WELL-BEING: Battling Self-Esteem Lows During Pregnancy | ShesIt

The First Time Is Never Easy

 

Pregnancy is depicted to be an amazing time with wonderful changes. Our bodies change into a baby making machine that we are expected to love and enjoy. I do not feel like this.

 

I am pregnant with my first and I am finding my self-esteem at an all-time low. I have always had some self-image issues but now has reached a new low.

 

I am jealous of the women who love being pregnant. Despite the popular belief that pregnancy gives women a renewed sense of self-esteem, a lot of women feel quite the opposite. Our rapidly changing bodies, the crazy influx of hormones and the new limitations we are told to abide by can really hurt our self-image.

 

I am used to exercising at a high level of intensity most days of the week. This routine helps keep my self-image healthy. Being pregnant, I am struggling to exercise at the same level of intensity or some days at all.

 

I have gone from jogging several miles, using the elliptical for 45 minutes and weight lifting to getting out of breath on just a walk. This has really caused my self-esteem to plummet. My doctor ensures me that the exercise I am doing is perfect for my health and the baby’s but I can’t seem to believe her. It doesn’t feel like enough.

 

Logically I know that the changes that my body are going through are normal, such as the new stretch marks that seem to develop overnight, the larger bra size and clothes not fitting right. Emotionally they do not feel normal. Logically I know all these changes are well worth it and there is a very good reason why my body is changing so rapidly. However, my emotional state can’t seem to catch up with my body that seems to get larger every day.

 

Emotionally I believe that after giving birth my body will magically morph back into its normal state. Logically I know that isn’t true. The body can take months, years, or maybe never go back to what it was before pregnancy. This is hard to realize and cope with as well once you have given birth.

 

Learning to cope with all these new feelings and changes are hard. I am still learning how to deal with them. Pregnancy does not last forever so here are some coping mechanisms to work on for the time being:

 

Focus on why your body is changing. All of this is to help your baby grow and develop.

 

Try a prenatal massage. Massages have shown to relieve stress and anxiety.

 

Try prenatal yoga. This will help you focus more on the link between your mind and body rather than the way your body looks.

 

Ditch the scale. Don’t step on the scale every week to see how much the numbers go up. Check in with your doctor each visit to ensure your weight gain is on track and you are not gaining too much.

 

Regular physical activity and exercise. Staying active and exercising will help you feel better and will also help you get back into a regular exercise regimen post-pregnancy.

 

Learn all you can about being pregnant. This will help you know what changes to expect and the emotions that will come from those changes.

 

Express your feeling. Be sure to talk with people such as your partner, family, friends, or support group. Bottling up emotions will only make feelings worse.

 

Keep doing things you love. Do hobbies and activities you enjoy to keep a healthy state of mind and a sense a normalcy.

 

Stay focused on eating healthy. This will help you feel better and provide your growing baby with the proper nutrients.

 

Seek medical attention. If you feel like you can’t manage these feelings alone, seek a medical professional to help. There is no shame or anything wrong with seeking out someone to help. There are connections to low self-esteem during pregnancy and postpartum depression. Seeking medical attention early may help lessen or prevent postpartum depression.

 

Keeping a balance between eating healthy during pregnancy and exercising regularly can be a struggle. I have learned to come to terms with having self-esteem issues while pregnant and that I am not alone in these feelings. I will continue to work on improving my self-esteem and I hope you do as well. All these changes are things to celebrate.

 

Emily

Emily Wren has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a background working in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and wellness coaching. She loves hiking, exploring new destinations, running and being with her family. She also has a passion for writing and helping others become the best versions of themselves!