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What I Learned about My Amazing Body during Pregnancy

What I Learned about My Amazing Body during Pregnancy

PregnancyandBodyImage

A little over a year ago, an amazing event happened in my life, my daughter was born. When I first discovered that I was expecting it was a complete shock, I never believed I wanted children. Within a day of learning I was pregnant, I began to feel the excitement mounting in me. 


There were a few reasons why I had believed I did not want children, but the one I want to highlight for this post is that I did not want to gain weight. Yes, that irrational fear of gaining weight that is Pocrescophobia something that I have struggled with for many years and have discussed many times on this blog.

I had never told anyone that the fear of gaining weight was one big reason I thought I never wanted children.

I felt shameful and selfish. 

While I had taken many steps over a couple of years to heal from my Pocrescophobia and body dysmorphia and was able to manage successfully, soon after I discovered I was expecting, I was afraid I would fall back into the negative body image thoughts that preoccupied and disturbed my life and mind for many years. Fortunately, to help counteract that negative potential, I had a very supportive husband. Also, I read many books on pregnancy, read inspirational stories from other women, stayed close to God, and continued to exercise. There were still times when I would begin to find myself going into a pessimistic mindset about my changing body. So I would turn my focus onto providing nourishment to my baby. I also reminded myself that the changes my body were going through were natural and necessary, women's bodies are uniquely designed to grow another human, how amazing is that!? 


When I was around 30 weeks along, I decided I wanted to do something contradictory to my previous body dysmorphia, I wanted maternity pictures, and not just these but also birth photos. Taking photos, especially those in which my body was visible, was not something I, in past, wanted. If pictures of me were taken, I would scrutinize my body through an unfavorable lens.

I viewed this interested in maternity and birth photography as a statement of healing, I have come to accept my body and embrace the beautiful changes attributed to pregnancy.

The maternity photos were taken, and I felt empowered and lovely. In fact, my maternity pictures are probably some of my favorite photos of myself. 

Maternity photography credits to Natalie Renae Photography http://natalierenaephotography.bigcartel.com

Maternity photography credits to Natalie Renae Photography http://natalierenaephotography.bigcartel.com


Then on November 22, 2015, I went into labor. It was intense but short, and my birth photographer was there to capture the experience. At first, I was skeptical of having pictures taken while giving birth. The experience of birth showcases one in a state of exposure and vulnerability; however, the experience also showcases the power, strength, and beauty of women and of course, new life. Once more, I was thrilled with the photos.

They spoke truth, a truth I have come to appreciate, acceptance and reverence for my body and the amazing things it is capable of. 

Birth photography credits to Natalie Renae Photography http://natalierenaephotography.bigcartel.com

Birth photography credits to Natalie Renae Photography http://natalierenaephotography.bigcartel.com

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The feelings I had about pregnancy and the fear of gaining weight due to Pocrescophobia and body dysmorphia are not exclusive to me, and they are not something to be ashamed of. You do not need to be afraid to tell someone you trust and seek help. Healing is possible! Below are some helpful resources: 

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/body-image-during-pregnancy/

http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/weight-gain/pregnancy-body-image/

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/boosting-your-body-image-through-pregnancy

http://www.momtastic.com/pregnancy/106854-struggling-with-body-image-during-pregnancy/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/healthy-body-image-tips-pregnant-women-and-new-mothers

http://psychcentral.com/lib/body-dissatisfaction-and-pregnancy/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/body-image/pregnancy/

http://theshapeofamother.com

https://www.instagram.com/takebackpostpartum/?hl=en

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/honest-photo-series-postpartum-body-image-natalie-mccain_us_5613f358e4b0368a1a612953

http://thehonestbodyproject.com

Yours Truly, LeNae

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