Pregnancy can be really difficult on you in more than just physical ways. It can be emotionally taxing as you process through the weight of becoming a parent and it can also be an enormous weight on your mental state as you navigate the process.
Earlier on in my pregnancy, I shared a post about pregnancy topics that resonate with most moms but are more challenging to say outloud. In it, I touched a little bit on how difficult it can be to watch your identity fade away as your baby grows inside of you. It’s an easy thing to happen. Your world is suddenly absorbed in growing this new life. It’s all you think about and it’s quickly all that the people around you can think about too. Which makes it really easy to forget about who you are. Amidst lists of pros and cons for strollers and cribs and piles of gifts and crumpled wrapping paper, your identity that you’ve carefully crafted through high school, college and early adult years is suddenly drowning- fighting to be seen and heard amongst the chaos of baby. Some days you can feel the pressure of the water on your own lungs and you’re not sure how to get back to the surface.
But here’s the truth: You’re still you in those crazy waters. All the wind and waves can’t take that away from you as long as you take the time to remind yourself of who you are and the importance of sharing that with the world. This is something I worked really hard to do all throughout my pregnancy. It takes only minutes a day to do it, but it takes a little more time to reinforce it. And it takes actual initiative on your part. Which I know can be hard to muster when you’re already tired, not sure what you can eat that won’t make you sick and when you’re trying to make your way through all those to do lists and gift piles. But I promise you it’s worth it. Because in the midst of everything, the person who may need to be reminded the most of who you are is yourself.
Small things you can do to remind yourself of who you are.
- Rewarding yourself with food can be dangerous as your body is packing on extra weight so think outside the box. A good book or magazine can be something a little special that doesn’t break the bank but still treats you for the challenges you’ve been going through recently.
- Don’t stop saying yes to things you love to do. If you enjoyed going out before but can’t quite find the energy to be at a bar past 9pm, adjust your plans. Go out for a happy hour with your husband or girlfriends and request a mocktail. Most bartenders have a few in their arsenal that aren’t listed on the menu and they’ll be happy to send one out to you.
- Take care of your body. Even though things are growing, that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. If you had rituals before getting pregnant, keep them up! If it’s a high intensity workout, find a way to tone it down to keep things safe. If it’s dieting, keep that up too! Finding new, healthy recipes can be a good outlet and you never know, you might find your new favorite meal in the process. Just make sure you’re eating a well balanced diet and checking in with your doctor to see if your workouts and meal plans work well with pregnancy.
- Take time for yourself. Go for a walk, sit by a lake, take yourself on a picnic. Do something a little out of the ordinary that requires quiet time with yourself. Give yourself permission for self reflection. Take just an hour to think about the things that fill your heart and soul with joy. Remind yourself of those things. Write them down if you need to and look at them on days when all you have are conversations about baby.
- Take a bath. This is possibly my favorite on the list. Not only can you take time to yourself to listen to music, watch Netflix or read a good book, the water is also miraculous on your pregnant body. Bath salts and oils can ease aching muscles and soothe dry skin, and the warm water can bring weightless buoyancy to your joints that have been carrying around extra weight.
- Keep up with your beauty routine. Don’t forget to do your hair and makeup in the morning. Just because you’re stomach isn’t flat anymore doesn’t mean you have to give up. Spend just a few minutes putting on some blush and mascara and braiding your hair. It can give you a touch more confidence as you parade that pregnant belly around.
- Spend time putting together outfits that are flattering to your changing body. Once I started to show, I went through my closet and pulled together all the clothes that still fit and that I thought would continue to work throughout pregnancy. I put them all on hangers and hung them up at the front of my closet. That way getting ready was still enjoyable and not depressing as you go through item after item that no longer fits. If you need to add a few new pieces, make it a special day. Go shopping early on a weekday day with a good girlfriend when malls are empty and you have a little extra support. Grab a Chai on your way and be gracious on yourself as you try on clothes. Don’t rush and enjoy yourself!
- Learn how to steer conversation away from baby talk. Of course, give people updates. They are excited and just want to know what’s going on, but feel free to find a way to change the subject to topics that you enjoy. This can be challenging sometimes with persistent baby lovers, but try and figure out a way to answer questions and then change the subject to something you’ve recently read, watched or done. You’ll probably have some people who can’t help but talk about anything other than baby and that’s fine! But be gracious on yourself and give yourself permission to spend a bit less time around them.
- Go get your hair done. It might not be the time to try something completely new and radical, but book an appointment for a trim and some color. Especially if you plan to have maternity photos done. Take the afternoon off and treat yourself to a coffee on the way. Bring a good book to read in the chair and just take some time to relax and refresh.
- Don’t forget that you’re still young and beautiful. I think as your body starts to fill out, it’s really easy to forget that you’re still a young, attractive lady who deserves pretty little things to remind you of it. So if that means getting a frilly bra to accommodate your growing chest, then go for it. Or if that means remembering when you’re getting dressed that your body is still beautiful and doesn’t deserve to be covered with potato sacks, get yourself a tighter bodycon dress you can pair with jackets and sweaters. Just don’t forget how desirable and attractive you still are, bump and all!
Until next time!
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