Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear Pregnant Body: I Haven't Been Very Nice to You...

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...and this needs to change.

I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and I feel like I'm bursting at the seams. Lately I've been experiencing the effects of my growing waistline more than ever--both physically and mentally. Physically I'm exhausted. The tiredness of the first trimester has come back with a vengeance... In fact, I would say it's even worse. I struggle to get through my days. Even the most mundane of tasks has felt ridiculously daunting.  It's almost humorous how hard it is to say... go up and down stairs. As soon as Sam gets home it's a known fact that I'm done with stairs for the night. If I need anything from the lower level of our house he kindly fetches it for me. And don't even get me started on laundry...

Then there's the mental/emotional aspect of my ever-increasing size. Because I was sick with all-day "morning sickness" until about 24 weeks, I wasn't able to start exercising until then. Thus from about week 6 to 24 I took a big break from working out, which was hard for me. Nowadays I work out daily and I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger again. I've been doing prenatal workout videos at home, cardio at the gym, and lots of walks. Additionally I try to make healthy and sensible choices with my diet. Yet--without getting into specifics--I've gained more weight than the average or recommended amount... already. And I still have some of the biggest growth weeks to go.

The same thing happened last time with Klair. With both pregnancies it seems that regardless of how disciplined I am with exercise and my eating, my body just wants to hold on to everything it possibly can. With Klair I was able to lose the pregnancy weight fairly quickly post-partum with breastfeeding and avid exercise. In spite of knowing this about my body, I have been really hard on myself this time around. Maybe it's the fact that the weight definitely came on faster with this second baby. And, maybe all the photos we've been taking this time around for the blog haven't helped either. My poor husband kindly takes photos for my blog, and then he has to deal with the repercussions of me being upset when I see myself through the lens of a camera. I guess I'm just having a really hard time not letting my weight get to me. I avoid the scale at home... but I can't avoid it at the doctor. Or the mirror. Or photos. Each doctor appointment has rattled me, and every time I go to my closet to try and find something to wear I end up feeling depressed.

Thus, rather than focusing on the amazing miracle of life that's occurring within me, I've been hyper-focused on negative body image--and this isn't okay. It needs to change.

If I'm going to get through the next 5 weeks, I need to try and be more positive. No, scratch that. I don't just want to get through the rest of this journey. I want to enjoy it. Rather than feeling depressed that I've gained weight, I want to revel in the incomprehensibly beautiful miracle that is currently taking place within me. When people compliment me, I need to stop dismissing their comments as obligated niceness.

No more of that. Right now, even as I write this with no makeup, I am beautiful. Some women love pregnancy. They feel more beautiful than ever knowing that they are housing and nurturing another living soul within them. I believe this for women in general, but I don't apply it to myself. I think all women possess there own inherent beauty, and I believe pregnancy is one of the ultimate expressions of this... yet I automatically exclude myself. I guess you could say that I acknowledge in theory that I am beautiful, particularly now...  but now I need to figure out how to believe it.

And of course I recognize that body image issues aren't limited to pregnancy--it's just what I'm currently experiencing. But in our toxic culture I think it's safe to say that most women struggle with issues of confidence, particularly relating to appearance. I think we would all do well to follow this advice from Amy Poehler:

"When you talk about yourself or to yourself and you have that tape running in your head, try to picture you are talking to your own daughter or your younger sister. Because you would tell your younger sister or your daughter that she is beautiful and you wouldn't be lying, because she is. And so are you."

Basically I guess I just really need to change my attitude. Every time a negative thought pops in my head (as they inevitably will) I'm going to counter it with positivity. Whenever I feel the urge to complain (which I do way too much) I'm going to try and see the silver lining. Happiness is a choice and a matter of focus. I can choose where to focus my attention, and I certainly have a lot to be grateful for... even in the tougher times.

Furthermore, with only five weeks left of this pregnancy, I want connect with my son as much as possible--to love every movement and revel in the passing moments. I want to set aside time daily to appreciate this connection that we have now--a connection that will soon end, but that has bonded us forever.

Lastly, I need to soak up this time with my husband and daughter. Right now I'm not taking care of a newborn... and despite my excitement to do so, I'm not kidding myself. It will be a lot of work! It will demand a lot of me and a lot of my time. Right now I can give everything to Sam and Klair, and they deserve that.

Yesterday while I was driving I saw a quote posted on a church billboard in magnetic letters. It read:

"Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice." 

It caught my attention at the time as a witty bit of wisdom, but I didn't think much more of it. It wasn't until I started writing out my feelings that I realized it was the perfect way to summarize this post. I've been so negative lately. I've been practicing negativity and I've gotten pretty good at it!...too good. It's time to change.

And of course this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the photos. When I first saw them, I was disappointed--not in the dress itself, but in how I looked in it. I was negative about my appearance. But now I'm forcing myself to look at them with a different perspective. The dress is beautiful, and so am I. (Also, I have to say I'm really impressed with and grateful for the quality of my husband's photography. I am the luckiest to have his support in this crazy blogging adventure.)

My dress came from Maeberry Vintage. I have mentioned this amazing little boutique in previous posts (which you can read here and here). They have such a great collection of vintage clothing. There is so much variety that even a girl who is almost 9 months pregnant can find something she loves. It's also pretty awesome knowing that it is a unique, authentic vintage piece and the likelihood of someone else having this dress is slim to none. Although it isn't specifically designed for a preggo, it makes the perfect maternity dress for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday--hence the green accessories. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City, be sure to check them out!


  1. First, as a photographer, let me just say that the camera truly does add ten pounds or more! For instance, I took some maternity photos of a dear friend who glowed and looked fabulous, but when I got the files on my computer to edit, her belly suddenly seemed even bigger as well as her arms, etc! Oh, no. Maybe that's partly my fault as the photographer, but I'm saying that it's much easier to pick apart a still picture, especially when we're used to seeing flawless over photoshopped models on every advertisement.

    Also, a body will do what a body will do! A 35lb weight gain is the average recommendation, and most of us are anything but average! I gained a solid 45lbs with each of my pregnancies. So no worries. You're growing a HUMAN. A human you will love more than anything. So worth it.

    1. Thanks Jessie! And you're right. I think in large part my insecurities about my body come from comparison... we are surrounded by images of what women are "supposed" to look (both in pregnancy and not) and these versions usually don't include stretch marks or any of the other realities of pregnancy. Yet I still end up trying to compare myself to them. Photoshop is an amazing tool for photographers but sometimes I wonder if it's done more harm than good...

      And you're absolutely right. Luckily I have a doctor who has reassured me that I'm healthy and doing fine. But there are still so many articles out there that say you shouldn't gain anymore than 35 lbs... blah blah... and I know I shouldn't let it get to me, but it does. But at the same time I know I'm eating healthy and exercising so... that's all I can do! I would probably have to starve myself (and my baby) to have a "normal" weight gain, which is something I'm just not willing to do.

      You're so right! I'm growing a human!!! Ahh, the thought is crazy and so amazing. Thanks for all your kind words, friend! If you're ever in Utah we should definitely get together.

  2. you are soo so cute!!! i love this outfit and can't wait to see you saturday!!

    Sandy a la Mode

  3. Congratulations!) Awesome post and beautiful pictures! Like your blog very much! You do a great job!
    p.s. new post - how I met Victoria Beckham

    Diana Cloudlet

    1. Thank you so much Diana! I really appreciate it!

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