Pregnancy and body image - help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not currently pregnant, but when I was pregnant 2 years ago, I absolutely loved my pregnant body, took pictures, enjoyed every minute of it.

A close dear friend of mine is now 28 weeks pregnant, and is having a really hard time with her pregnant body image. She is an athletic, fit woman, with a large boned frame. She is measuring big, and does in fact "look" a little "big" around the middle for her dates. She has gained weight all over, and is really struggling with this. She is sad that she isn't like "those" women (which I was part of) who look the same as they did previously, with a big basketball tummy.

She is very sad that she feels this way. She wants to revel in her pregnant body like I did. She is so thankful for her pregnancy, is excited about labour and birth and is looking forward to that challenge.

Can anyone help me help her? She's a very well-read person, and likes academic works as well as more mainstream literature. Does anyone know of some resources I could direct her to, to help her deal with her sadness?

Thanks so much.
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#2 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 11:11 AM
 
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Somewhere there was a wonderful page I saw with pictures of lots of nude or nearly nude pregnant women. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the organization that posted it. It might help for her to see that lots of pregnant women look the way she does. If I find it I'll come back and post the link.

Its a hard thing, it used to be that pregnant women in general weren't shown in magazines and such, or if so their pregnancy was hidden. Now just like with women in other parts of life there are images everywhere of the "ideal" pregnant body type and its hard not to feel that you aren't beautiful if you don't match that.

I hope she will come to see that her strong body is making a baby just as yours was and the shape of it doesn't matter so much..every pregnancy is carried differently anyway and if you two have more children you may find your roles reversed in the next pregnancy. I think you might gently tell her those things and then give her a hug and tell her she looks beautiful to you.
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#3 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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subbing. I don't love my pregnant body either. It'd probably be easier to if DH acted like he liked it, but he doesn't.

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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#4 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 11:34 AM
 
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This is not the sites I meant but here are two things:

a belly cast gallery showing a wide variety of pregnant shapes

http://bellymask.com/online_exhibit.html

a photo essay (warning for those at work this does include tasteful nude photos with breasts visible (horrors))

http://www.smithmag.net/2005/08/16/b...regnant-women/

There are also many porn sites with pregnant women but I'm thinking those probably wouldn't help!
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#5 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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I've been doing photo shoots every four weeks with a good friend who is a photographer. It has done wonders for appreciating how my body is changing. I can see all of these really subtle differences and it's awesome how bringing a new life into the world is leaving its mark on me.

Yes, I'm all nekkid in the pictures. It's fun.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#6 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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I know exactly how she feels. I was 18 when I got pregnant with #1. I was relatively thin and when I started gaining weight, I gained it ALL over. Mostly my butt. I gained 50 pounds in the last couple months and HATED my body. I didn't take any pictures or allow any to be taken. There are pictures from my baby shower at about 7-8 months and one that someone snapped in the kitchen the week before I gave birth and I looked like crap. As much as I was looking forward to having my baby and had a fine pregnancy, I hated how I looked and was so jealous of those who looked definitely pregnant and not just fat.

With #2, I was huge to begin with, so when I gained all in the belly it wasn't as exciting. I still didn't allow any pictures to be taken, and I don't think there is even one of me pregnant with him.

I regret that dearly now. I wish I'd gotten over my sadness and insecurity and just taken the pictures. Even if I never showed them to anyone else, at least I would have them to look back on. This time I'm a bit better about pictures. I've taken a few belly shots. I wouldn't dream of taking any nude ones, but that's my comfort level. I just put on some relatively flattering clothes and snap the pictures.

Tiffany, loving wife to Matt, Mommy to Samantha (10/99), Tevin (8/04), Cadence (6/08) and babymooning with our sweet little Lauren 6/24/10
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#7 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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theshapeofamother.com is a great website with reader submitted photos and stories about body image and so on during pregnancy and afterwards.

Bloomingstar Mommy to DS born 1.16.09 :
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#8 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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Tough issue. It isn't about being pregnant, gaining weight, or anything seemingly apparent like that. In my experience it's deep seeded body issues. It's easy to think you have good self esteme when you are thin or happen to have a shape you deem attractive. But, if you truely have good self image and esteme your attitude toward your body SHOULD NOT change when your body changes. I don't know many people have have that true form of self appreciation and love for their physical self. I certainly don't. I've been given all the advice you could think of, exposed myself to people, books, and information that supports loving your body (pregnant or not) but, I'm still very hard on myself. I am pregant with babe number 2. It is worse this time around. I had gradually gained weight since hs before getting pregnant the first time so my weight gain during pregnancy came on fairly timely therefor I got used to the weight as it came on. However, I still thought of myself as overweight and have almost no pics of myself pregnant or even right after my daughter was born.

I lost a bunch of weight after having my daughter, through very hard work. I got down to a size where I felt comfortable in tight clothing again, didn't feel "overweight" and although I wanted to drop more pounds felt decent in my own skin (but, this took fitting into my fav pair of jeans from 8th grade). The diet backfired, I quit, and about a 1 1/2 years prior to getting pregnant this time around put on almost all of what I had lost. Now that I'm pregnant again I'm back in pants that I was just keeping around to remind myself of how far I've come . I feel horrid about the way I look. I can see fat in my face, arms, legs, sides, everywhere and honestly, NO ONE could convince me that I truely look good. My husband is wonderful and tells me nice things all the time but, then I just think he has the love goggles on. No one says bad things to me, calls me heavy, points out fat, or anything mean... and I still think what I do. I think it's because I'm right but, reguardless if I am or not it's the way I feel.

I don't know what to tell you about your friend. All the books in the world may not help. It's a personal thing. Even with encouragement from others it may not work. I can assure you that there is more to her story and complaints about her body than even she may be aware of. It's a pretty tough thing in our society these days.

Now, I hate to be Negitive Nancy, and I'm sorry if I'm sounding that way. Your friend may truely find the beautiful things about pregnancy and life and they may overshadow her self doubt but, then again, maybe not. It isn't her fault, she shouldn't feel guilty about being sad about that particular part of being prego, she isn't being ungrateful of the gift she has been given. It's rough, I know how it feels. I've been feeling it every day for quite awhile now. I persoanlly have already stopped taking pics of myself and will not look at pics others have taken of me.

I do hope your friend finds some peace with her body image.

~TRACY, wife to loving dh, mommy to dd (10/05), ds(12/08), 3 kitties, & 2 pups.
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#9 of 9 Old 05-20-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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You mentioned that she's athletic/fit. Is she currently involved in any pregnancy-oriented fitness classes? I took prenatal yoga while pg with DS3 and it was wonderful. I felt gorgeous. It was neat to see the many different shapes of the women in my class, and to feel strong.

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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