Pregnancy is HARD. The physical changes that your body goes through is not easy. Keep reading below to learn how to cope with body dysmorphia during pregnancy and to read Renée’s story on how she struggles with her body changing during pregnancy.
What is body dysmorphia?
Body dysmorphia is when you experience a distorted image of yourself. Typically, the way that you see yourself is not an accurate depiction of the way that you look to others. Those who have a history of disordered eating are at greater risk for developing body dysmorphia during pregnancy.
What can help?
1. Accept that changes will happen to your body
You will likely experience weight gain, stretch marks, changes to your breast size and even your feet size! Acknowledge that these are signs of a healthy pregnancy. Work on reframing your thoughts to accept and honor your body.
2. It’s ok to be uncomfortable with these physical changes
You can dislike the changes that occur to your physical appearance during pregnancy and still have love for the life that you are growing. Focus on mantras that highlight that you are healthy and beautiful. Remember that your self-worth is not measured by the number on the scale. You are not defined by your stretch marks.
3. Treat yourself as you would treat your friend
Think about what you would say to a friend who is struggling with body image and practice saying kind things to yourself in the mirror. In fact, write these down and stick them on post it notes on your mirror! Working with a therapist throughout your pregnancy to process the feelings that you have surrounding self-image can be transformative. Psychology Today is a great resource for finding a therapist who specializes in YOUR area of need. You are worthy of help!
Pregnancy is not easy for me. I enjoy taking care of my body by exercising and eating healthy. I have never owned a scale and feel fortunate that I have never struggled with an eating disorder. However, during pregnancy, the changes that my body makes to prepare for a baby makes me feel out of control.
Why are my boobs so large, why do I have stretch marks on my breasts from my last pregnancy, why is my back expanding so much, why do my shoulders get so broad, why do other women’s bodies hardly change at all during pregnancy?
Most of these changes are genetic for me – my mom and sister carried the same way during their pregnancies. It’s still hard to watch my body drastically change when I try to eat healthy and stay active during pregnancy. It also doesn’t help to be weighed every time you go to an appointment (a friend of mine told me to not look at this number the next time I go, which I am going to try!)
However, the stretch marks on my breasts and the way that my back expands during pregnancy is not a reflection of the love that I have for my baby.I know a lot of people struggle with the changes that pregnancy has on their bodies and if you’re able to relate to my story at all, you are not alone.
I really struggled with this during my first pregnancy with my daughter. I’m writing this as I’m 31 weeks pregnant with my second baby, and this time around has been slightly easier as I am trying to be patient with myself. I am working to accept that these changes are natural and necessary to grow a healthy baby. I had a miscarriage last fall (read my post about it here), so I know that becoming pregnant is not easy for everyone .
This perspective has helped put these feelings about my changing body into prospective. I have started to see a therapist to help me with my postpartum and perinatal anxiety and it’s helpful to talk to her about my body changing, too. My best piece of advice is to be kind to yourself and know that it’s all temporary.
The way I feel is that it’s ok to feel these feelings, as long as you still love the life growing inside of you! It’s helpful to try to remember to talk to yourself the same way that you would talk to your best friend. I recommend saying at least one nice thing to yourself about the way you look when you’re pregnant every day!
**For more information on body dysmorphia, click here.
Other helpful blog posts:
- Kate’s perinatal depression story
- Kate’s Zulresso experience
- Renee’s postpartum anxiety story
- Kate’s postpartum depression story
- How to get through the second trimester of pregnancy
- How to get through the third trimester of pregnancy
- Kate’s favorite trying to conceive, pregnancy and breastfeeding safe products
**This is not meant to take the place of your provider. This is my personal experience. If you have questions, please contact your provider.