I have a confession. I have had the easiest pregnancy ever. I haven’t vomited, I don’t have gestational diabetes or hyperemesis gravidarum, and my feet aren’t swollen. The worst I can say is I’ve had some mild heartburn and a little hip pain in the third trimester. Lucky me, right?
Because I’ve been so lucky in the uncomfortable pregnancy symptom department, I’ve been able to stomach healthy foods, keep up my exercise routine, and have added prenatal yoga now that I’m getting closer to my due date. But even with all that luck and healthy living, there are still times where I feel more like a pasty white hippo than a mother goddess.
My friends and family tell me that pregnancy is beautiful, and my husband still reminds me every day that he thinks I’m perfect. But it’s just not easy to go from “best shape of my life” to “oh my god what do you even call this shape?” One of my friends described her pregnancy body as “everything touching.” Boobs touching belly, belly touching thighs, thighs touching each other…it gets crowded in here.
Now, I know that looking good is really not on my body’s list of priorities right now (or ever). And even on my cognitive list of priorities, it’s not that high up. But that doesn’t make it any easier when I stumble across a pre-pregnancy photo of myself and just can’t believe how little I was. I’m tired of feeling admonished or shallow because I don’t feel beautiful in my current state.
So maybe it’s radical to say, but I don’t love my body right now, and I think that’s totally okay. I don’t need to love my body right now. Do I care for my body? Of course. Honor and respect it? Sure. I love my baby, and I love that my body is capable of growing and nurturing my baby, and that’s enough for the time being.
If you’re like me (and I imagine thousands of other women) and don’t feel awash in a feminine glow, I highly recommend giving yourself permission to just not be nuts about how your body looks right now. We are constantly bombarded by messages telling us that what we look like should be our primary concern when it comes to self-care, and that just isn’t true. Treating myself to a nap instead of doing my makeup feels a lot more valuable right now.
And those people who tell me I’m beautiful even when I don’t feel like it? They can take over loving my body for me, just for a while. I’ve got other stuff to worry about.
Erin Bowling holds a master’s degree in Folklore, blogs casually and can bake a wicked batch of cookies.
The views expressed in this guest blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.