I Hate my Body Today
In the case you may not have heard the big news, my husband and I are expecting our first child (a baby boy!) in mid-March. We’re beyond excited, a little anxious, nervous, and at times very overwhelmed…I know many of you can relate!
I haven’t shared much of my journey being pregnant with many people other than answering the standard questions of “how are you feeling?” “did you get morning sickness?” “are you having any crazy cravings?” etc.
This has been a very special and personal journey for me and my husband and as I come into the last two month-stretch, I am compelled to share some of my journey with you. Some of my thoughts may be a bit raw, but they are honest. My hope is that by sharing my journey thus far, it may offer some perspective regardless of where you are in the circle of life, whether you’re pregnant, pre-menopausal or right smack in the middle of it, turning 30 or 40 or 75, or going through puberty. I’ve realized that these are all uncomfortable and not always the most cherished times in our life, especially when it comes to how we feel about our bodies.
I think many people presume that because I am a “fitness professional” that I must be completely happy and confident with my body (pregnant or not); they think that I never have any issues with buying clothes that fit, that I never struggle with negative thoughts when I look at myself in the mirror, or that I never compare my body with another woman…quite the contrary. Ask any fitness professional, and I’m sure many would feel the same way.
Pregnancy has taught me a lot about myself; it has challenged my mindset and has brought up feelings and reactions that I never imagined I would feel during what is supposed to be such a special and sacred time.
It all started with the very common social interactions and encounters when people find out you’re expecting that bothered me more than I thought they would…
Since when is it OK to rub my stomach without permission and then ask me how much weight I’ve gained? (WHAT??!!)
No one seems to talk to my face anymore, eyes seem to gravitate right to my midsection (I think I’ll take people staring at my chest over staring at my waistline), followed by some comment that is supposed to make me feel good about myself (then my body becomes the topic of conversation for the next 10 minutes). Not comfortable at all.
“Lindsay! Let me see your bump!” (OK, so let me just unbutton my jacket for you like I’m on stage and expose myself to you).
Despite what many women told me, maternity shopping was no thrill for me…I put it off for as long as I could (though the pull-up jeans are pretty awesome). Shopping for my first training bra was probably more fun but if I remember, it just as uncomfortable…talk about not knowing your new body!
About 3 or 4 months into my pregnancy I remember looking at my body in the mirror one day and really starting to notice changes happening. I had this involuntary reaction of confusion, frustration, and even anger. I really didn’t know how I felt about how my body was changing.
I know everyone means well, truly I do…but at first I thought people were insensitive and invasive, suddenly I
felt as though my body wasn’t mine anymore and there was an all-access pass. I did know deep-down that all they want to do is celebrate with me.
I realized that what I was really upset with was the way I was responding to these new situations; it was like “Alter-ego Lindsay” came out of nowhere…I felt like I didn’t know myself because many of these thoughts and reactions were foreign to me.
Then it hit me, just like any other encounter in life, I can’t control what people say to me or their actions, but I can control how I let their comments affect me.
I can’t control what Mother Nature is doing to my body during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, but I can control how I prepare my mind and body to respond to it and embrace it.
I knew I had to take my own advice and live by my own mantra to JUST OWN IT. I accept that some things may offend, upset or hurt me, that’s being human…but I OWN my thoughts and I OWN my mindset, no one else.
One of my mentors once told me that we need to train our brain to allow negative thoughts to come in and out as if they are on a turnstile. Negative thoughts will always exist in our mind. This is the human condition; even the most positive people have negative thoughts. But what makes them positive people is how long they let those negative thoughts sit on the turnstile inside of their head. Let the negative thoughts sit there a while and it becomes toxic…or let the thought enter, acknowledge it, replace it with a positive thought and let that negative thought go right off the turnstile.
Getting on the scale at the doctor’s office and watching that number creep up took more mental energy for me to recognize the negative self-talk and then remind myself that this is what is supposed to happen, and my body is pretty damn amazing to be able to create, house, and nurture this little creature inside of me.
What I’ve learned though this journey (and I know that this journey is far from over) whether it’s pregnancy, puberty, menopause or just one of those “I hate my body” days…I know that I am entitled to be frustrated and confused and even angry about how I look or how I feel. But it is MY choice how I let it play into my life.
Our bodies are AMAZING. Our minds are even more INCREDIBLE. The power that exists in between our ears is far greater than we often give it credit.
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you and I hope even in some small way, you can apply my “JUST OWN IT” mantra in your own life to ultimately strive to become the best version of you.
Just Owning It,