Let’s chat body positivity
Body positivity and loving yourself seem to be trending now a days, and for good reason. Learning to embrace your flaws, love your body, and recognize that every body is different, yet beautiful, is such an important message to spread. However, I believe body positivity should go beyond the way our bodies look. It should also be about how we feel. I truly believe that no matter how you look, you should feel healthy, confident, and comfortable in your own skin. Because if you don’t feel good, how can you be the best version of yourself?
What initially sparked my interest in writing a blog post on this topic was when I saw Arielle Charnas of Something Navy being body shamed on the internet a few weeks ago. Long story short, she posted a photo of herself in a bikini (looking super fit, abs and all) on Instagram with the caption “proud of my body after two kids <3” as she should be!
She received SO much backlash on this photo + caption combo that I was literally floored. From people saying she looked too thin + unhealthy, to people saying she is portraying an unrealistic idea of what post partum bodies look like, to people wanting her to own up to the fact that she has tons of money to spend on trainers + nannies and ample time to fit workouts into her schedule, I couldn’t believe the hate. Now don’t take this the wrong way, but if it were a plus sized influencer posting a photo in a bathing suit with the same caption, she would have been praised for accepting and loving her body which is totally fine. However, there should not be a double standard when it comes to body positivity.
I could also tell that the majority of people making negative comments on Arielle’s post were not loyal followers and have probably never heard of her before in their life. As a long time follower, this made me want to come to her defense. I know that Arielle has a naturally thin frame, has been bullied in the past for how she looks, AND I know that since having her two babes, she puts in the work to eat right and work hard in the gym because she openly shares her life on social media. Does she make millions of dollars to be able to afford the lifestyle she wants? Yes. But she also has worked so hard to get where she is. I don’t think people understand the capacity of work that influencing on her level and creating a brand entails, so they just assume her job must be easy since a lot of the work that goes into it is unseen. I also believe that no matter what your financial status is, you will make eating right and exercising a priority if you truly believe in the benefits of it and want to feel your best; there are no excuses.
So all that to say, it really got me thinking about body positivity, especially now being pregnant!
Body Positivity During Pregnancy
Your body goes through a lot during pregnancy. Everything is changing and sometimes it can be hard to deal with. Weird things are happening, you’re gaining weight, not to mention your hormones are out of whack. You’ll be feeling all the feels at some point or another. Whether it’s when you start showing and the whole thing seems more real. Or when your fave jeans don’t button anymore. Or the day when your wedding rings don’t fit. Or when you look in the mirror at 34 weeks and say to yourself “I feel huge, but that’s because there’s a baby in there.” You’ll have good days and bad days, and it’s okay to sometimes love being pregnant and sometimes not love being pregnant.
Embracing the changes that come with pregnancy can be challenging. I personally didn’t start really showing until about 24-25 weeks. Prior to that, people would say things like, you don’t even look pregnant, you’re lucky you’re still so small, etc. Now that I’m 35 weeks and clearly pregnant, people say things like, you’re getting so big, you must be due soon, aren’t you so ready?! It left me feeling like I couldn’t win.
If we’re being honest, I don’t think anyone should make comments on a pregnant woman’s body at any point throughout her pregnancy. It all goes back to the fact that everyone’s bodies are different. Even though pregnancy is temporary, it’s still a change that we have to process and one that might not leave us feeling our best to begin with.
Comments aside, learning to love yourself all over again is doable. One thing that has helped me is telling myself it’s all temporary. Through the aches and pains and growing belly, I remind myself it’s not going to last forever and that my body will go back to what it used to be as long as I work toward it. Creating and carrying a human is something so special that not every woman is lucky enough to experience. If you are lucky enough to go through pregnancy, just remind yourself that the hard days are worth it because you are bringing life into this world. Accepting your body and having a positive outlook rather than being down on yourself will help you get through the changes and be happy during this time.
A realization that I’ve come to these past few weeks is that I definitely wasn’t working as hard as I could have been to feel my best pre pregnancy. Sure, I went to the gym and worked out and I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with myself, but I also wasn’t really challenging myself and pushing myself to my fullest potential. So two things related to this: one, I will never take my workouts for granted again because the only time I want to gain weight like this is to grow a human, and two, during my next pregnancy I will remain as active as possible because toward the end this shit gets hard. I was so nauseous during the first trimester that I just got out of habit, and if that happens again next time I’m really going to push myself to work out when I can (even if it’s yoga and walking) to boost my mood and help me still feel strong.
I feel like not being active throughout this pregnancy has caused me to lose everything I worked for before hand. Especially when Rob told me I was losing my butt lol. That hit me right in the heart and I was like what the heck, how is this happening? And that may sound superficial, especially since we’re talking about body positivity here - but it all goes back to not only accepting the way we look but also feeling good about ourselves!
To end, Rob actually asked me last night, overall, do you like being pregnant? My response was yes and no. And he said well would you do it all over again. And to that, my response was yes, but when is the question. ASAP or in five years? Then after we talked, and based on previous conversations we’ve had about the topic of baby number two, I feel like for us as a family and me personally, the sooner the better. I’d rather just pop out all the babies and then be able to get my body back and keep it that way (which FYI there’s nothing wrong with that!) To some it may sound selfish but like I said above, if we don’t feel our best, how can we be our best, especially for our children?