A little while ago, I hit the 20-week mark and posted a photo to my Instagram showing the difference between five weeks and five months of pregnancy.
I didn’t realize it until a few days later that I had actually really upset myself and unintentionally had started feeling really down about my body.
We all gain weight during our pregnancy, it’s inevitable. We are carrying around a baby, placenta, amniotic fluid and an additional pint of blood – by the end of your pregnancy you should have gained a minimum of 10kg.
I’ve never been one to step on the scales neurotically, and only when I worked with a coach did I have to note my weekly weight, but when I was going in for my monthly check-ups at the doctor, I couldn’t help but be bothered by the number creeping up.
All the rational things I say to myself and to clients weren’t working. Common sense things like “you’re supposed to gain weight”, “it’s nearly impossible to be extremely lean and pregnant simultaneously” or “don’t worry about what your body looks like, worry about what you can control, like healthy foods and the amount of exercise you can do”.
They weren’t working because I still had this negative self-talk that would tell me my arms were fat or my butt was sagging. It’s just noise.
What helped me was self-affirmations. I’ve sworn by them for years to help with self-esteem, self-love and self-confidence.
I tell myself five things that I love about myself, even if I don’t believe them yet. It’s a slow burner, but the power of practicing this every morning to set me up right mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
In the evening, I practice a gratitude list to try and quieten that negative self-talk away, because you can’t go to bed stressed out when you’re thinking about all the amazing things you have in life or the good things that happened that day. This can be tough – especially when you’re just having one of those days.
Physically – I just have to do what I can do, to the best of my ability, without harming myself or my baby.
And talk about it. Share it with other pregnant women. Share it with someone professionally or personally who is just willing to listen, because all the advice in the world or compliments from other people isn’t going to change that little voice in your head.
But sometimes just getting it off your chest is enough to lift that heavy weight off of it.