How Pregnancy Affected My Body Image

When I became pregnant with my miracle rainbow baby, I weighed in at whopping 167lb which, on my five foot frame, put me in the obese category. Add in the four miscarriages I’ve had and that has created a toxic cocktail of self-loathing these past few years.

With miscarriages and other forms of fertility issues, your body becomes uncontrollable. You can’t make it do what you want it to. You can’t will it into producing eggs. You can’t beg it to become pregnant no matter how hard you try. Your body is simply functioning in ways that can’t be fixed with prayer or intention or wishes.

tears
It didn’t matter how hard I prayed or how often I begged, The Universe had a different plan for me

As a spiritual person with a strong faith in the Universe and a belief that this Universe has my best interests in Her heart, I was let down month after month when each period came. And when I became pregnant and repeated “all is well” over and over in hopes that it would be THAT pregnancy that stuck, the loss felt insurmountable.

It didn’t matter how hard I meditated or how positive I spoke, my body still denied me the one thing I wanted.

These constant letdowns caused a disconnection in my body. I put up a wall between my body and mind. I couldn’t tell you where my grief lived. I couldn’t feel sensations. My feelings were numb. I had nothing left to give to the relationship. I gave up working out and gave in to cravings for shitty food. My body and I were done.

Until one day I discovered Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I was bored one morning and decided to try one of her yoga videos. I had tried yoga years previously but didn’t fall in love with it as many people seem to.

But I knew that there must be some connection since so many people’s lives are truly changed once they discover their practice.

So I started yoga with Adriene, found my love for yoga and finally found myself slowly coming back into my body.

body

When I got pregnant in December 2017, I was well on my way to rebuilding my body-mind connection but it wasn’t where I wanted it: physically, emotionally or mentally. But I was on my way.

nursing
Nursing in Recovery, completely exhausted but completely in love

Since having my boy six weeks ago, I’ve noticed profound differences in my body, my relationship with it and in my body image. Here’s what’s changed:

I think twice before eating anything

I used to haphazardly and mindlessly eat anything and I mean anything: ice cream, chips, deep fried foods, candy, etc. If I wanted ice cream at 11pm, I’d have the damn ice cream. Now I have more restraint and ask myself, do I want this or need this? If it’s a want, I’ll think twice before eating it. If it’s a need, like I haven’t ate since dinner the night before, I’ll eat with gusto. If I just want to enjoy a dessert or whatever with a friend, I will!

And I’ll leave the guilt in the bottom of the bowl.

There’s no room for guilt when you’re truly enjoying what’s going in your mouth. Similarly, I ask myself, am I actually hungry or am I bored/upset/feeling something uncomfortable? Before, I ate when I was bored all the time. Now, I only eat when I’m hungry.

 

When I eat, I’m more mindful

This happened because I was so friggin’ sick for my entire pregnancy that I had to tune in quick to my body otherwise I’d throw up. I had to eat slowly. I had to choose foods that were nourishing and good for baby since I was eating less frewquently. I had to watch my portions. I used to eat the same size portions as my six foot husband! Talk about abusing your body! But if it was in front of me, I’d eat it. Being mindful now means I’ll properly portion out exactly how much fuel I need. Because ultimately, that’s what food is: FUEL. How many calories do I need in this meal to carry me through to the next meal? I should also add here that for the first three months of my pregnancy all I could keep down was candy soo…you do what you gotta do!

running
Movement is so important for us. 

I appreciate movement/exercise more

With C-sections, you’re not allowed to do anything strenuous or active for the first six weeks post partum. Laying around for the past six weeks has been a personal hell. Humans are not meant to be stagnant lazy beings. We NEED to move. When we don’t, our bodies let us know that they don’t appreciate it! Our joints seize up, we gain weight, we become lethargic and some of us get sick. It’s awful how sore I’ve been and it’s all from doing nothing. It’s been required of course, I just had a baby. But I sure appreciate exercise so much more now and can’t wait to get a good long distance walk in and some weight training back in my daily routine!

I am a Goddess

My pregnancy body was one I didn’t recognize but I felt so comfortable and beautiful in it. I was round and soft and glowing. I was a sensual being given a beautiful gift. I felt womanly, empowered and divinely powerful; as if my female ancestors were standing behind me and rooting for my body and my birth. I felt strong and capable. I was scared at times because of my past but for the most part, I was in awe that I was finally growing a baby within my body. Even during my sickest days I would rub my stomach and just marvel at the divinity that is conception. That alone is enough to change your body image to one of strength and beauty. Also, my body finally did what I had been begging it to do: I was growing life. That was the icing on the body image cake!

crying
See the tear sliding down my face? I was completely bombarded with relief and joy!

I was reborn when my baby was born

My birth with Callum was slightly traumatic. We went into the hospital with a birth plan and like most plans, they didn’t go the way we had hoped. His heart rate went from 170 to a brief normal range before plummeting to 60, he had Nuchal hand, it took five tries to get the epidural in, the decelerated heart rate meant an emergency c-section and the cord was wrapped around his neck. It was NOT how I envisioned my birthing experience. But I stayed calm the entire time. I trusted the doctors and my body. I knew everything would be okay. My husband called me a warrior but I simply say, I’m just a mom. And as a mom, I trusted my intuition that my baby was going to be okay. When he came out screaming, I completely broke down. I sobbed and sobbed seeing my healthy boy over the clear screen. I have never felt that way in my life. The hormones and adrenaline and emotions overwhelmed me. My relief that he was okay and believing my faith helped make him that way caused a profound feeling in my soul. I felt connected to the Universe.

After recovery and one day in the maternity ward, we came home. This baby moon has been a beautiful time of snuggles, sleepless nights and building a bond with my baby and with my body again. I’m nursing and eating better than I ever have before. I’m almost twenty pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. That’s right, I’m almost 147 pounds now. I haven’t seen the 140’s in a looong time.

My tummy is jiggly and squishy. My legs are still short and thick. My arms are smaller but stronger. My glow is fading and my hair is falling out. But I was reborn on that operating table.

I have a new sensitivity around me; a quiet mindfulness and a deep knowing of otherworldly senses. I appreciate the smallest of things now; I actually teared up when I had my first sip of wine. I savour foods and drinks, especially when my baby seems to know when I want to eat and wakes up and/or cries. I move slower and think harder and tend to be a little harder on myself as mom this time around because I love my kids in such a way that I think it may cause my heart to explode. But in the same breath, I’m also more forgiving of myself and others. I’m gentler with those thoughts and don’t let them overwhelm me. I surrender to them.

mama love

I love my body for what it’s finally accomplished. I don’t see the stretch marks (I got three on my tummy! Ha! And many on my thighs!) in a negative light now like I did before. I don’t see my flabby tummy as something disgusting as I did with my first baby. I’m a mom. Or as my husband puts it, a warrior. Warriors don’t have time for anything less than acceptance for what is, drive to change what isn’t, appreciation for what’s come and gone and excitement for what’s next.

 

United we rise,

K

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s