How Could Pregnancy and Body Image Have a Positive Connection?
I struggled with body image for my entire life, and no one was more surprised than I when pregnancy finally turned a key for me!
I still remember the day it finally clicked that something had changed. I was seven months pregnant and in the dressing room at Motherhood Maternity. I pulled on a promising-looking blouse and checked out the results in the mirror.
“Well, that’s not cute at all,” I frowned. “Must be something wrong with this shirt.”
Must be something wrong with this shirt.
Words cannot express the stunning significance of this thought. My whole life, if clothing didn’t look good on me, I defaulted to, “Must be something wrong with me.” It was always my body that was the problem.
But now, seven months pregnant and thrilled to be creating life – I knew I was cute. If that shirt didn’t look cute on my cute self, it wasn’t my fault. I loved my body and everything it was doing for me. The bigger my belly, the more excited I got.
If Pregnancy and Body Image is a Challenge For You
If you are pregnant and struggling with all the changes in your body, you are not alone. This society seems to value looks above all else, for women especially. We have been socialized our entire lives to aim for a certain body ideal.
Pregnancy can be the one time we get to break that social contract. Our bodies are doing something amazing, and the physical evidence of that is amazing, too. Lean into it! Choose skin-tight clothing you never would have touched in a million years. Embrace horizontal stripes. When I was pregnant, for the first time in my life, I was looking for clothing to show off my figure instead of hide it.
Of course, your body has always been about more than how it looked, but having a baby puts this lesson in stark relief! When you gaze at your pregnant belly, try to see life, hope, and possibilities.
Try, if you can, to find a little gratitude toward your body, especially if you have been in conflict with it your entire life. Perhaps this is your opportunity for detente.
Maybe your pregnant silhouette isn’t the shape you thought it would be. Maybe you have gained more (or less) than “they” say you should have. Maybe you hoped for a cute little basketball belly only visible from the side, but it feels like your whole body has morphed instead.
That’s okay. Your body is okay. Your body is beautiful.
Images of your body are reflecting a miracle back at you. Try to see that body image.
What if You Know That But You Can’t Feel That?
A surefire way of improving body image is to have professional portraits taken. This is true at any time in life! It’s my favorite thing about boudoir photos, actually. Photographers are trained to find the best angles and the best light, to help you see yourself in the best way. Let us help!
If you are able, try to open up to your photographer about your concerns. In this society, there is a decent chance they have felt some of your same worries.
Pregnancy and body image is always going to be a complex topic, and not fixed in a single day. But even one day of feeling beautiful (and printed art to help you remember that day for the rest of your life) can go a long way toward healing a complicated relationship to your body and your self.
If you’d like to chat about a maternity portrait session, reach out. I would love to help you feel beautiful.