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Pregnancy and Acceptance of Body Issues

23 weeksb pregnant with second child

I was 23 weeks yesterday…one more week closer to 40 and meeting this little lady.

But one thing that I haven’t really discussed is my body image during pregnancy.  For me, loving what I see is insanely difficult. Some of you are probably going to think this post is ridiculous or whiny but I’m just going to put it all out there since I’ve found it difficult to find other bloggers who are willing to admit online that pregnancy is anything other than rainbows and butterflies (or maybe I’m just super jealous of women who legitimately feel that way).  It’s so easy to portray your life one way online, but not truly share what your reality is like.  I like to think that I’ve kept it as honest and raw as I possibly can on this blog since reading about someone’s perfect and carefully curated life can get pretty tiring…quickly.

Honestly, anyone can take a flattering photo (with cell phones you can just take a million until you like one).  And even then, I look at the photo I posted above and can’t get over the weight that I’ve already gained in my hips, thighs and lower back.  When facing head on, I look like a human pear.  See…that’s what I do to myself.

When I’m surrounded by images of beautiful pregnant women with super tiny baby bumps, I’ve found it hard to accept the changes that are still in store.  Me on the other hand,  I’m 5’7 with a short torso and longer legs (which can be massively difficult to dress while pregnant since low rise maternity jeans still come up to my belly button and high rise come right up to under my boobs).  Jeans must be longs or I look like I’m ready for a flood and stripped dresses are not my friend.  I tend to look further along with my bump due to there not being a lot of space for this little baby to begin with.

I can remember a lady telling me around 27 weeks when I was pregnant with Mabel that I must be due any day now.  Ugh.

Body image has always been an issue for me, nothing super serious but of course an issue while trying on clothes; picking out every flaw I see.  Accepting compliments is even more difficult.  I was teased horribly when I was in middle school for my pants being too short, not wearing something designer, or just in general looking awkward.  Kids will be kids but some of these things stick with you for a long time.  I was always the sensitive kid and it was hard to let things just roll off my back.

I don’t think I’ve ever come out and said, but with my first pregnancy with Mabel, I gained 50 pounds.  Yep, you read that right.  I was never scolded or shamed…my midwives actually supported me so I can’t express how thankful I am for that and not feeling judged.   But because of the total weight gain, I’ve found myself glued more to my scale this time around.  I’m at 16 pounds for 23 weeks which is right on track and much healthier than last time.  But…I’ll admit that I’m a little worried that everything will get out of control in the last 17 weeks like it did with my last pregnancy.  I’m going to keep plugging on and doing my best!

Honestly, I don’t think there is a magic cure for loving my pregnant body but I can accept that it’s going through changes that are helping to create a lovely little girl; a sacrifice that is well worth me being uncomfortable for a few more months.  I can do my best to make changes after birth to be healthier but I still think feeling comfortable in my own skin will always be a work in progress.  And of course that’s a necessity since I want to set a good example for Mabel and this new little baby girl; I would give anything for them to have a healthy self confidence within themselves…one that I’ve never had.

I’m hoping that at least one person might be able to relate to this post and know that even though maternity clothes may not fit right, scale frustrations are a headache, and along with all the other related body issues pregnancy brings…you’re not alone.  Pregnancy isn’t just a fashion show about who looks best in designer maternity gear (this is coming from the woman who won’t spend over $30 on maternity clothes since it’s pointless if you’re only wearing it for a few months)…and it’s certainly not middle/high school all over again…so try not to be so hard on yourself.  Enjoy the little things like baby kicks and feeling hiccups because you won’t be carrying him/her forever.

I should really learn to listen to my own advice. 

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Natasha
    October 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I am really glad you posted this. I am 5’1″ and with my little man I got big and fast. I already had a noticeable bump at 12 weeks! I am one of the luckier ones who didn’t gain much in my face or behind but my stomach was ginormous and was constantly being pointed out to me. “You must be due any day” “you look like your going to burst”. We are now starting to think about having our second baby and in the back of my mind I keep wondering how I am going to do it again while hearing the same comments daily. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in having a hard time accepting my body while pregnant. And fyi I think you look beautiful!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      October 27, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks for commenting Natasha, it means a lot. 🙂 And a huge early congrats whenever you guys feel like it’s time for the next little one! I don’t think people really think when they say comments like that, I mean they seem pretty harmless but when I already feel huge with half of my pregnancy still left…it’s kind of last thing you really want to hear, lol. :\ But like I said early…thank you so much for the comment. It lets me know that I’m not the only one too.

  • Reply
    Jamie
    October 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I’m 100% there with you!! I am currently 34 weeks with my 2nd baby girl! i gained about 45lbs the first time around and currently im sitting at about 23lbs gained!! I have fairly easy pregnancies, just a little heartburn and general discomfort, yet I hate being pregnant! I feel a little guilty because of the people who either can’t get pregnant or those who have it much more difficult than I do. Anyway, I also hate how I look/dress during pregnancy. Thought I’d let you know you aren’t alone!!!! 🙂 and you look adorable. If you want to feel better about yourself, I’ll send you a picture of me.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      October 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Jamie, you’re almost there with that little one! 🙂 I think it was easier the first pregnancy to gain the extra weight for me because I had no idea what to expect or how easy the pounds would be to gain, lol! Pregnancy hasn’t been my friend either time…I know it could be a lot worse though so like you said, I feel horrible about complaining when people have difficulties getting pregnant and have much worse complications while being pregnant. And btw, I can see your profile pic from your comment and you look great/have a very nice looking family. 🙂 Thanks for the comment…I really appreciate it!

  • Reply
    Tiff
    October 27, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    The first time I admitted out loud that I hated being pregnant I expected to be looked down on by my friends. In truth, all but my most Goddess Earth Mother types laughed out loud saying, “Thanks god it’s not just me!” Truth be told even the most Goddessey types will admit that it’s not all pickles and ice cream and the body image thing can be brutal at best. I will never forget being 8 months along and walking into a restaurant where there was a table of firemen (A prepreggo dream!). One of the fortysomethings came up to me, handlebar mustache and all and said, “There’s just something right with the world when there’s a woman making miracles around.” While it didn’t cure my body shaming, it put it into perspective for me and gave me a come back for that nasty voice in the back of my head.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      October 27, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Tiff, can I say that this whole comment is amazing! 🙂 I love the last little bit about the fireman…it’s truly nice to hear such a nice thing from a stranger. I wish we could all have little bits of perspective given to us through random kind acts. Thank you so much for sharing this with me!

  • Reply
    Osha
    October 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I’m 4’11” and gained 62 pounds with my daughter. I too have a short torso causing my baby girl to not have too much room to grow,so I looked & felt huge. I gained weight every place possible.I used to compare myself to other pregnant women constantly. I’m not the average size woman & I never should’ve put myself down for not looking like one of those fabulous preggo’s in high heels all glamed up. We’re planning for baby #2 next year & I’ll be honest & say that Ive been putting it off in hopes of losing 20-30 pounds before getting pregnant again. All because I want to avoid feeling so insecure as I did with my first pregnancy but your post has reminded me that their are far more important things to worry about during pregnancy than how I look. Thank you for sharing this post. Your honesty is greatly appreciated. By the way,you are stunning darling!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      October 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Osha, can I guess that you probably had insane heartburn too? With hardly any waist and nowhere for this kiddo (or even with Mabel last time around) my heartburn has been vicious!

      Back to your comment, I have a horrible time of comparing myself to other women, especially when I’m pregnant. But I have to remind myself that genetically, I think it’s impossible for me to carry a baby any differently…so I just need to give myself a break. AND just like you’re saying, we put off having a baby a little earlier because I thought I would try to lose a little more weight but it didn’t happen before we got pregnant. I figure I’ll just be dedicated to getting healthy after Baby #2 arrives. Lastly, you’re very right…there are far more important things to worry about during pregnancy, so I just need to remind myself of that and be thankful for everything that I do have. Thanks so much for your kind words and support. 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie Mize
    October 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Glad you had the courage to post this. Most blogs I read while pregnant were extremely unrelative to what I felt about my body. It’s one thing to discuss the universal discomforts of pregnancy but to express the frustrations with what the pregnancy is doing to your body and more importantly body image is something not many speak about. My self esteem has never been great and I’ve always had a problem with weight, throw in two pregnancies and it’s not gotten any prettier! Thanks for sharing and know that you are definitely not alone. Here’s to plugging away before, during and AFTER pregnancy!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      October 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Stephanie,
      A lot of the big bloggers I follow sometimes seem to gloss everything over which can be frustrating since I feel like there is no way life can be that perfect (but who knows, maybe it can be and I’m missing out, lol!). Also, like I’ve said in my other replies to comments, I feel guilty for complaining since I know there are other much more serious issues women have to deal with but body issues are still a big issue for a lot of women so I figured it was time for finally just put it all out there. Like you, I’ve had self esteem issues since I was younger and pregnancy certainly doesn’t help…but I’m optimistic for the future and feeling more comfortable in my skin! Thanks so much for taking the time to write me a comment since I really appreciate knowing that I’m not alone with all of this.

  • Reply
    Natalie
    October 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    i’ve thought Iof starting a blog just to write a post about this. No one warned me when I got pregnant that body image would be so difficult! I started out weighing more than I wanted, and am due any day now and have gained 50 pounds at least. I don’t tell anyone that number, and have only tearfully admitted that to only my husband, but hey…I have to believe that it happens, I’ll not stay this way forever, and ultimately it’s for a good (and cute) little cause!
    I haven’t posted pregnancy bump pictures at all during my pregnancy…haven’t wanted to take them. My feet and ankles have swollen, along with my hands and face, which has been especially hard on the self-confidence. Hormones gave me oily skin. Pregnancy sure isn’t glamorous!
    Thanks for being brave and writing this! I know I feel a little relieved to know I’m not the only one who struggles with body image. For what it’s worth I think you look great in your picture! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shasta
    October 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I was actually quite the opposite of you. I WANTED my belly to be big and “out there” instead of teeny and hard to see until I was almost over with my pregnancy. I guess that’s part to do with my losses, but I craved for someone to ask me when I was due. Most of the time I looked like I ate too many donuts!

    Anyways, I think the point I’m trying to make is that everyone has something they don’t like about themselves. We’re all made up differently, and we’re all beautiful. I think you look fabulous!

    And hey! With your sewing skills, why don’t you make some maternity stuff to wear?!

  • Reply
    Sandy
    October 28, 2014 at 2:18 am

    I can completely relate, with my daughter I gained 45 pounds. Mind you I am 4’11”, short torso’ed, and short legs. I thought I was going to have this cute little bump. WRONG! I’m the type of person, if I were to eat a grape I could immediately see it go to my hips. By 4 weeks when I went to confirm pregnancy I had already gained 10 pounds all thanks to bloat. Thankfully the bloat subsided after a couple a weeks and I was back down to my starting weight 125. The rest of my pregnancy I was cautious about what I ate, making sure to make more healthier and nutritious choices. No bingeing, no eating for 2, in fact I could barely eat for 1 as there was hardly any room, and everything gave me heartburn. All this to no avail, the scale kept climbing and it didn’t help that my CNM made note of it as well at every appointment. I was told to cut carbs, to cut sugar even in fruit, and portion control. Because if I kept getting bigger my baby was going to be big, and that could cause issues with delivery. Like I wasn’t already aware of the problem and trying my best to fix it, plus all that I wanted to eat was fruit. How is fruit bad dammit! Anyway, i continued my pregnancy trying my hardest not to pay attention to the scale, I knew I was making the right choices but my body just responded differently than others. By the end of my pregnancy 40.2 weeks I reached 170 pounds,and my feet were swollen for weeks and delivered a 6lb 14oz baby. Despite being told she would be at least 8lbs because of all the weight I had gained. So as you can see you are not alone. It is hard not to focus on the negative, but at last it’s only temporary what we go through for our little loves.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    October 28, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Finally someone who doesn’t think pregnancy is grand. I have 2 beautiful children I’d do anything for. While pregnate with either, I was sick the entire time. ALL DAY AND NITE. The second was better, with hypnosis the sick went away. My first I only gained 10 lbs. That was amazing, but when nothing stays in your stomach, that’s what you get. She was also full term, but small, only 7.3lbs. My second, gained 23lbs., he was huge! Weighed in at 10.75lbs. All that aside, my pregnancies never felt “natural”. I was huge both times with this mountain in front of me. Due to being heavier then, it was mistaken somehow as just being fat at times.
    I think we all have image issues. Look at our advertising, TV programs and the movies…oh and of course video games. There isn’t a way for women not to have image issues. Then, you take ourselves into it and we belittle, demean, or are just snarky at eachother for really no reason. Oh…because she holds her baby differently, she’s over weight, oh man she looks terrible in that dress…….goes on and on with variations.
    You look amazing! You look like I wanted to look and feel. As for 50lbs., looks like you must have lost it all or close to it. Yeah, why don’t you sew some clothes for yourself?
    YOU LOOK AMAZING! !!!!!!!!!!
    Have a great night.☺

  • Reply
    Jessica
    October 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Yup, pregnancy wasn’t rainbows and sunshine for me either. And with my 2nd I was huge the entire time, which didn’t help. Those people who can stay in their regular jeans until the 3rd trimester? UGH.

    I think it’s hugely important to talk about it openly, during my first pregnancy I really felt like I’d been lied to by everyone about what it was really going to be like. And it was even worse postpartum. So speak your truth!!

  • Reply
    lei
    October 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Its so nice hearing someone else not finding pregnancy all sugar and butterflies.. I’m almost 20 weeks and have been sick since 6.. Its been a nightmare of hospitals and feeling weak and depressed. Its been so tough that I’ve questioned being pregnant and my partner has found it very tough dealing with how tough its been.. Thank you for helping me realize its not just me who finds it hard.

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    November 11, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I definitely feel this way a lot of the time…I think I am better this time around (It’s my 3rd pregnancy) My pregnancies with my first two boys have been hard…I gained so much weight with my second and was so unhappy. But this time around I am staying at a great weight (but still feel huge) cause like you I am shorter….It true though you can make yourself sick with all the amazing pictures of beautiful small baby bumps. Pinterest is evil. But you are amazing!!!!! <3 Growing a baby is a beautiful thing…that is something I am focusing on this time around…about this insane opportunity be able to create another beautiful little person <3 Going through all of this is completely worth every change 🙂 You are Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    December 9, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    My first pregnancy, I was all butterflies and rainbows about my baby bump, totally in love with all of pregnancy. Now I am about 20 weeks into pregnancy #2 and there are definitely not any butterflies and rainbows around here. I hadn’t gotten around to losing the baby fat from #1, so now adding new baby fat on top. Oh, and try to find a sympathetic ear, ha! All I get is a bunch of people saying it’s OK because your pregnant, but you’re so cute preggy, blah blah blah. I’m guilty of doing that to other women in the past, but never again. I will listen and complain right along with her.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 6, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I cannot thank you enough for posting this Morgan. I have been searching pregnancy blogs to find someone who feels the same exact way I do. My struggle is that I have always had body issues as well. I am 5’6 and long legged with a short torso. I am 16 weeks and right now and I feel like my back fat is larger than my bump. My mother is a personal fitness buff who opened her own gym and she has constantly be on me for working out throughout my pregnancy and does not understand that there are certain things I can’t do and certain things I just don’t want to do. She isn’t as excited as I thought she would be about this pregnancy. I think in part because of her gym opening, I just got married last year and it’s been all about me for a while and I am not working out and following a healthy eating regimen daily. She would never tell me she is not excited, in fact when I have confronted her about it she says it’s not true at all. I feel alienated by my family. That certainly has not helped me with my weight issues. I went to the doctor’s yesterday for a prenatal visit and it was the first time I ever turned around on the scale and said please don’t tell me. I felt like crying. I always thought I would be the fit pregnant, only bump showing, and can’t even tell you’re pregnant from the back pregnant person. Boy, I was so wrong about that. Reading your post made me realize I am not alone in this struggle. I really wish I could rise above these body issues because what our bodies are making is a beautiful thing!

  • Reply
    33 Weeks and A Midwife Update - Modern Mommyhood
    January 8, 2015 at 10:17 am

    […] gained a total of 30 pounds and surprisingly I’m perfectly fine with that.  I think this post has finally sunk in and I’m at a happy place with this […]

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