Pregnancy was an exciting time. In fact, fantasizing about a new baby is one of my favorite ways to commute to work. It was also a scary time, and the fear of the unknown weighed pretty heavily. And, of course, it was a weird time, because something was happening to me, over the course of nine months, that was completely outside my jurisdiction. Thankfully, over time I learned a few surprising ways to control my pregnant, changing body, because, for this Type A mom, giving myself completely over to nature so it could run its course felt very unnatural.
As my belly swelled and my breasts grew and my hormones threw me for emotional loops without warning, it was easy to feel helpless at certain times during my pregnancy. I told myself that this is what I wanted, though. After all, my husband and I had conceived because we at least thought we were financially and philosophically ready to have kids, but I never gave thought to being emotionally ready. Witnessing the gradual, uncontrollable changes in my body messed with my head at times, and I had to put a lot of effort into not freaking out about it.
That effort was worth it, though, because it introduced me to a version of myself I had never known: a woman who was determined to separate her body image issues from the wellbeing of her new family. It’s been an ongoing struggle, but my kids are constant reminders that their happiness has nothing to do with my pants size. They want my love, attention, guidance (and permission for unlimited screen time, which will never happen) and they want me to be happy. They are too young to understand that my happiness often has a lot to do with how I feel I look, because we always tell them, “It’s what’s on the inside, that counts.”
Inside me I grew strong, beautiful children, but it wasn't easy and I rarely felt as though I was in the driver's seat. I have a feeling that even though every woman and every pregnancy is different, feeling like your body has taken over and you're just along for the ride is rather common. So if you're looking for some reprieve, here are some of the ways I kept control of my changing body when I was pregnant: