mind is going through all these changes (not to mention hormone fluctuations). So, if you're pregnant and find yourself thinking the following things, know that you're not alone. Just, you know, try and remember to be kind to that amazing and awe-inspiring body of yours. It's doing a pretty remarkable thing.
"I Feel Uncomfortable In My Body"
It's no secret that pregnancy is uncomfortable, but rarely do you hear about uncomfortable a pregnant woman can feel in her own body. I don't know about you, dear reader, but I had a hard time feeling like my body was even my body. I didn't feel at home in my own skin and it was difficult to feel attached to my body or anything it seemed to be doing effortlessly and without my consent. After all, someone else had pulled an "invasion of the body snatchers" and taking up some ever-expanding real estate.
"My Body Has Betrayed Me"
I know that this pregnancy was something I signed up for, but it still felt like my body wasn't necessarily on my side. The insomnia and the morning sickness and the constipation and the heartburn? Yeah, I didn't sign for that, body. Get your act together, already.
"Scratch That, My Body Hates Me"
Honestly, towards the end of pregnancy it all just starts to feel a little personal. I couldn't touch my toes (hell, I couldn't even see my toes) and I was bumping into damn near anything I tried to awkwardly walk past. I was moody and I was always hot and I was sweating in places a person should never sweat. My body clearly had a vendetta against me and I, for one, didn't appreciate it.
"My Body Will Never Be The Same Again"
It's pretty damn difficult not to buy into the "your body's ruined after you have a baby" rhetoric that our patriarchal society seems hell-bent on feeding pregnant and postpartum women. I mean, I knew better, but I couldn't help but look in the mirror and see a form I just really and truly didn't recognize. I mean, if we really want to get into it, this is one of the many reasons why unhealthy beauty standards are so dangerous. Not only does the rhetoric surrounding "conventional beauty" set unrealistic expectations, it also preys on women and their psyche's when they're at their most vulnerable.
So, no, I didn't need to hear about celebrities "getting their bodies back," as if they've lost them when they were pregnant or postpartum. That honestly made me feel even more disconnected from my body while it was doing something as marvelous as growing a baby.
"There's No Way My Body Handles Labor And Delivery"
OK, OK. Yes, I know that my body can, in fact, handle labor and delivery. I mean, it did. However, fear and uncertainty and self-doubt are pretty normal reactions to not only pregnancy, but the entire pregnancy process. I had days when I felt like a powerful goddess, and days when I felt like there was no way in hell I was going to make it through labor and delivery in one piece.
"My Body Is No Longer Attractive"
While my partner would beg to differ — and did, the entire time I was pregnant — I didn't feel particularly attractive with what felt like a bowling ball in my uterus. I know I should be in "awe of the female form" while it does something as incredible as grow a human being, but I didn't like my humungous belly and wide hips and swollen ankles and acne and stretch marks. Sorry.
"My Body Is The Freakin' Worst"
My body and I did not get along when I was pregnant. Nope. Not even a little. Everything I loved to eat was suddenly making me sick. Everything I wanted to do I was suddenly either incapable of doing or too uncoordinated to do or was just too much damn work to do.
I knew that I shouldn't resent my body because, you know, it was literally doubling as a human incubator, but it just seemed so hellbent on ruining my freakin' life, you know?
"My Body Is Never Going To Forgive Me For Getting It Pregnant"
Honestly, I don't really blame my body. Like, at all.
"My Body Is No Longer My Best Friend"
Would a best friend make you puke every hour, on the hour, for almost five entire months? Would a best friend keep you from pooping for a solid week? Would a best friend give you zits on your back?
The answer, of course, is no. A solid, heartfelt and undeniable no.
"My Body Is Pretty Gross Right About Now"
I know that I should think my body is "beautiful" and "magical" and "glowing" and whatever over-played words people have been using to describe pregnancy, but when you're in the thick of gestation it doesn't necessarily feel that way. Like, at all.
I honestly thought my body was pretty damn gross. Not in appearance, mind you, but just what was actually happening to it and/or what it was doing. I have two words for you, dear reader: mucus plug. Enough said.
"I Kind Of Hate My Body..."
It's not a "I will never talk to you for the rest of my life," kind of hate. It's more of a, "You're the reason I'm puking all the time so I don't think I'll be able to have a decent conversation with you for a while," kind of hate.
During my pregnancy, I thought of my body the way I thought of that one friend in college who always got me into trouble. Was she a blast and simultaneously responsible for some of the best nights of my life? Yes. However, did I hate her the next morning and sometimes for weeks on end, because the ramifications of those best nights were no joke? Definitely.
"...And I Owe My Body A Big Apology For Thinking All Of The Aforementioned Things"
Whenever I felt the most upset or frustrated or even negative towards my pregnant body, I was still cognizant of the fact that it was doing something freakin' mind-blowing. I wasn't always the kindest to my body, if I'm being completely transparent, which is why I made the time to be extra-nice and kind to it when it was postpartum and sore and trying to recover from labor and delivery while simultaneously breastfeeding a newborn.
It's not "wrong" or even unheard of to not think the world of your pregnant body. Change is difficult to wrap your mind around and when you're going through all the changes necessary to grow and birth a human, it's not easy. I think the most important thing to remember, however, is that those feeling shouldn't keep you from realizing that your body is incredible.