Getting pregnant at 19 and having a baby by 20, not easy or "desirable" for most - I know. Butttt it happens. With that being said, I was super young and my body was not fully developed, at all. I really didn't need to put too much thought into loving my body at the time. I was 4'11 and petite, my entire life. A cute shape, and a flat stomach. So, the least of my worries was my body. Lol I was that girl wearing crop tops all the time [cause I could].
Then boom, I found out I was pregnant and my entire body changed in the blink of an eye it feels like. From the [obvious] of my belly growing and not being able to fit clothes or zip them..to my face getting chunkier, to the emotions and hormones changing. All of this so new to me. This was my first pregnancy, and I had no idea of what to expect.
I went through so much during my pregnancy. From going through my pregnancy alone [though I had the help of family]. To being considered high risk and going to the doctor every week in my last trimester of my pregnancy. It was a lot! I was unable to really enjoy or love on myself [correctly] and I didn't know how to at the time. Looking back, if I had the knowledge and wisdom that I do now, I would've took matters into my own hands and things would have been a lot different.
I've created my list of non-negotiables to live by for loving your body, while going through pregnancy and afterwards.
Acknowledge the fact that you are doing something that so many others aren't able to. That's validation enough. Bringing life into this world, isn't something that's easy to do, nor should it be taken lightly. Be proud of that.
Moisturize your skin. Taking that time to love on your body after showers and baths make a difference (even when you aren't pregnant).
Take care of yourself. Rather it's keeping your hair/nails done, lashes/brows, waxing, exercising, etc. Those small things creates a sense of normalcy and helps to boost your confidence.
Develop a self care routine.
Choose joy. The saying "your baby feels everything you feel" is true. Be mindful of that while you're carrying. Though it's so many things in life, in general, we aren't able to control. The one thing we are in control of is our own happiness. Keeping that in mind, even while experiencing curveballs will help you to stay focused on the bigger picture.
As it is during pregnancy, typically, your body is going to be different after. For me, I gained weight (which was drastic for me) because I had been 100 lbs my entire life. So, for all of this weight to come after I had the baby was terrifying for me. I wasn't confident with all of the weight that I had gained. Going through postpartum. I breastfed my daughter, so my breast were different and larger, and filled with milk. I wasn't comfortable in my clothes and I didn't feel beautiful anymore.
YES, I know it takes time to get back to yourself after having your child but even still knowing that doesn't make you feel or think better about it.
POST PREGNANCY -
Give your self some grace. Your body may or may not bounce back automatically, everyone is different. Don't compare yourself.
Embrace your new body. This is the time to really be mindful choosing your words and thoughts. YES, it's different and that's okay. The good thing about this is, if you don't like it, we have the ability to change it.
Make time for yourself. Do Target runs, get a massage, go shopping or out to dinner. Take yourself out. Mom's need a break too!
Get dressed up, even if you're going no where. When you look good, you feel good. AND take pictures afterwards.
Build a support system. Having people who genuinely care about you and your well being always makes the difference.
Parenting is a journey and it's easy to lose yourself along the way. Being intentional about being kind to and loving yourself, on top of practicing self-care helps eases the process. I hope this helps and encourage you to feel a lot better about your process.