I’m officially 38.5 weeks pregnant, as I’m writing to you, and I’m a feeling it.
I also can’t remember the last time I washed my hair (so that’s likely a sign to wash it – HA! – you think?!)… And I just had this “growth” frozen off my face the other day that’s now starting to blister.
SO… Let’s just say I’m not feeling so hot and am officially ready (as ready as I’ll ever be that is) for baby M to come out, and every Mom out there, I friggin’ salute you. I know I’ll be saluting you even more once she’s born too.
What I also know is that if someone was telling me to just “love my body” right now, you’d likely find me raising an eyebrow.
Because – let’s be real – it’s hard to “love” your body when you’re uncomfortable in your body.
This discomfort could stem from…
- Being pregnant and finding it difficult to breathe, sit straight up, or sleep,
- A body (or food) comment from a family member or friend,
- Trying on a piece of clothing that no longer fits,
- Eating way past fullness in reaction to a difficult emotion that came up, or
- Looking in the mirror and not seeing what it is you want to see (or think you “should” see).
There are gazillions of reasons why you – we – can feel discomfort in our bodies.
And when you’re in this uncomfortable place, the idea of loving your body can feel so far off it’s daunting. It can even stop you from wanting to heal because it feels so impossible.
The rising messages of body love (even though super well-intentioned) can put us in a black-and-white kind of diet mentality – where we think we have to always love our bodies and if we can’t or don’t in the moment, there’s something wrong with us. There’s NOT something wrong with you…
The truth is you’re going to have challenging body image days or moments. You’re going to feel better in your body some days more so than other days. And you’re going to have new body challenges come up as you go through different ages, stages and transitions in life (from puberty to menopause to pregnancy to depression to life challenges). This is normal.
But, one thing we can always do – even though this will look different from day to day – is aim to respect our bodies and care for ourselves.
Some days this may look like wearing something that’s comfortable for your here-and-now body. Some days this may look like nourishing your body with yummy food, hitting a yoga or spin class or going for a walk, and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Some days this may look like eating a salad for lunch. Some days this may look like eating a sandwich for lunch. And some days, this will look like not beating yourself up after an overeating/binge episode and instead, allowing yourself to pull meaning from it.
Respecting and caring for your body (and yourself) will look different day to day because you are different day to day.
Right now, for me, I can tell you in my soon-to-give-birth body it looks like eating Nutella almost every morning because it sounds satisfying and yummy, taking a nap, and moving my body in ways that feel good… And taking lots of baths. I’m in a mode of listening, respecting, and caring for my body. And you know what? This listening, respecting, caring thing for my body will change and look different after baby M is born too, as it should.
So please just know you don’t have to love your body. There’s lots of other things you can have:
- Body respect,
- Body like,
- Body acceptance,
- Body neutrality,
- Body care…
- AND, the most important part of this? Knowing that this too can shift with time.
So give yourself a break. Remind yourself you’re doing the best you can. And instead of beating yourself up, experiment. Try on the mindset of respecting and caring for your body and see how things shift for you, even if just for a day.
By the way, there’s a new episode of HeartSpace Podcast out on Body Love, Body Image & Hard Emotions with the amazing Jessi Kneeland. It is SO good.
Inside the episode, we dig deep and talk about unpacking body image, how to move through toxic shame, why healing your body image is hard, why saying “just love your body” can be shaming, what it really means to love your body, and so much more.
If you struggle with body image issues, this is an episode you don’t want to miss. Tune-in on iTunes here or Listen on my website (& other Podcast Places) here.