7 Ways to Embrace Your Body During Pregnancy

Despite my pregnancy body image struggles, I haven’t spent the entirety of the past nine months feeling like a two ton tank with legs. During my more rational and positive moments, I realized there were some things I could do to make myself feel more feminine and fit. Acting like a victim of my pregnant circumstance was not one of them. I still had/have days where nothing seems okay about my pregnant physique (except for the little one growing in there), but I never regretted taking action against my negative attitude, however small the action was. Here are seven simple and practical ways to embrace (or begin to embrace) your changing body during pregnancy.

7 ways to embrace your body during pregnancyPaint those nails – Painted nails are one of my superficial coping methods. Bright, cheery nail colors help me get through the dreary Winter months and just a slick of light pink helps me feel feminine anytime of year. So, it’s no surprise that keeping my nails painted during pregnancy has been a mood lifter. Prenatal vitamins plus pregnancy hormones usually make nails and hair (see suggestion below) grow strong and healthy. Take advantage of the length and strength of those pregnant nails – you’ll feel festive and more put together.

{My absolute favorite nail polish is Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Enamel. The flat tipped brush makes for easy and accurate application and the colors range from subdued French Rose to trendy Marine Blue.}

Take care of your hair – Even if your hair didn’t benefit from those vitamins and hormones I mentioned (though they really do marvelous things for most women’s hair), a good cut, wash, and styling session can do a world of good for your morale. I recently got my hair cut and felt like a new woman. Investing in quality shampoo and conditioner is good way to pamper your locks, too, if you aren’t in need of a trim.

Maternity Clothes – Don’t wait until you’re bursting out of your regular stuff to buy and wear maternity clothes. Put everything that doesn’t fit away so its not taunting you. Motherhood Maternity and Target were my favorite places to get clothes. (MM has tall jeans!) You may rebel against the thought of wearing things with ruching and stretchy waist bands, but chances are, you’ll look slimmer in them than in regular clothes you’re trying to make accommodate your changing shape.

You also don’t need to replace your whole wardrobe with maternity clothes. A well curated selection of maternity pieces should carry you through your entire pregnancy.  I ended up with 3 pants, 1 pair of leggings, 3 t-shirts, 5 or so sweaters, and 1 dress. Though I’m excited to expand my wardrobe pretty soon, I definitely didn’t grieve for lack of maternity options.

Avoid looking at pre-pregnancy photos – I got into several negative spirals after looking through older Facebook albums. All I could think about was how I wished I looked like I did in those photos instead of how I looked now in my pregnant state. The comparison is unfair and detrimental to your body image. I would avoid going down memory lane as much as possible.

Exercise – It can be difficult to get off the couch to pee in the midst of pregnancy induced exhaustion let alone exercise, but physical activity was truly one of the most effective ways of embracing my pregnant body. Even when nothing but a nap sounded good, I always felt better (and more energized) after getting off my bum and engaging in some sort of physical activity. I stopped jogging pretty immediately after finding out I was pregnant for fear that I would somehow bounce little James right out of the womb. In hindsight, that wasn’t necessary, but walks were a good alternative. I also enjoyed pregnancy workout videos in my living room when Winter really kicked in. You don’t have to let your arms and legs atrophy even though your middle is expanding. If you aren’t sick or bed ridden, I would push past the temptation to stay sedentary and get moving!

Wear mascara – Do whatever it is that makes you feel pretty and put together. For some women it’s a necklace; for others it’s lip gloss. For me, it’s wearing mascara. Most of the time during the past few months, I have looked like a ragamuffin – fuzzy socks, Tim’s sweat pants, unbrushed hair. I think Tim looks forward to Sundays when I make a concerted effort to look presentable. Though it takes some extra effort, I always feel better after I’ve showered and put some thought into my ensemble. But even if I’m staying in my yoga pants, taking a minute to put on mascara before I walk out the door makes me feel more human.

Guard your mind – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

I think this has been the most difficult, but most rewarding way to embrace my pregnancy body – praying for the strength to keep my mind focused where it needs to be focused. Even if you gain more weight than you wanted to or you just feel like a beached whale sometimes, you are still beautiful and full of life. We can ask God for help in keeping our minds on truth, purity, beauty, and praiseworthy things.

photo credit: Kit4na via photopin cc

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