Self-Esteem

Maternity Photos

I knew I wanted to get some maternity photos done. I waited until the last minute (I think the end of November) and then realized…oh crap, I think I need to do some research on hiring a photographer! The type-A/planner in me apparently took a vacation once I got to the end of the 2nd Trimester.

I shopped around and got some quotes and chatted with a few different local photographers and in the end wasn’t super enthusiastic about it and was honestly feeling a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly I couldn’t make any decisions about anything. In the end we asked our friend Christi, who does amazing work and took our engagement photos, and she said she’d love to do them! I don’t know why we didn’t just ask her in the first place– pregnancy brain fog is such a real thing!

The day we had scheduled for the photo shoot…Michael got up early (he’s an early riser anyways) and then woke me up to tell me it was snowing. Um…what? Totally out of left field. We hadn’t seen any snow predictions in the news so it was definitely a shock.

What’s funny is that when Christi and I originally talked and planned the photo shoot, she wanted to go up to Mount Hood and take photos in the snow. I loved the idea, but didn’t want to take advantage of her time because it would be at least an hour to drive up there, set up, etc, then take the photos then an hour drive back. I felt like that made it an all-day function and I felt bad for asking anyone to sign up for that. So it’s kind of nice that it ended up snowing in Portland!

We decided to take advantage of it and go for the photos. It was snowing and occasionally rain/sleet was mixed in during the shoot. I am really happy that we decided to go for it and get snow pictures! They turned out so great. 🙂

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I totally understand that a lot of people think maternity photo shoots are kind of silly. They are definitely the “thing” to do these days. But I’m really glad we did it. I wanted to have some pretty pictures done by a professional to remember this magical time.

For so many years when I was obese I avoided the camera and then losing weight, still I avoided having my picture taken. Once I lost the weight I was much better about having my picture taken but it was still hard sometimes and in the beginning I would end up being overly critical of every photo I saw. As I got bigger during this pregnancy I started falling into that trap again. Instead of feeling magical and “glowing” I was critical of photos and focused on the extra weight, how big my bump looks, double chins, etc.

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My hope with doing this photo shoot was to kind of boost my body image in a positive way and help me focus on the magic and the glowing instead of being critical. I think Christi took some wonderful shots and I wanted to share a few of the favorites from that day!

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I love how they turned out. Christi took great photos and our friend, her boyfriend, Stu did the photo touch ups (that’s his day job) and we got the finished product about a week ago. I had some prints made for all the future grandparents and I had some prints made to put in the nursery and baby book. 🙂

 

Body Changes During Pregnancy

I’ve wanted kids for as long as I could remember and was really excited when we got that positive test! But to be honest, I never really thought about the being pregnant part. Ever. In my fantasies it was always the “after”–the baby, being a mom, being a family. I don’t know why I never really thought what being pregnant would be like. Maybe because I really didn’t have anything to relate it to? I don’t know. But in my mind those 9 months never really popped up in my brain! LOL

When I got pregnant and wasn’t really enjoying the first trimester, it was a bit of a rude awakening. Once the second trimester started and I was feeling better, everything got better — including my mood. This was also the time my body started to change a bit. Instead of it looking like I just ate a big lunch or was gaining a few pounds in muffin-top poundage, I was starting to look pregnant.

I began to wonder how I would adjust mentally to all the changes my body was going to go through. Because again, I hadn’t really thought about it much. I’d worked so hard to lose 110 pounds and had worked just as hard to keep it off for 7 years! How was I going to change my thinking that gaining weight was OK?

First, making the mental adjustment to stop being in “loser” or “maintenance” modes was a weird switch. It was even weirder in the 2nd trimester when I had to INCREASE my caloric intake! Suddenly I was supposed to be eating more food. It took awhile to make that mental shift.

While I’m eating more food and not beating myself up if I go over my calories once in awhile, I’m not going crazy either. I’m eating more, listening to my body (and when I’m extra hungry I eat a little bit more) but I’m not bingeing on stuff because I’m “eating for two.” This was a huge positive thing for me. I had some reservations that old binge-eating habits would return because I have this “free pass” all of a sudden, but nope, not really. I honestly don’t feel that different and I’m not eating that differently.

Second, I had to get used to my body being the center of attention. For years as I lost weight and after I had reached goal, my body was the focal point in a lot of conversations. People would make comments about how great I looked, how awesome it was that I was losing weight, that I did a great job reaching my goal! It was all positive reinforcement and it helped keep me motivated in times when the weight loss stopped happening. But it was weird to go from being the fat chick that hid behind big clothes and layers to suddenly being skinny and having people NOTICE. I never really got used to the body comments.

Being pregnant I’ve noticed that I’m no longer an individual person–I’m now a baby vessel and people make comments. Half the time they are wildly inappropriate and sometimes downright rude (Maybe someday I’ll share some of the truly awful comments I’ve gotten but…right now I’m trying to stay positive!)…but for the most part people are just noticing “the bump” and making comments. Again, my body is on display and the focus. Weird.

For the first half of my pregnancy I didn’t feel too different. Around 20 weeks I started to notice some things.

The Bump

Clothes stopped fitting properly. I was making the switch to maternity clothes and shirts that were a size larger. I was also noticing the bump getting in the way of things. I could still bend over to pick something up but it was getting awkward. Certain machines at the gym I couldn’t do anymore because my bump was getting in the way (like the seated leg press). It was getting uncomfortable to toss and turn in bed–I had to do it gingerly to avoid pain and discomfort.

I was trying to remember back to when I was 250 pounds–I carried most of my weight in my stomach area. Yet I never had these issues when I was obese. It’s so odd that gaining 10 pounds of baby weight and suddenly I’m floundering around like a turtle on my back!

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Just learning to maneuver around with this new appendage was an adjustment. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I’m 35 weeks!!!

Even though I was buying clothes in a larger size–which used to send me spiraling into a mild depression–I wasn’t too upset about it because I kept reminding myself that THIS IS TEMPORARY. I am not buying a whole new wardrobe in giant clothes. I’m just buying a few maternity items to get me through the next few months.

I kind of love The Bump, though. This was a spot on my body that I loathed after losing weight because of the loose skin that never really went away no matter how much I lost or how much I worked out. It made me self-conscious. But now? I’m not bothered by my stomach at all! Besides, it’s the home for the little guy for a few more months. And it’s kinda nice knowing he’s there with me all the time. 🙂

Getting Bigger in General

I felt a little sad when around 15 weeks I had to go buy a new bra in a larger size. Larger size and larger cup size. It was a moment of sadness because I remember just how happy I had been when I was losing weight and buying clothes in smaller sizes.

My legs (ankles especially) are getting a little bigger. I’m sure it’s normal swelling (from what I’ve read) but it’s still weird to see swollen body parts where they used to be skinny.

Getting Winded Easily

I am a very fit person, cardio has never been an issue for me. I was in great cardio shape (thank you swimming!) and then BOOM. 20 weeks, I was suddenly huffing and puffing walking up stairs. I was so winded, could barely catch my breath, and it felt like overnight I was suddenly back to my old body! THIS WAS HARD.

I was noticing in the gym that things were getting harder, that I was out of breath, that my heart rate got high really quickly….BUT I FEEL THE SAME! Why isn’t this the same?!?! I used to be able to run 3 miles on the treadmill without feeling like I was dying. What happened??? I used to swim 2000 yards in the pool in 45 minutes without stopping to rest and now…I am so much slower now at everything.

It was so hard to make that mental shift that I can’t do the same things I did before at the same intensity. I am still struggling with this. I struggle with this every time I go to the gym and realize, Oh yeah, I need to back off a little bit.

My body sure is reminding me of this. When I get winded, when my heart rate is too high and I need to rest, and then especially the next day when I am really, really sore. I am reminded that my body is different.

After

I know that after the baby is here my body is going to be even different. I haven’t really thought much about it yet. I probably won’t think about it! Not until the time is here. I know I’ll get back to something resembling normalcy, but it will be another mental adjustment when it looks different then pre-pregnancy.

Being pregnant is definitely an adjustment. What I find obnoxious is that none of the books really talk about how you will FEEL. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so there really isn’t a universal “this will definitely happen to you” thing…The books don’t really talk about what the changes will be like. Sure, they say “you’re going to gain weight” but the books don’t really talk about how it feels, what it looks like; they especially don’t discuss what it’s like to gain weight during pregnancy after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past…you’re just kind of adrift at sea figuring these things out on your own, navigating your own feelings alone. None of my friends with kids could really relate or share how it feels because their story wasn’t like mine.

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It’s odd to FEEL the same but every week your body is changing in new and weird, fun and sometimes alarming, ways. You just never know what is going to happen next.

You know what distracts me from thinking too much about my body changing? When the little guy started moving and I felt the flutters and tickles. Then getting the ultrasound and seeing a formed human instead of a blob of fuzzy gray. 🙂 He was waving and swimming and flipping around and it felt real.

If you’ve gone through this stuff, I’d love to hear about it!