Being Pregnant is Beautiful - It Does Not = FatHannah Chow |12, April 2015
More than some women are willing to admit, getting fat during pregnancy is terrifying. Let's face the facts; women that start pregnancy at 110 pounds and only gain 20 pounds by the end of full term are few and far between. Is there such a thing as "all belly?" Okay, so maybe you don't have freakishly amazing genes helping you avoid excess pregnancy weight gain, stretch marks, and third trimester swelling. So what? What truly makes pregnancy beautiful? Why do so many people rave about that "pregnancy glow?"
Dr. Jessica Zucker discusses maternal self-esteem and post-partum happiness in an article with PBS News. "Pregnancy may awaken previously untouched, powerful feelings about self-worth, body image, and familial relationships," she says, "Parents are created not born" ... "When we parent from the inside out, we benefit enormously by establishing self-esteem that is tenacious and authentic." In a sense, pregnancy and motherhood helps develop women's self-esteem and that is a beautiful thing.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, "pregnancy glow is one of the physiological changes many women look forward to while they are pregnant. The pregnancy glow is one of the skin changes that is caused by the changes and increase of hormones during pregnancy." Expectant mothers have a fifty percent increase in blood flow during pregnancy. The increase brings blood to the skin and provides a luminous glow. Also, keep in mind, one simple smile does a lot for a woman's features. Practice smiling more. Audrey Hepburn said in an interview once, "Happiest girls are the prettiest?" Do you believe that? Studies have shown that smiling actually reduces stress, changes your mood, and makes someone more attractive. Try smiling at your pregnant self in the mirror opposed to grimacing. You never know, you might be able to change your subconscious psyche on how you feel about pregnancy bellies and weight gain.
Getting Over the Fear: Loving Your Body for What It's Intended For
Jenny Sugar, mother of two, wrote an article featured in Shape magazine. "I was scared of getting fat," she says, "As I got further along in my pregnancy, though, I was angry at other mothers. Why didn't anyone tell me that your belly isn't the only thing that grows?" Throughout both of Jenny's pregnancies she describes how having children made her learn a very valuable life lesson; while she was fearful of gaining weight, her pregnancies actually helped her overcome her fear of being fat. "I no longer see my body for its flaws, but for its amazing abilities" ... "things are definitely not proportioned as they were, but every time I hear one of my children giggle or look down to see my stretch marks, I love my body a little more."
Using your body as a sacrificial vessel to carry life is a loving, selfless act and that's what makes pregnancy beautiful. The miracle of growing a child from a small cell to a precious bundle of joy is a huge accomplishment. Pregnancy makes women beautiful because it gives them life, twice the amount of what they may have had before. A once somber, grayish aura evolves to an overabundance of rainbow hues in a few short weeks. How miraculous is that?
Embrace the Changes, All of Them
Pregnancy is beautiful on any woman at any age, as long as they are happy with having the child. For those that follow standard hygiene rules like brushing your hair and washing your clothes, pregnancy doesn't have to turn you into a lesser version of yourself. Doctors recommend women continuing everything they were doing before, obviously including showering daily and excluding recreational drug or alcohol use. Probably the biggest change over nine months is a woman's figure. However, eating for two is an old school way of thinking. As long as you are only increasing caloric intake by 300 calories a day, you and your baby will be healthy and happy. 25 to 45 pounds gained during 40 weeks will come off at some point. Body weight and fat content is not a lifelong permanence. Having a beautiful, bright, adorable baby boy or girl is permanent. Temporary weight gain for permanent joy is a fair trade off.
Remember, women's bodies were made to do this. The body is a powerful machine and meant to be seen that way. Giving life is powerful. Many women believe that having children is the best thing that ever happened to them. Rarely are stories heard like, 'Wow. I wish I didn't have my children because they made me fat.' A typical response to what motherhood is like would be, 'My kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.' No mention of weight gain, stretch marks, or pregnancy blues. After the fact, life will go back to normal in some ways, and life will be changed for the better in some ways. Remember, pregnancy is beautiful; motherhood is beautiful; you are beautiful.
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