Now, I’ll apologize ahead of time, but this post is a little angsty. I’m approaching my third trimester, and that just makes me slightly more feisty than usual. Any of you pregnant or formerly pregnant women agree? I’m writing this because I’m fed up with feeling bad about my body because it’s doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing! (Putting on extra padding, growing a human…those things.)
Go ahead and google pregnant woman, I dare you. You will find numerous pictures of a beautiful, glowing woman and her perfect stretch mark free small, toned belly without an ounce of fat anywhere else on her body. Oh, and she’s either gazing whimsically out the window or lounging while reading a book. And, for some reason she likes to wear white. Her makeup is done, her hair is well kempt, and she looks well and nourished.
I basically live in yoga pants (the only pair that fit anymore) and big sweaters. I threw up until 19 weeks. I still get nauseous almost every day. I’m so exhausted some days I can barely keep my eyes open. Anything I eat makes my stomach feel like I just had a Thanksgiving dinner. But, guess what, my baby is growing well, and my toddler is healthy and happy (most of the time). I do really try to find the time and energy to work out, but that usually means a small yoga routine, a long walk, or some mild weights and toning exercises.
It used to be that once postpartum hit the pressure was on to lose the baby weight and look like a model. Like that other google image of the perfect mom with her three well behaved children all smiling happily in their nice clothes. But, not anymore. Apparently that wasn’t enough pressure for a woman who just spent 9 months of her life exhausted, not feeling well, watching her body completely take over with very little control, while she grows another human being whom she will eventually push out of her own body in the most incredible human feat you could ever imagine.
Nope, now the pressure is on the pregnant women. The big secret beforehand was how to lose the baby weight, now it’s how to stay perfectly fit and toned while pregnant.
This isn’t to discount the importance of attempting to maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is no secret that a healthy, well balanced, whole food diet, regular exercise, and reasonable weight gain are extremely important for mom and baby. I am 150% for maintaining a good exercise program during pregnancy, and for those of us who can muster it, a perfectly fit and toned pregnant body.
But, when did it become such a cultural obsession? This obsession over not getting cellulite or any extra thigh fat and having a perfect model type body with just a cute little bump to take pictures of? We are fighting nature, because truly, nature doesn’t care if you look like a google image. Nature only cares that baby is well, and baby is healthy. And, that’s what we should care about. We should be well. We should eat whole foods and exercise as much as our fatigue, sickness, and toddlers will allow us, because a healthy mom is a happy mom.
But rest my friends, rest and allow your body to do what it needs to do, which is to grow your child and nourish them.
I’ll say it again, I am not against a “Fit Pregnancy“. I think it’s amazing to stay moving, stay in shape, and get exercise during a pregnancy especially if that’s what feeds your soul and makes you well! It is good for baby and good for mama. But do it because you love it, because it makes you feel good, because it’s the healthy choice, not because culture says that’s what we have to do.
I reject the cultural pressure to maintain a perfectly toned body while I am pregnant and even afterwards, just because that’s what it takes to be “attractive”.
I reject feeling bad about myself for gaining a little extra fat here and there, because my body is making sure there are extra stores for when baby is born.
I reject feeling like a failure for not being a super fit and toned pregnant lady, although I may never make it onto a Target ad.
Yes culture, do you hear? I reject your obsession with female perfection! I mean pregnant women? C’mon! Not even during this time of life are we allowed to relax a little bit without feeling bad about something image related? That is silly talk to me.
Many days, I am in survival mode, and I think a good portion of you pregnant women can relate. For some of us, it isn’t 14 weeks of bad and then we prance around in our yoga pants doing pregnancy yoga and feeling amazing. For some, it’s keep yourself alive, keep your toddler alive, and make sure everyone is fed. For 9 months. And, that is the reality of many a pregnancy.
So, when you do get out and go for that walk, or take some time for squats, weights, or a good yoga routine, you should be proud. Be proud of each and every step you walk through during pregnancy. And when your butt gets a little bigger than Miss Target Model, say screw you fake image of a pregnant lady that I somehow compare myself to for no good reason. Don’t obsess about your thighs in the mirror, or continuously google whether you can lose the cellulite after the baby is born.
There are so many things more important than that, and it’s time to push back against the culture that obsesses over the perfect female image. Seriously, growing and giving birth to a child is quite possibly one of the most BA feats you could do, and that should be applauded much more than coming out on the other side looking exactly like you did before.
I mean really, Target ad lady, I make humans…what do you do?