...and this needs to change.
I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and I feel like I'm bursting at the seams. Lately I've been experiencing the effects of my growing waistline more than ever--both physically and mentally. Physically I'm exhausted. The tiredness of the first trimester has come back with a vengeance... In fact, I would say it's even worse. I struggle to get through my days. Even the most mundane of tasks has felt ridiculously daunting. It's almost humorous how hard it is to say... go up and down stairs. As soon as Sam gets home it's a known fact that I'm done with stairs for the night. If I need anything from the lower level of our house he kindly fetches it for me. And don't even get me started on laundry...
Then there's the mental/emotional aspect of my ever-increasing size. Because I was sick with all-day "morning sickness" until about 24 weeks, I wasn't able to start exercising until then. Thus from about week 6 to 24 I took a big break from working out, which was hard for me. Nowadays I work out daily and I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger again. I've been doing prenatal workout videos at home, cardio at the gym, and lots of walks. Additionally I try to make healthy and sensible choices with my diet. Yet--without getting into specifics--I've gained more weight than the average or recommended amount... already. And I still have some of the biggest growth weeks to go.
The same thing happened last time with Klair. With both pregnancies it seems that regardless of how disciplined I am with exercise and my eating, my body just wants to hold on to everything it possibly can. With Klair I was able to lose the pregnancy weight fairly quickly post-partum with breastfeeding and avid exercise. In spite of knowing this about my body, I have been really hard on myself this time around. Maybe it's the fact that the weight definitely came on faster with this second baby. And, maybe all the photos we've been taking this time around for the blog haven't helped either. My poor husband kindly takes photos for my blog, and then he has to deal with the repercussions of me being upset when I see myself through the lens of a camera. I guess I'm just having a really hard time not letting my weight get to me. I avoid the scale at home... but I can't avoid it at the doctor. Or the mirror. Or photos. Each doctor appointment has rattled me, and every time I go to my closet to try and find something to wear I end up feeling depressed.
Thus, rather than focusing on the amazing miracle of life that's occurring within me, I've been hyper-focused on negative body image--and this isn't okay. It needs to change.
If I'm going to get through the next 5 weeks, I need to try and be more positive. No, scratch that. I don't just want to get through the rest of this journey. I want to enjoy it. Rather than feeling depressed that I've gained weight, I want to revel in the incomprehensibly beautiful miracle that is currently taking place within me. When people compliment me, I need to stop dismissing their comments as obligated niceness.
No more of that. Right now, even as I write this with no makeup, I am beautiful. Some women love pregnancy. They feel more beautiful than ever knowing that they are housing and nurturing another living soul within them. I believe this for women in general, but I don't apply it to myself. I think all women possess there own inherent beauty, and I believe pregnancy is one of the ultimate expressions of this... yet I automatically exclude myself. I guess you could say that I acknowledge in theory that I am beautiful, particularly now... but now I need to figure out how to believe it.
And of course I recognize that body image issues aren't limited to pregnancy--it's just what I'm currently experiencing. But in our toxic culture I think it's safe to say that most women struggle with issues of confidence, particularly relating to appearance. I think we would all do well to follow this advice from Amy Poehler:
Basically I guess I just really need to change my attitude. Every time a negative thought pops in my head (as they inevitably will) I'm going to counter it with positivity. Whenever I feel the urge to complain (which I do way too much) I'm going to try and see the silver lining. Happiness is a choice and a matter of focus. I can choose where to focus my attention, and I certainly have a lot to be grateful for... even in the tougher times.
Furthermore, with only five weeks left of this pregnancy, I want connect with my son as much as possible--to love every movement and revel in the passing moments. I want to set aside time daily to appreciate this connection that we have now--a connection that will soon end, but that has bonded us forever.
Lastly, I need to soak up this time with my husband and daughter. Right now I'm not taking care of a newborn... and despite my excitement to do so, I'm not kidding myself. It will be a lot of work! It will demand a lot of me and a lot of my time. Right now I can give everything to Sam and Klair, and they deserve that.
Yesterday while I was driving I saw a quote posted on a church billboard in magnetic letters. It read:
It caught my attention at the time as a witty bit of wisdom, but I didn't think much more of it. It wasn't until I started writing out my feelings that I realized it was the perfect way to summarize this post. I've been so negative lately. I've been practicing negativity and I've gotten pretty good at it!...too good. It's time to change.
And of course this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the photos. When I first saw them, I was disappointed--not in the dress itself, but in how I looked in it. I was negative about my appearance. But now I'm forcing myself to look at them with a different perspective. The dress is beautiful, and so am I. (Also, I have to say I'm really impressed with and grateful for the quality of my husband's photography. I am the luckiest to have his support in this crazy blogging adventure.)
Autumn Klair is the writer of her fashion and lifestyle blog, Autumn Klair. She is a resident of Utah and is part of a beautiful family of three -- soon to be four! Her posts are thoughtful and sincere and her style is always on point. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!