I doubt it will be any surprise to anyone who has read my posts before that I have a sincerely unhappy relationship with my body image. There are few times that I willingly take a photo of myself, pause to look in a mirror, and feel any happiness about my current shape.
However, as I get closer to 20 weeks in my second (and probably final) pregnancy, I find myself rubbing my stomach with pride. I stop in front of the mirror for a long minute to try to feel where my little swimmer is kicking around. For the first time since I had my daughter Lillie five years ago, I don’t feel like I despise every stretch mark and bit of cellulite.
Getting pregnant this time around was difficult for us, largely because of my weight and the issues that come along with it: PCOS and the first signs of diabetes. It took nearly five years and an incredibly supportive OBGYN to have success. Now that we are expecting a beautiful baby girl in December, I can’t help but be proud of my baby-incubating tummy.
This time around, as I see more stretch marks starting to etch their way into my sides, I don’t feel like I want to cry. I no longer fear what will happen when the baby is born and there is still so much extra weight to deal with. Instead, I feel motivated.
I’ve been blessed enough to have a second little girl. If everything goes well and she is born happy and healthy, I plan to make the best of every second and finally get control of myself. I’ve already started to make changes — those sorts of dietary and exercise changes that will lead to a healthier me in the future. I do this not because I want to love my body better as I think that ship sadly sailed in my youth and was eaten by a Kraken.
However, I will work to get as healthy as I can before and after the baby comes, because I want to be there for my new little girl and my active five-year-old. I want to be able to run and chase and play and laugh and not struggle so hard to just move through my day. I want to be proud of myself in a new way.
So, this is my goal as this pregnancy progresses: I hope to move and play, eat better, and try to get a handle on my addiction to all things Dew and candy. As I work through it, I’ll need plenty of support and encouragement. I’d be happy to supply support and encouragement for anyone else going through the same struggles. So don’t hesitate to reach out if this resonates with you. I really want to know that I’m not alone in this.