There’s this weird stage in pregnancy that no one ever talks about, where your body has changed enough to be noticeable, but not quite enough for it to be obvious that you’re carrying a child. It was in this ambiguous state that I went for a beach vacation to Mexico last week… in a bikini, no less.
I’m not going to lie and say that I love everything about my changing and expanding body, or that I’m thrilled that my boobs have gone from a reasonable B-cup, to an insane and pornographic DD. Obviously, I am in awe of the fact that there is a baby growing inside me, but connecting to my sense of body love has come with it’s challenges when I look in the mirror and see an unfamiliar form.
I see this with my clients all the time — they gain some weight, feel out of control, or have a bloat-inducing weekend of indulgence and suddenly they’re overcome with body hatred. Their bodies become the enemy. The irony is that body hatred is not a place from which to healthfully and successfully make any kind of changes. Body hatred leads to crash dieting, deprivation, hours on the treadmill. None of these tactics lead to any kind of lasting change, and they certainly don’t feel very good while you’re at it.
The fact is, our bodies are not static. They change, they swell and shrink, expand and contract. Some days we look and feel light and lithe and slim, other days we’re carrying a little something extra as our bodies voice their displeasure with how we treated them the night before. Some days we are flexible and energized, other days we feel heavier, slower, and sluggish. This is a natural ebb and flow. It might last a night, a week, or even a whole season. The key is not to jump to the response of body criticism.
When you approach your body with love, understanding, and compassion, you are able to actually recognize the pattens and behaviors that are causing the shift, and do something productive to restore balance. Here’s how: