Perhaps it comes with the territory of being a female, or perhaps the issue is exacerbated with the increased hormones, but I can't ignore the body issues that come with pregnancy.
And the body issues that come before pregnancy.
And the body issues that come after pregnancy.
I'd be lying if I said that body image isn't something I've struggled with, specifically in my adult life. If I'm being honest, at the time of my 30th birthday, I was battling some sort of eating disorder. At 92 pounds, I was the thinnest I had ever been in my entire life. I was also the unhappiest I had ever been. My anxiety and OCD had taken over my mind and my body and was manifesting itself in the form of an eating disorder. This, of course, is only apparent now through hindsight. I was in a dark place, and it was obvious to everyone but me.
But I was so thin, and doesn't being thin equal being happy? I can honestly tell you, it doesn't.
So why now, with that knowledge and experience in the back of my mind, as I make my way through the second trimester of being pregnant, am I having such an issue with the changes my body is going through? I've done this before. This isn't my first pregnancy, but for some reason, this one is hitting me hard.
It's widely discussed that you start to "show" sooner in your second pregnancy than with your first, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. However, that doesn't seem to be any consolation as I stand in front of my closet each and every day frustrated that none of my regular clothes fit, and yet still not comfortable with the way maternity clothes make me look (gasp) pregnant. In my twisted mind, it must mean that this is just weight gain, and not a growing bump. Day in and day out, I wear the same handful of flowy shirts and rotate between the two pairs of shorts that still fit around my expanding waistband. I could easily suck it up, put on the maternity clothes, and let the world know what most already know -- that I currently have a tiny human growing inside of me.
It seems so easy and so obvious. However, when I look in the mirror, I still cringe knowing that I'm only fifteen weeks along and my belly is already showing. Sometimes, (okay, all the time) I have to remind myself that I am within normal ranges of weight gain, in fact, I'm below average. It's just the way that my body is shifting and stretching so early on that, for whatever reason, isn't sitting well with me.
So here is my plea.
No wait; here is my promise to myself.
I will embrace the changes my body is going through. I will recognize the life that my body is sustaining inside, and stop worrying about what it looks like on the outside. As long as I am healthy, I will not get caught up on appearances.
After all, being thin does not mean you're happy. But being pregnant? Being pregnant means all the happiness in the world.