Pregnancy is arguably the most drastic physical change most women (who choose pregnancy) will experience in their lifetime. It's not just your belly that changes, either. Like most women, I found that my hair, skin, and face also changed, as well as my swollen ankles and enlarged breasts. With all these changes, it's really important to take care of yourself and nurture your new and evolving shape.
So, there were certain things I did every day when I was pregnant that made me feel more connected to the little baby I was growing, that also aided me in creating and facilitating a constant feeling of body positivity, self acceptance, and pride.
Looking back, I'm acutely aware that I was able to do many of these things because I had so much free time. Now, as a mom to a busy toddler, I realize that if I were to get pregnant again, many of the self care activities I took for granted would be hard to accomplish with a toddler in tow. However, this realization makes me even more grateful that I took the time to do these things for my body every day when I was pregnant. After all, I may never have the chance to do so again.
I Got Naked
You really can't accept your changing self if you refuse to view it. When I was pregnant, I took time every single day to look at my body naked in the mirror. I actually loved seeing things changing right before my eyes.
Even if the changes don't meet your approval, it's an important exercise in self acceptance.
I Bathed Or Enjoyed A Swim
I have always loved bubble baths but, when I was pregnant, I enjoyed being in the water even more. I went swimming several times a week and loved the way my bump felt when it was supported under water. This time alone also allowed me to think about all the ways my life was about to change.
I didn't get any stretch marks when I was pregnant (I know, unfair right?). This was probably (read: definitely) due to genetics, or the fact that I have had weight fluctuations in the past, but I also don't think it hurt that I moisturized my body religiously.
This was more than skincare, though. Taking the time to touch and connect with your body as it's going through a monumental period of change helps to nurture your new self.
I Enjoyed A Nice Massage
Pregnancy can make parts of you ache that you never even knew existed.
I invested in regular massages and took any and all opportunities to score free massages, including letting students practice on me and buying a course in bulk. When I didn't have a professional on hand, my husband was ready to step in as chief foot masseur. #Winning
I love to dance and find nothing to be more of a stress-reliever than pumping the volume up really loud on my favorite tracks and throwing some shapes on the dance floor (or around the kitchen, as the case may be). I attended pregnancy salsa classes and and found they helped to maintain my sexy confidence through all three trimesters.
I Took The Time To Stretch
I really enjoy yoga and practiced a routine from my favorite prenatal yoga video everyday of my pregnancy. However, even if yoga isn't your thing, simply stretching out your muscles (in a safe way) makes you feel relaxed and comfortable gets my vote.
Connecting with another human and being held is such a powerful exchange of love. All the conflicting emotions that accompany the many physical changes of pregnancy can leave moms-to-be feeling a little sensitive, so grabbing a daily hug with someone special should be as much of a priority as popping your daily prenatal vitamin.
I Took Naps
Pregnancy is the one time in your life where nobody would dare call you "lazy" for grabbing some shut eye in the middle of the day.
Go right on ahead and get as much sleep as you can. You're growing a human being (or beings!) inside your body, so you freakin' deserve it.