Last night, I read a blog that a friend of mine shared on her Facebook page. The blog, “Babies Ruin Bodies”, was written by a young woman discussing her postpartum body, and it literally had me crying. I’m talking balling my eyes out with tears streaming down my face. This blog truly put my pregnancy and my pregnant body into perspective. It was a reality check and an eye opener.
I think all women tend to compare themselves to other women. At one point or another, we’ve felt jealousy and have wished so desperately that we had what someone has. Smaller hips, more money, a bigger house, a family…the list goes on. It seems ingrained in our female DNA to compare ourselves to every other women out there. But why? Jealousy is an ugly evil. I think it’s ugly to see other people who are jealous and I think it’s ugly to feel jealous. This is something I’ve personally been working on for a long time; not comparing myself to others and just focusing on me.
Since becoming pregnant, I felt like I was slipping back into old bad habits of comparing myself. I’d look at other pregnant women and compare my body shape and size. Some women were much bigger while others were much smaller. Some women looked more toned and fit while others, well…they looked pregnant. Back around Thanksgiving time, my husband and I were out to dinner and I got to chatting with our waitress. Her name was also Sue, she was very friendly and she said she just had her first baby seven months ago. For dinner I ordered a salad, grilled salmon and a baked potato. Even when eating out I try to be as healthy as possible. But after our meals, the super nice waitress convinced us to order the ever so delicious and decadent brownie sundae. We very rarely order dessert when we go out to dinner, but I looked at my husband and said, “Screw it! I’m ordering dessert! I’m pregnant and it sounds delicious!” He looked at me and said, “As you should!” After the two of us completely devoured the sundae our waitress told us she used to eat two or three of these sundaes a day when she was pregnant. No joke, two or three a day! I nearly fell out of the booth. Not only did she look amazing and did not in anyway look like she just had a baby, but she said she only gained 30 pounds her entire pregnancy…eating brownie sundaes everyday and not working out. I immediately felt jealous. What the hell was wrong with me that I had been eating VERY healthy and working out an average of five days a week and had already gained almost what she did during her entire pregnancy at 29 weeks?! I literally spent days feeling guilty over one dessert and jealous that some women can just eat what they want and it not seem to affect their weight or figure. I hated feeling this way…
I felt jealous again while sitting in the waiting room at my next prenatal appointment. A woman walked in who was clearly very pregnant and due any day that was literally all belly. She had the smallest hips and the longest skinniest thighs I’ve ever seen on a pregnant woman. I actually told her I was jealous of her skinny thighs and she laughed; oddly enough, her name was Sue too. I saw her again at my next appointment and another woman in the waiting room shook her head when Sue got called into her appointment, looked at me and said, “I do not know how she is all belly, but I told my husband that will not be me.” So there I was, feeling jealous and in “good” company with another fellow jealous pregnant woman.
I have spent more time in my pregnancy stressing, worrying and feeling sorry for myself at how my body has changed and how much weight I’ve gained. Some women have told me I’m all belly and I will write here what I tell them. My once 34-35 inch hips are MUCH wider. The thighs I used to have before making this baby that I thought were huge then, have increased by three inches…each! Yes, I actually measured them. I’m honestly tired of feeling ashamed for what my body looks like pregnant and what it needs to do to grow this baby. I’m tired of bugging my husband every week asking if he thinks I’ll get my “old body back.” And I’m especially tired of not taking the time I should be to appreciate what I am actually doing right now, making a baby! After reading the blog last night I started asking myself a string of questions, “WHY are you wasting time comparing yourself to everyone else??…WHY are you wasting time worrying about how you look in the mirror?…WHY are you wasting time stressing over how quickly you will lose your baby weight once your daughter is born?…WHY are you wasting time wondering if that thinner pregnant woman thinks you look like a fat ass?” The bigger question is, “WHY am I not waking up EVERY morning, thanking God for this blessing and appreciating the fact that I have a body that is allowing me to create the miracle of life?! I’m growing fingers and toes and eyes and ears. I’m growing a heart and lungs and a brain. I’m growing a little human being; a piece of me and my husband. So who the hell cares what my body looks like during or after? All that really matters is this little girl, and that I’m actually strong enough and capable of creating life.
Reading this blog really made me realize a few things…
1. Pregnant or not, I’m far from alone in this vicious cycle of worrying about my body and physical appearance.
2. I’m challenging myself to not compare my body or my lifestyle to other women, pregnancy and postartum. Because I don’t care if someone else weighs 5 lbs less or more, I don’t care if someone else has smaller thighs or toner arms, I don’t care if someone else agrees or disagrees with how I raise my child… What I care about is my child being healthy and focusing on my growing family. To compare ourselves only creates jealousy, and I am definitely not that person. So here’s to getting back on the right track.
3. And most importantly, I really need to cherish these last few weeks of pregnancy and enjoy every hiccup, kick and move that I feel knowing that each and every day I am growing a baby. This woman wrote in her blog that not everyone has the privilege of being pregnant, and she is right. No matter how big or small, it is a privilege and a blessing and I refuse to waste another minute not enjoying my pregnancy thinking that pregnancy “ruined my body.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or not, I think we ALL need to be less judgmental of ourselves and of others. Us women need to stick together and become more open to the different diversity and colors we all bring into this world. If we were all the same, the world would get boring fast. I challenge all my blog lovahs, dare not to compare yourselves. We’d all be happier with healthier minds if we just loved ourselves inside and out instead of comparing, judging and wasting time being jealous. Going forward, I will work on not allowing myself to blame my innocent baby girl for “ruining my body.” She has done quite the opposite, and she has given me new meaning and purpose in this life.