Being Ashamed Of Your Body When You’re Pregnant – It Happens.
I thought this was worth saying, especially since it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) week.
Pregnancy is a very personal experience. Not everybody has the viral announcement video, or the “gender reveal” party, or the maternity photo shoot in the woods with a flowing white dress and an exposed belly.
Some women don’t want those things, and instead of shaming them, we should support them.
This is one of the only photos I have of myself, pregnant, at our baby shower. As you can see, I was trying not to put it on display.
I wasn’t ashamed of my baby, I was ashamed of my body. Our personal situation was less-than-ideal, so we weren’t shouting from the rooftops that I was expecting. As many pregnancies are, it was unplanned.
I was 24, and still in the throws of bulimia. I was good to my body while I was pregnant, but it was hard. I was in no place, mentally, to watch my body change and expand, and I was trying to hide it as much as possible.
Full disclosure: Pat still chides me, once in while, for not allowing myself to be photographed when I was pregnant. And it hurts. I’ve told him that; he knows. What’s even worse is that now, our 10-year-old son wants to see photos of “mom with me in her belly.”
And I have to tell him that there aren’t many. He probably thinks he’s adopted at this point. Poor kid.
Now, in hindsight, I wish there were more pictures. Not saying that I would’ve gone and done an expensive, artsy photo shoot, but even a few more candid photos would be nice.
Pregnancy IS beautiful, but not every woman is comfortable with her body when she’s pregnant. We face an ungodly amount of scrutiny about our bodies in the media on a daily basis. If somebody would’ve told me when I was a teenager that being a size 12 is nothing to be ashamed of, I probably wouldn’t have starting throwing up my food.
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How a woman chooses to approach the time that she’s pregnant is HER choice, and shouldn’t be up for debate or criticism. Even if you have the “perfect” life situation – marriage, home, financial stability, supportive family and friends – pregnancy itself is a totally unique experience.
Support your female friends and family during their pregnancies, no matter how they decide to approach it. It’s not a glorious, social-media worthy experience for everyone.
Finally, I have to say THANK YOU to all the women who shared their stories with me this week. The more we share, the less alone we all feel. It’s important.