Thursday 5 February 2015

PREGNANCY: My Issues With Body Confidence

As I mentioned in my Week 29 Update blog post (see here), I have started to lose my body confidence and go back into the shell I was about 6 months before getting pregnant. This isn't something I anticipated to happen at all, I have always admired women's huge bumps and thought they look incredibly beautifully. Infact I still do think that about other women's bumps and I do most of the time when I look at mine. But there's just that little niggling feeling, that I feel guilty about feeling, but I do.

Let's take a whistle stop tour of my relationship/experience with food in my adult life - I've always enjoyed food and eaten a fair amount of it. When I left home for university back in 2008 I went on an eating frenzy - I mean I could buy whatever food I liked and eat it all to myself. Cue lots of cheesey chips, pizza, ice cream - all the bad things I didn't have much of when living at home. Naively (and due to having no full length mirror in my halls room) I slowly but surely gained weight over my first year of university, resulting in me feeling very self conscious and doing ANYTHING to avoid photographs. Then came along the long summer holidays and I decided enough was enough, I lost a good amount of weight and went back into my second year of university much more confident. Second year was the year I fell in love with my husband, so I lost some more weight as I was completely distracted. Third year was the year I was in love and we all know what happens when your in love - meals out and treats all the time = weight gain. Then since leaving university back in 2011 my weight has slowly but surely crept up. 

Around Easter in 2014 I'd had enough and decided I wanted to lose weight. Partially because my BMI was a bit high and we had decided that we wanted to start trying for a baby later on in the year. I wanted to make sure my body was in prime condition to start trying for a baby, so I started taking folic acid and losing weight. By the start of the summer I had lost 2 stone and was feeling so much better for it. Clothes shopping wasn't a demoralising experience for me anymore and I felt ready to start trying for a baby. 

We were very lucky and conceived straight away and that's when my body started changing, almost instantly. The weight gain wasn't instant but the bloating, growing boobs and longer nails were! I lost about half a stone during the first trimester, thanks to delightful morning sickness and complete food aversions. I loved seeing my bump grow - I think it was around 13 weeks that I had a visible bump. I thought my 13 week bump was huge but looking back at photos it looks nothing more than a bloated tummy! I spent most of my second trimester wanting and waiting to get a bigger bump but then I got to 29 weeks pregnant and my feelings changed slightly. As women say, the third trimester is the trimester you get uncomfortably big! 

Exactly how much weight I've put on in other areas of my body, other than my tummy, is hard to tell as when I weigh myself I obviously weigh our baby, the placenta, extra bloods and fluids etc. Just before getting pregnant I had lost 2 stone, but I'm definitely creeping back up to the weight I was before losing the weight. It's a strange one because I presumed that I would love having a big bump, waddling around and stroking it, don't get me wrong 99% of the time I do love it. It's so special to think my incredible body is making another life! But I wasn't anticipating feeling quite so self conscious of my ever growing body - I've had a real loss of confidence. 

I've always had poor circulation, especially in my legs and I kid you not - some days my legs would be purple! Since being more heavily pregnant my legs seem to be constantly purple and sometimes with the lovely addition of swollen ankles and what I think is the start of a varicose vain. I'm just so glad it's the winter, so I can come to terms with these changes ready for the summer. I've also started noticing slightly darkened patches on my face, I believe this is called the 'mask of pregnancy'. It's not a major issue, my L'Oreal True Match Foundation and Sephora Concealer cover most of it up! But again it's another change to get used to. I think the main problem I'm having is that all of these changes are happening in such a small amount of time and there's no stopping/preventing them either! I know these are natural changes but when they are happening to your body it feels different, or at least it does to me. 

I hope my brain will catch up with my body and accept that I will be getting bigger, stretch marks will start appearing and that my body won't be the same after giving birth. But it will have given me my daughter and that's pretty special. 

Did anyone else have these feelings during pregnancy? 
Do you have any advice on how to improve body confidence during pregnancy?

Feel free to leave me a comment :) 

Helen x

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  1. I have to keep reminding myself that I am growing a baby (also nearly 29 weeks pregnant) and limit my chocolate biscuit intake! I've found my husband instrumental in helping keep my confidence up

  2. It is hard, I remember such a mix of emotion, particularly as I got bigger in later pregnancy, you look gorgeous and it really is a time to be kind to yourself. Sending love. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  3. You do look gorgeous! It is hard, my body shape changed very quickly and I felt very uncomfortable both times. Just try to remember that it is all for the greater good and your body is doing a wonderful thing making a new little person!


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