Today’s post is one I drafted when I was pregnant and never had the chance to share. However, since I heard from you and the request to discuss my experience with intuitive eating while pregnant and body acceptance, I wanted to share!
Pregnancy has been a really good lesson in surrendering to my body. Week by week, some weeks subtle and others not, my body has literally changed before my eyes. It’s a very strange thing to have a similar body for most of your adult life, and then all of a sudden you don’t.
I’ve gotten some requests recently for a post about pregnancy, body image, and intuitive eating. During my first pregnancy with Mitch, I posted on Pregnancy Weight: The Great Debate.
In terms of body image, there’s no easy answer here – it can be weird and uncomfortable to find yourself in a body that you don’t recognize, or that feels foreign to you. It’s even weirder because as you get farther along in pregnancy people love making all sorts of comments about your body. My best advice is to try to focus on the science behind it all – how cool it is that you are literally growing a human inside you?! I mean, that’s actually insane. It’s been fascinating to read about what’s happening scientifically each week, both in my own body and in my baby’s.
It’s also important, and this applies whether pregnant or not, to check the negative body talk. If you find yourself being critical about your body and how it looks, notice those thoughts, and then give yourself some compassion and a reminder that your body is doing some really amazing things. Embrace that your body knows what it’s doing, and that you just need to take care of it and let it do its thing.
Being pregnant means changes, and not just physically.
In addition to my body changing, my eating habits have been, too, especially again in that first trimester. Foods I didn’t usually crave were suddenly finding their way into my grocery cart, and foods I normally love and want to eat all the time were put on the back burner and oscillated between being slightly off-putting and totally revolting.
One thing that struck me when I first started solids with Mitchell was his pediatrician guiding me through his food with the advice, “Look at the overall, not just one meal.” I thought, that is so true. We need to give ourselves grace and be kind – and listen to what our bodies tell us we want!
Pregnancy has actually been a really good way to revisit and refine my ability to be intuitive and mindful with my eating, and it has reminded me to listen to what my body is telling me rather than letting the clock dictate when I’m eating. Before getting pregnant, I was in a good routine with my food where I was still being intuitive and mindful, but I didn’t have to pay quite as much attention because I generally needed food around the same time most days, and I had learned what sorts of foods usually felt best for me at certain times, too. (Sometimes that changed, and I was fine with listening if that was the case – or with listening on days I found myself hungrier than usual – but for the most part, I knew what to expect most days food craving/need-wise.)
But with pregnancy, all of that went out the window. Not only did I need to eat more often, but it was much more urgent. Getting hangry was always something I was susceptible to, but having hangry also come paired with a face smack of nausea was a pretty good motivator to make damn sure I was listening to my body and staying ahead of that hunger before it was too late. I also had to challenge myself to revisit my ideas of what sorts of food I ate when. Middle of the afternoon and I needed a full meal? Sure, why not. Let’s do this. No judgment necessary.
At the end of the day I learned to let go.
I was proud of myself for carrying a healthy baby no matter how I looked. I knew in my heart that I was doing my best and giving my all to create a healthy, happy home for little one. Did my body look different? Yes. Did it look like a supermodel’s sweet round pregnant belly? No. It looked like my version of a healthy pregnancy. Small vicotories were celebrated – a workout, pulling myself together at 38 weeks for a work presentation, taking a walk with Henry, prioritizing sleep, sneaking spinach into my smoothie. All wonderful healthy habits to be proud of.
XXoo – BB