Miraculous: Pregnancy Leads One Woman to a Healthy Body Image

After dodging pregnancy for my entire adult life, I am pregnant. Glee is not the word I would use to describe my reaction to this news; stunned silence is more like it. When I saw that second glaring line show up on that little pink stick, everything stopped. The cell phone went unused, the blog went unwritten, and, unsure what else to do, I allowed myself to slip into many days of deep, satisfying sleep.

I did go off of birth control on purpose — I can’t say the pregnancy was exactly unplanned, but after 15 years of solid, unrelenting birth control pills, I assumed that it would take a while for an egg to drop. Not so much — my body was ready. My husband is thrilled and very proud of his “boys” for getting the job done so fast. I, on the other hand, am floating through nine months of every emotion you can imagine, from hormonally-induced peacefulness to bone-chilling dread.

I am a personal trainer, certified in Pre/Post Natal Fitness and Nutrition and Wellness Counseling. I am also a person who has faced debilitating body image issues and food addiction. I have worked with many women throughout their pregnancies, but the prospect of my own body enduring a pregnancy was beyond me. I was never the girl who dreamed about having babies; I was the girl who dreamed about seeing the Taj Mahal at daybreak.

In all of the years I spent deeply fearing pregnancy — fearing the implications on my body, how much weight I would gain, how I would never get my body back — it never occurred to me that pregnancy might finally teach me, once and for all, to not give a damn what people think about my body. In fact, I never considered that it would teach me anything about anything, except how to endure pain, suffering, and exhaustion.
But here I am, and there’s a baby boy on the way. After overcoming the initial shock, I am returning to the land of the living with a few lessons learned from this crazy thing called pregnancy. They are simple and unexpected, and I hope I can carry them with me for the rest of my life.

Food is for growth and nourishment.
 I have always understood, in theory, that food is fuel and should be utilized and valued as such. But somehow, it always came back to being about boredom and control, self-medicating and quelling loneliness, a sugar rush and a nice satisfying serotonin bath. In pregnancy, there is a constant awareness of exactly what is needed at the moment, and there are immediate results if I feed my body the wrong or right thing. Food is fuel, powerful and necessary, and the body is going to use that fuel down to its most minuscule resource.

There is a time for rest, a time to give yourself a break.

I am a trainer. It is my job to push people to the limits, to help them break through their boundaries to reach a higher level of strength and endurance. But when the workout is done, in order to build muscle, recovery time is needed. Rest is a crucial part of the equation. In pregnancy, there is no option: A pregnant woman is called upon to rest, and there is no negotiating. Rest is imperative for health, pregnant or not. I have learned to take heed, to pay attention when rest is needed and to make time for it. I have learned to let go of the guilt of taking a few moments for rest and to enjoy it — the remainder of the day will be so much more productive.

If you listen hard enough, your body will tell you when the resting time is over.

After days or weeks of down time, you will begin to twitch and ache for movement. You will find yourself squirming in your office chair during the day, and tossing and turning in bed at night. If you ignore the call for motion, you will slowly grow lethargic. This is the moment you must get up and go for a walk, head to the gym, or call a friend to go out dancing. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get going. Give your body what it needs, and it will ask for it again the following day. The first 12 weeks I was pregnant, I needed rest, plain and simple. Then my body started telling me to move, and I slowly, tentatively ventured back to the gym and back to the sidewalks.

I won’t call pregnancy beautiful. It still seems kind of bizarre and freaky to me, but I will call it miraculous. It is miraculous that the body knows how to create another human being when called upon, no matter how freaked out the mother is! And it is miraculous for me, a lifelong body-image cripple, to be free — finally — from trying to fit the mold. Instead, I find beauty in the urgency of hunger and the clarity of purpose, in the body doing its job: eating, breathing and moving.

I look forward to taking this knowledge with me, back to the world of the non-pregnant, because the human body is no less miraculous when it is not making a baby. It just took this massive, life-altering event for me to finally disregard what the haters in my own mind have to say. I’m focusing squarely and intently on the wondrous inner workings of my physical body, loving it exactly as it is and allowing it to do its thing.


EllaRochelle's picture

I am just like you, at least, the way you used to be when you weren't pregnant. I don't think there's something that offered greater stress than waiting for my period to come, since I don't use pills. It's great you've managed to overcome the repulsion you had for this step in life.

leonardo85's picture

Pregnancy is indeed the most intriguing time period of any woman's life. You just feel like being on cloud nine but at the same time you start feeling jittery. Enjoy the phase as much as you can. But taking care of your body more important now with right diet. Stay happy and enjoy your special moments with your baby. Having the right diet also helps when you want to have a bulky, muscular physique.

You are indeed going through the most wonderful time of your life. There are many women who desperately seek this happiness, however, some of them are really unfortunate as they have to battle with the problem of infertility and it is definitely a tough battle to win. But there are cutting edge fertility clinics such as Midwest Reproductive Center around that could make your dream a reality.

Thanks for such an wonderful article. I must say that your article is quite inspiring to people like us. Though I want to ask you a question only since you are a certified pre/post natal fitness and wellness counselor. During my pregnancy I got a lot of Acne scars and my doctor said they will go with the time. But its been over a year now since I gave birth and used a lot of facial cream but all in vain. Any suggestion or advice will be appreciated.

JackSmith's picture

One say or not say being a mother is one of the happiest thing in the world. The love the passion which gets created for the baby does increases into a worldwide happiness. You are lucky that you will be getting a baby with all your heart. Though some may feel that there is no necessity being a mother but the main thing is that it is just a wonderful thing to be a mother. The feelings as well as the thoughts which one have, with the child keeping in the womb for nine months is just a great. Human body does need several nourishment and care through this stage of pregnancy.

Camella Rose's picture

You have really described a lot of things for the baby development. Actually the love which exists between the mother and baby in the womb really makes a mother feel high. Since the main thing which we must see is the right diet which must be provided to the mother and the complete rest which is to be included also. These are the things which are required by the mother in pregnancy. It is an extremely care time and need to be gently taken.

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Hellen's picture

I began to feel self conscious about the food I ate during pregnancy. I think my desire to offer my child the best start made me take healthier food decisions. Giving up on junk food has never been easier!

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Infertility CentrInfertility afflicts around six million individuals in the U.S., around ten percent of males & females in their childbearing years. In vitro fertilization or IVF procedure was firstly deployed in the eighties in the U.S. & over two lakh test tube babies have been born with due credit to it. Below five percent of couples faced with infertility essentially opt for IVF.

raok7's picture

It means that the mother has a normal delivery and best part its pregnancy lead to healthy boddy...

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During pregnancy we have found that women are taking better and preventive precautions to maintain a better health; mostly we have found that pregnant women are easily affected with several kinds of disease therefore it is quite essential to deal with their health and hazard programs such as healthy foods and a strict diet plan; physical workout only when needed; sufficient rest and many more.
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It's medically proven that pregnancy regulates several body functions. But, hormonally, it's a plateau phase, compared to post-partum. That's when you can worry about staying with your baby until he's two, or join the Working Moms Club. Until then, just enjoy the ride, be it smooth or bumpy.

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I have proved helpful with many women throughout their child birth, but the possibilities of my own body sustained a maternity was beyond me.

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Pregnancy is associated with dramatic changes in women’s body shape and size. Pregnancy weight gain can lead to body dissatisfaction or a negative body image. Avoid all high protein food, alcohol, smoking and fast food products during pregnancy. These all are really bad for the health of mother and baby.
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adoradeny's picture

This article is very good for those pregnant women who don't have a healthy body imagine. I personally didn't have these problems. Between work and doing something to prepare the baby's arrival, like buy Red Sox baby clothes, the crib and milk bottles, I didn't have time for anything.

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