Have you seen People magazine lately? Do they always have so many photos of pregnant celebrities or stars with their brand new babies? We know the babies are cute, but the celebrities themselves can often make us feel, well, ordinary.
This is because they have personal trainers, nannies, nutrition professionals, tailors, and other artists whose job is to make them look this way. I promise you, if you had personally custom-tailored maternity clothing, you'd look like that too. Have you ever seen what a celeb looks like first thing in the morning? Take a look in the mirror, love, because that's what they see, too.
In the 1950's doctors recommended that pregnant women gain 15-20 pounds during pregnancy. Many of our mothers and grandmothers (who lived through this era) hold that mentality as their fundamental belief and might not support the healthy changes that your body is making. Tell them that they are not helpful, and then tell them (lovingly) to go sit on a tack.
Want to know the current recommendations? They build upon your pre-pregnancy body and depend on how many buns are in the oven.
Body image is no small matter these days, and if you've always been fit it can be particularly disconcerting to watch your body grow in new and profound ways.
Find role models: there are some women who love their bellies and feel more feminine than they have ever felt. Observe their grace and try on what they are doing. If it doesn't work for you, try complimenting them and letting them know how much you appreciate their comfort with their bodies. If you can't identify any, find a picture of a happy pregnant woman who seems comfortable in her body (not a skinny pregnant woman or a supermodel). Find one that seems maternal, cozy, warm, exhuberant and joyful (they do exist).
Wear clothes that fit: Nothing makes you feel worse about how you look than ill-fitting clothes. This is true whether or not you are pregnant, but it is much more noticeable when nothing in your closet fits. Unless you are a seamstress, it doesn't make sense to alter your clothing, but it does make sense to find clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe that is a scarf or sweater, or some lovely jewelry that will fit no matter what. You might consider renting something for a special day, or even for a period of time if it will help you feel more comfortable and confident.
Focus on nutrition: This is no time to restrict calories or adopt a limited diet, so focus on eating according to the recommendations of your provider. They are most likely to suggest lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and water because these are the most nutritious foods. Try cooking new recipes that focus on nutrition and consider what you are really hungry for. If you are eating to cope with stress, try something else to remove the stress because baby is feeling it too.
A few of my favorite recipes?
Aloo, Gobi and Chard
Hurry, Curry (lentil dip)
Believe in miracles: Because you are one. No, I'm not being a silly yoga instructor here, you are literally creating another person out of the food that you eat and the thoughts that you think. What impression do you want to give to your child? That they wrecked your body, or that they were your first experience of a true miracle?
I'm one of those people who loves making your life easier (and I believe in you). I am an experienced registered prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation educator.
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