Dealing with body changes

More little BLWers in the making... <rubs hands>

Dealing with body changes

Postby RedRum » 19 Dec 2014, 09:21

Feeling a bit of a ramble coming on here so I probably won't be very coherent, but I'm interested in how others feel about and cope with their shape changing in pregnancy. When I had R I was overweight beforehand and had very low self esteem. I had hated my body my entire life, so hating it a big more didn't make that big a difference as far as I recall. Not drinking during pregnancy made a big difference to my weight I think, and within a couple of months I was a stone less than my pre pregnancy weight and stayed there for a while. I didn't start to focus on health and fitness until R was about 2 or 3, but since then I have got myself to a place where I feel proud of my body's strength, and I'm not ashamed of my body any more. I'll never be skinny and I'm ok with that, but I know my own strength now and I am a zillion times more confident then I was before R.

All of that I guess is why I'm finding it hard to deal with my body changing I've not even gained all that much, about 8 lbs I think at 18 weeks. But I'm struggling confidence wise. I'm finding I'm leaning more towards the kind of baggy shapeless clothes I wore in my teens and early 20s again, and hiding under scarves or big jumpers or cardigans. I don't like DH to see me naked now, and I'm straight under the covers with the lights off when we go to bed. I find myself doing a lot of comparing myself to other women, googling bump photos and assessing whether I'm bigger or smaller or more or less saggy, wondering if I'm doing well or letting myself go. I think my size and weight gain is all pretty average tbh big seeing the numbers creep up on the scale is so hard to deal with, even though I know they're supposed to!

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I guess just interested how others feel or felt, and how that developed iyswim. I can feel the anxiety creeping in and my self esteem dropping and I'd like to try to curb if if I can.

Rational feminist me knows all if this is nonsense, but it doesn't change how I feel.
Mama to R (2007) and J (2015)
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby felizefun » 19 Dec 2014, 10:03

Quick reply as got to run, but would it help if you bought some really flattering maternity blouses, dresses etc? Sorry if I sound flippant. I have always been plump and had serious self esteem issues in my teens which made me almost anorexic. But when I was pregnant was the one time I was comfortable with how I looked because my only priority at that time was growing a healthy baby (not saying that's not your priority). So I really didn't care how fat I looked because I kind of had an excuse to be fat iykwim. Maybe if you had some lovely, bump-highlighting maternity clothes, would it make you feel better about yourself because then the focus will be on your bump rather than the rest of you? Again, sorry if I'm not helping much but that's the first thought that occurred to me.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby nearlymumtobabyfk » 19 Dec 2014, 10:05

I've no real advice I'm afraid, other than to say ficus on how amazing and strong your body is growing, housing and sustaining another human life. Those extra pounds are all to facilitate that... I've always been overweight. I lostva couple of stone before I got pregnant this time and was feeling good. So getting fat again made me a bit sad at first. But actually I know, and so do you, that with some focus afterwards I can ge t back to whatever body size I choose. I'm now wearing lits of figure hugging clothes because frankly I want to show off my amazing bump. Perhaps when you get a little bigger you could do the same? Take hold if it, own it and be proud. Hugs xx
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby pirate_han » 19 Dec 2014, 11:38

I find it's easier as I get bigger, because I look pregnant rather than a bit fat IYKWIM! Heavily pregnant is the only time I'll ever wear close-fitting tops, dresses etc. I have massive boobs which I wish were smaller but they don't bother me much when pregnant as my bump evens me out and makes them look somewhat normal lol.

I barely put any weight on when pregnant other than bump because I am so sick, but normally I am overweight, so can relate to your feelings. We don't have scales in the house as after years of screwy eating habits as a teenager I'm no longer interested in caring, and it helps. I'm too ill to swim at the moment but when not pregnant I swim a few times a week and I find that regular exercise helps me keep focused on strength and energy rather than fat/slim.

(((RR))) I think you're stunning. I bet you look gorgeous pregnant.
B - March 12
A - January 15
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby Rahgamuffin » 19 Dec 2014, 11:48

I really struggled with L - I felt great before I was pregnant (I was just over 15st when I conceived B, was 11lb7 with L) then my body did its trick and I ballooned in the first couple of weeks. My head knew it was water retention, but I couldn't get around it. I gain waaaaay more than the the 'approved' amount with pregnancy, I have with all three -in the end I told DH to hide the scales, because I was getting in a crazy place with it.

For no rational reason, I am still struggling - I am a healthy weight, my clothes fit, I wear a size 8/10... but the number on the scales is 7lb higher and my running time is down (I was doing 7.5 miles/hr, now 3 miles takes just under 30 mins and I'm exhausted, probably related to the fact I rarely get more than 2 hours sleep as a block) and I struggle with the rational part of me saying "you don't want to be thinner, you just want a lower number, which would mean losing muscle, which is crazy" and the totally irrational side of my brain "If you don't get the number down you'll gain all the weight back".

I have no idea of the answer, I try to listen to my rational brain & my husband and not get on the scales, but it doesn't always work. Lots of understanding for you though.
Mum to B (05/08), J (02/11) & L (01/14)
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby StJuniper » 19 Dec 2014, 12:05

One thing that helped me was choosing not to do any of the active obsess over your body things. The voice in my brain telling me I should be skinnier is a lot louder and more overwhelming if I feed it. So I choose not to have a scale, I choose to stay away from magazines, I choose to believe my husband when he tells me he finds me more beautiful than ever and stretch out naked on our bed. Kind of a fake it 'til you make it thing-- the more I choose to act like I believe the rational part of my brain, the more the critical body-shaming voice is strangled. I also helps to be too busy with two little people to have time for standing in front of the mirror examining myself!

Well-fitting clothes make a big difference, too, which of course is so tough during pregnancy, but after pregnancy, making sure I'm not wearing wishful thinking clothes (I'm just about to fit this again/I can still wear a size 10/etc) but ones that actually fit me the size I am now does a lot for my confidence.

Actually, one of the things that helped me reconcile with carrying extra pounds was bf-- the knowledge that bf fat reserves are normal and natural to protect your baby from starvation (not that he's at risk, but you know) was the first time I'd ever considered that body fat could be healthy and positive, and really helped free me from obsessing over the spare weight I'm carrying. Each pregnancy my hips went up a size 8, then 10, now 12, my breasts got huge (A34 to F34) but again being able to separate 'You gained weight shock horror," from "You grew a baby and your body has done just what it should," means I'm at peace with my body most of the time except when I'm trying to put it in clothes that are too small!
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby DandelionFrosting » 19 Dec 2014, 13:42

When I was pregnant and feeling a bit obsessive, I divided up the weight I had gained and tried to figure out how much of it was baby, how much was placenta, amniotic fluid, extra blood, extra water, new breast tissue, etc. It sounds a bit maniacal, but it actually did kind of help to remind myself that it wasn't JUST weight, it all had a purpose and was doing important work.

I also definitely vote for treating yourself to one or two items of cute maternity clothing -- especially things that you can only get away with when pregnant, like overalls or empire waist dresses or novelty pregnancy shirts. (I saw one somewhere that said "Watermelon seeds -- never again." It was already too late for me, though!) It definitely helps when the bump becomes an obvious bump -- you're probably at the worst part right now, where there's a definite difference but people don't trust themselves to say anything about it out loud for fear that they're wrong. It will be much better when it's more obvious!
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby Brigitte » 19 Dec 2014, 21:44

Warning: This post is probably going to get wayyyyy to personal. But here goes anyway.

I have no idea if this will help, because I'm one of those people who is just naturally on the thinner side before, during, and after pregnancy, so I don't know exactly what you're going through. But I had a bit of a revelation earlier this year when it came to my post-baby vagina and how it will never be the same again. It suddenly occurred to me that as human beings, our bodies change all the time in miraculous and completely normal ways. We start off as big-headed babies, then grow to more regular proportions as children. Then come puberty and the growth spurts. Then comes the apparently magical young adulthood, which for some reason we all assume is our "real" body that we should try to hang on to for as long as possible. Some women go through pregnancy and breastfeeding and the massive hormonal changes those bring. And then comes aging and menopause and more aging, and that's all normal for our bodies as well. Nobody would ever look at an 80-year-old woman and judge her for not looking like she's 20. Nobody would ever look at an 8-year-old and judge her for not looking 20. That would be completely unnatural. Bodily change is constant in the human lifetime. Bodies are incredible that they are designed to go through all those changes in a lifetime with the assistance of hormones. So why are the pregnancy- and childbirth-related changes somehow different and undesirable? It makes no sense. So, after babies I now have a new vagina. It's not that my pre-baby vagina is my "real" one and my post-baby vagina is somehow "ruined". It's just that my body has gone through yet another set of changes as it has done before and will do again, and my new vagina is my real one for this stage in my life. Welcome here, new vagina!

So, be encouraged that bodily changes are something that the human race is actually designed to go through at many different points in our lifetimes. Why allow culture to single out some normal biological changes as negative and some as positive?
I love my kiddos! Two April girls (2011 and 2013) and a May boy (2016). I guess we have spring babies in this family.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby mamapup » 19 Dec 2014, 23:01

That's a lovely way to look at it, brigitte.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby junglewonderland » 20 Dec 2014, 13:44

Wow, that is brilliant, Brigitte! You are so right, I think of my 20 year old self as my real self. Stupid.

Sympathies RR, I think what you are going through is totally normal. A month or two and you will have a huge bump that will make everything else look in proportion. I look back at photos of first and early second trimester and I look so dumpy, but now I have put on heaps more weight but actually look pregnant, which is a lot better than the "nothing really fits" stage.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby Gizmo » 20 Dec 2014, 20:31

I hated my body during pregnancy, hated it. I know I have tokophobia so that probably has something to do with it. If I were rich I would have 100% paid a surrogate to carry them. I was a 8-10 all my life and after pregnancy went back to that pretty quickly (within a month or so), but during pregnancy due to crippling SPD and a huge bleed where I couldn't move, and then PUPPS where every bit of clothing irritated the itching, it was not fun or enjoyable at all, just a means to an end. I did put on a lot of weight because of it and I refused any photos of me being taken when I was pregnant.

I luckily had a c-section, there was no chance of me even contemplating a vb, so my vagina is exactly how it was :D My tits and tummy don't look the same though. Tits are not as perky and although all the weight dropped off, if I lean forward then I have a soft tummy. I guess that's what happens when you have twins.

Apart from that I'm happy with my body I suppose, although again if I were rich I would have the softness in my tummy fixed.

I do wish I had got DH to take some naked photos of me before I was pregnant because I had a really good firm body and would like it to be the same, however I'm not that bothered about it iyswim, I would just like to have some cool pics of how it was before.
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby Violet_Cue » 22 Dec 2014, 18:17

Not sure if it helps but when I got pg with J I weighed about 145lbs (sorry, don't know st and done even use kg despite being in Canada!) I would likely have weighed in at 200lbs if I'd made it to my check at 36 weeks (I was just she of that the week before.) When he was about 18 months I had lost all of that and a tiny bit more.

When getting pg I was 191 (so much higher than my pos pg low) - now at 28 wks I am about to hit 200, and have basically lost some of "me" while gaining baby (lack of beer is likely helping here!) - but at the end of the day, despite very different starting points (with lots of time in between) I am likely to end up at about the same full term weight... so I am thinking my body has a particular idea of where it wants to be to make a baby.

18 weeks is hard - not yet showing properly, no real bump... give it a few more and it will be a lot more "pregnant" a body rather than a body still bulking to build a person... at that point I had barely gained at all and definitely was already looking different (not thinner!)

I love Brigitte's way of looking at things... coming to terms with the idea that this is my real body (rather than looking for some ideal from my 20s) seems like a very good plan for when this little one is born.
Canadian mom to J - Feb 2011 and L - March 2015
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby RedRum » 24 Dec 2014, 09:36

So sorry I haven't come back to reply - we've just driven to Portugal for Christmas so the last few days have been a bit busy! I have been reading all your replies, and they've really helped. I'm still not feeling massively confident but I think I'm feeling a bit more philosophical about it. I guess Christmas is never the time for bidy confidence anyway so that doesn't help!
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby mindy » 27 Jan 2015, 22:36

I'm now struggling with body image, and feel so guilty as my baby is healthy and I'm doing my best to look after him.

Am 20 weeks tomorrow, and look at least 7 months. Most of it disappears when I lie down, which makes it worse - so obviously mostly abdominal fat rather than baby, so why is the bump so high under my ribs? It literally sticks out to a point under my sternum. The spd is so painful Im unable to do even gentle walking, and have not been controlling the ravenous hunger, neither of which are helping control the weight gain.

I know it shouldn't matter, but I feel huge and unattractive and look like a weeble - I'm embarrassed when people are surprised that I'm only 20 weeks! It's so daft, we are healthy and that should be all that matters.

I was fascinated reading all your responses to RR's post - some really poignant and thoughtful comments. Would be interested to hear how you are all feeling about your pregnant bodies too.
Two adorable, headstrong daughters: Roo born Sept 2008, Min born April 2011, and small boy who arrived Summer 2015
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Re: Dealing with body changes

Postby RedRum » 28 Jan 2015, 11:27

((((mindy)))) I'm not sure I can offer much advice (although everyone else's advice on this thread helped me loads) but can offer much sympathy. I'm feeling better about my body now that I'm more obviously pregnant, rather than just feeling bloated and fat, but there are plenty of other aspects conspiring to make me feel unattractive instead (gas/wind being a primary culprit, along with the fact that I'm getting quite a lot of pelvic pain so I've developed a bit of a waddle).
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