Being pregnant is one of the most transformational experiences women will ever encounter. Whether it comes as a surprise at 16 or is planned at 29, it’s a time filled with excitement, nervousness, fear, anxiety, and impatience to get the baby out. Yet in a society where keeping your body right and tight plays a integral role in most aspects of life, it’s no surprise (but a damn shame) that superficial ideals rear their ugly head to pressure us to stay thin while pregnant. Thankfully (or not, depending on whom you ask) you have nine long months to process these impending changes – so try to relax and enjoy the process. Just breathe girl!
Let’s talk about the obvious changes. Pregnancy changes your body. It has to. There is absolutely no way you can grow a mini-me inside your womb and have your body not be affected. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but you have to let nature run its course. The first obvious marker of this is weight gain. Don’t dread it! Gaining weight is natural and 30-35 lbs. is completely within normal guidelines. Your feet will swell, your breasts will swell, and you’ll likely spend half your pregnancy in the bathroom. Some may also bear the skin markers of womanhood – think that dark vertical line that runs down your belly or maybe its stretch marks. I’m not even going to push you to embrace these pregnancy stripes but do yourself a favor and don’t hate ‘em. There are however many aspects you can embrace that will make maternity and motherhood go smoother.
Luxuriate in your maternity. You’ve been given the honor to bring life into this world. Not every woman is blessed with this opportunity. You have a higher calling to protect, nurture, and love your growing mini-me. Relish in this unique experience. Soak up this amazing feeling of being a woman. And love every moment of it.
Grow your body AND your mind. Your pregnancy means thangs just got serious – possibly even super stressful. Make it easier on yourself by ensuring you don’t lose sight of you. Yes, you’re going to be a mother. But you’re also a woman. The transition from womanhood to motherhood will never be complete, but rather a fine balance of the two. Grow your mind with books about what to expect during the transition. Relax your mind with exercise. Soothe your mind (and hopefully decrease your stress of the unknown) by being at peace that you’re not failing to neglect YOU. Happy woman = happy mommy = happy baby.
Get mini-me’s thangs in order. Do yourself a favor and prepare for your child before they arrive. While you may be personally moving into uncharted territory, there are plenty of resources to help. Figure out what your upcoming expenses will be. Have the basic necessities on deck. Research daycare arrangements. Seek knowledge from mothers you admire, read books, and subscribe to pregnancy channels on YouTube. You’ll stress less and better appreciate your pregnancy and motherhood if you take control. You got this boo!
Focus on your health – NOT your body size. Being pregnant is stressful enough with the BIG hurdles that come with it, so do yourself a favor and remove weight gain from the list. Trust girl – it’s such a minor issue in the long run. Now that’s not to say you should become a human garbage disposal and inhale everything edible in the name of pregnancy, but rather use your pregnancy and your growing mini-me to push you to get healthier. Eat cleaner. Consult a physician and design a safe workout plan. Walk – more than from your car to the office. You now have the greatest reason you’ll ever have to focus on your health, which will ensure that you not only look good during and after pregnancy, but more importantly, that you feel good. Beauty starts on the inside remember? Gotta practice what you’re going to preach!
DON’T look back. Let’s talk about getting your pre-pregnancy body back. Think hard. Are you sure you want it? Your pre-pregnancy body was untested and naïve to the true blessings and sacrifices of motherhood. It didn’t yet have the privilege of growing a baby inside your womb. You’ve earned your stripes having just completed 9 months of the hardest boot camp. You have been transformed. Be proud of that. Be proud to wear your stripes & show your badges. They are markers of motherhood that set you apart from others. Don’t go backwards. I hate to break it to you, but you can’t even if you wanted to. Oh, you can work out and get strong and lean again. Just don’t call it going back. Instead, move forward with the newfound strength that you’re a healthy Bauce woman and mom. Boom-pow!