Let me start by saying that I am not at all about telling you that you need to love being pregnant. I’m not the person to tell you that you need to just try harder to love your body and enjoy every moment of pregnancy because it’s so wonderfully special and pregnancy should be a super fun time for everyone.
In fact, I’ll let you in on a secret: I never liked being pregnant. Except for maybe a few weeks in the second trimester, I was mostly just uncomfortable and tired of not being able to eat a whole meal in one sitting without feeling disgusting. So as much as I adore pregnant bellies and birth and babies, I will never tell you that you need to “just enjoy it more.” Some women love being pregnant. Some women don’t. And that’s okay.
However, I made one change between my first and second pregnancies that made a huge difference in the way I approached my changing body. I decided to be curious instead of critical. I decided that instead of being grumpy about how my body looked, I would explore it in a way I never had before.
I love the concept of being curious about your growing body, because it allows for all the feelings and thoughts, but puts them into a more manageable perspective. It’s not putting pressure on yourself to love every minute, and it’s also not judging yourself for the things you see as negative changes. It’s simply being curious.
Instead of being annoyed at how your thighs and butt are somehow also starting to look pregnant, maybe you could ask the question, “Is there a reason I’m gaining weight here?” (There is! Pregnancy hormones cause the well-known “pregnant butt,” as well as cause some women to gain more weight in their back and thighs than normal.)
Instead of being frustrated by your growing belly and changing hormones when it comes to intimacy with your partner, use this time to explore different positions or activities. Be open and curious about what feels different, what’s comfortable, and what things you can do to enjoy each other during this time.
Instead of judging yourself for not being able to be as active as you are accustomed to, make an effort to learn about the physical changes your body is going through. Extra blood volume, less room for your lungs to expand, as well as, you know…growing a human, all contribute to your changing capacity for activity. Learning about all the things your body is accomplishing even while at rest can give your perspective and appreciation for it, even if you aren’t loving it.
Instead of getting upset about the way you crave some foods and can’t even handle the thought of others, be curious about why that happens. Learning about pregnancy nutrition and the way we have evolved to instinctively nurture our babies will not only be interesting and helpful, but it can help connect you to the generations of women that came before.
These are just a few examples of turning criticism into curiosity. I hope that even if pregnancy is not your favorite time of life, you begin to honor the work your body is doing by learning, asking questions, and expressing appreciation for its abilities.
Are there other examples of being curious and exploring your body that you can think of? Share your thoughts in the comments so that others can get some ideas!