Before I was pregnant I will admit, I was one of those girls who compared her body to people I saw on Instagram or Facebook. I think most women have compared themselves to someone else at some point in their lives. Especially in our society it seems like we’re taught we’re supposed to look a certain way so finding yourself in the comparison trap is super easy. Magazines, TV and the internet show a certain “figure” that is unattainable…even for those portraying it…photoshop had done damage to our brains!
But moving on!
What I wasn’t prepared for was the comparison game that was ahead of me in pregnancy. I swear that it’s worse than the non pregnancy comparison…at least for me and I know if I’m feeling it, that there are other women out there wearing the same feelings.
The more my body changed, the more I found myself comparing. Here are some of the things that I’ve found myself saying or floating through my brain…
“Should I look like this at 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 21 weeks?, Am I getting too big too fast? OMG she doesn’t have cellulite on her butt and legs and she’s farther along than me! What’s wrong with me!? Crap, I hope I don’t get stretch marks like so and so’s picture I saw on IG! Where’s the belly butter? How does she still look that HOT at 28 weeks pregnant? HOLY HELL she’s still so small?? Wait, she still has muscle definition like that…what’s wrong with me that I lost almost all of mine? UGH. Good grief look how cute she is pregnant in her adorable maternity clothes and I can’t find one thing to fit me that doesn’t make me look like a giant COW! She said she only gained 20lbs her whole pregnancy, great! I’m doomed then sitting pretty at 25lbs in 25 weeks! How is she so happy being pregnant…I’m over here still puking at 25 weeks and she makes this whole experience look glamorous. OMG she just had a baby FIVE WEEKS AGO?!? How does she have a flat stomach with abs already? Ok, I’m just done…”
I found myself spiraling down this dark hole of social media pregnancy posts AKA the highlight reel where NO ONE shares the crap of life. Well I’m sharing the crap because I believe in keeping it as real as possible. I’ll tell you, it got dark in that hole. The comparison game is the quickest way to unhappiness, to depression, to anger, to frustration and it’s just not a good place to go. I realized pretty quickly that I needed to change somethings starting with these:
1)UNFOLLOWING PEOPLE AND ACCOUNTS THAT MADE ME FEEL SUBPAR
Instead, I choose to follow people and accounts that had encouraging, real, uplifting messages and didn’t just only share the highlight reel of life. This way my feed was full of things that helped me, not hurt me. I encourage you to do the same thing.
2) SPENDING LESS TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This was a hard one for me! For a few years this is how I have built my business BUT when social media becomes unhealthy or an addictive behavior (anyone else roll over and scroll first thing after the alarm goes off? Yeah me too) it’s time to change that behavior. I started setting times of day I was allowed on social. Less social = less stress. It also meant that I was paying more attention to MY life, MY family and MY world. I was getting more in touch with my feelings and processing them. It meant I was spending more time getting ready for the big life change that’s coming in December.
3) RECOGNIZING THAT EVERYONE’S EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT
With pregnancy as much as we and the doctor’s want there to be a one size fits all approach with everything from weight gained in pregnancy, to how to deliver babies, pregnancy is NOT one size fits all.
I was super healthy coming into pregnancy, very active, great nutrition habits and I still have had a crappy experience despite my best efforts. I always assumed I’d stay almost as active throughout pregnancy and that was nearly impossible and you’ll see why in a second. I always assumed I’d only gain 25lbs because of my nutrition and exercise and you’ll see why in a second that isn’t the case. I always assumed I’d be glowing with only a few days of looking terrible and feeling bad. Yeah…not my experience at all.
Morning sickness (who are we kidding it’s all day) that I’m still having at week 25, weight gain even though I’m eating less thanks to throwing up, insomnia (hello baggy eyes and goodbye glow), low BP issues and headaches that last for 24 hours which mean my workouts have been limited, blood sugar irregularities with my type 1 that are driving me insane, not feeling like myself at all (can someone please send Dorothy back? I miss her!) and a SUPER low baby causing back pain are just a few of the things that have plagued me.
Not to scare those of you that haven’t ever been pregnant, but again, I’m coming at you with my experience and keeping it real. You could be glowing, super active and breeze through this thing…or maybe not. Just be prepared for all outcomes. And now many of you will know why I say “NEVER AGAIN!”
This is still something I’m working on and I have a feeling I will continue to work on it until the day I have baby B. Trying to be ok with the fact that what I’m going through is nothing like what I envisioned for myself. Realizing that this journey is as much for me to learn from, as it is for someone else reading, this who might be feeling the same way, and me sharing means they don’t feel alone with their feelings. Because at this point if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I believe that nothing happens to us, but for us and to share it to help others.
I’m also trying to remember daily that even through all off the hard stuff that I can still find things to be joyful for. Here’s a glimpse into how I’m keeping this real…this morning I jumped up mid bible study and ran to the bathroom to puke saying “you can make it, you can make it…” with the dog sprinting after me (you’re welcome now that you have that visual), hunched over the toilet bowl (we’ve become good friends) wiping puke off of it I thought, “OK, yeah this sucks…alot, but what are three things I can actually appreciate today because I can’t stay in the space of feeling sorry for myself?!” I know it sounds corny but I actually did this to switch my mind from the suckfest that just happened to what I could be joyful for. My three were:
1) that baby boy is healthy
2) that I feel God speaking to me through my bible study
3) that I was up early this morning to enjoy my favorite time of day
So if you’re finding yourself in a suckfest, instead of continuing into that downward spiral, find something you can celebrate right then. It doesn’t matter how big or how small! There is always something you can show gratitude for!
5) LOVE & GRACE
Closing this thing out, what I’ve really found is a need for love. This is the HARDEST thing most of us women will ever do. And through all the changes, the hormones and the craziness, we really need to work on love and giving ourselves some grace. Let’s cut ourselves some slack! We’re doing the best that we can do and that’s all that matters. It’s YOUR very unique and individual journey, no one elses! The body is doing an amazing thing. Who cares if it doesn’t look like our best friends when she was pregnant, or that model on “fit pregnancy” magazine. It’s uniquely ours and it’s creating a miracle. Love it for that, love it through that and it will love you back.
So here’s to you mama, reading this blog! You are strong, awesome and amazing. I hope you’ll take some tips away from this and I’d love to hear your feedback!