Body Image & Sisterhood During Pregnancy

Here I am just about to enter the 6th month of pregnancy, and there’s so many wonderful things I want to share with my Edible Goddess community! I’m openly sharing what’s been true for me, and want to give all the amazing women who follow my work my honest perspective. These are 2 main issues that I have had the pleasure of really reflecting on since I haven’t been distracted by the physical nature of pregnancy (hallelujah!). Read more about my journey in the 1st blog of this series where I shared a great deal about this rise into motherhood!

This picture that I’m courageously sharing with you was taken yesterday – I’m just about into my 24th week. As part of my character, I really prefer to not have the spotlight on me, for eyes to be on moi, to be stared at… it makes me uncomfortable. But – hiding myself, and obvious aspects of this multi-layered journey does not serve me either. I’ve chosen to empower myself by sharing how my body is changing and hopefully it will come back to bless me in ways I cannot yet imagine. It’s wild that I cannot see half of my feet when I look down! 😳

6thMonthsPreg
SELF-IMAGE

If you have a lack of confidence in your body, it’s going to double / triple / quadruple in pregnancy. Self-image is an issue that is way under-discussed during this most precious time of our life, but a very real reality for (I’d dare say…) every woman. I’m sure 1 in a million escape this, but am doubtful.

I do not have a background of dysfunctional eating or eating disorders etc, so went into this physical transformation with a pretty solid healthy view of my body. I feel, and am: fit, sexy, strong, toned, defined, and womanly. No matter how much of this you are though, your body WILL plump up, and you’ll get ROUND, FULL, CURVY, THICK and you’ll FEEL HEAVY – your body adds 50% more blood and water during a short few months, and even if you’ve got muscles that are pronounced, they may very likely begin to lay deep beneath some layers, and even diminish.

There have been moments where I’ve felt some frustration like .. WTF (where the fuck) did my fit body go? Please for the sake of healthy exchange, don’t look at my picture and say “oh she’s perfect” or some other projection. This is ONE ANGLE of my body. Perspective my friends 🙂 And it’s my experience that I’m living. I love my body, and have had times of missing my tone. That’s all I’m saying. I’m suggesting that even with a healthy mindset, there may be at least a few hours of your entire 9-10 months where you sit in wonder like OMG…

This can be hard to see: no matter how much you have prioritized your exercise and working out – your body is going to get SOFT (everywhere), and it’s up to you to surrender into this sweet softness, roll around in it like a big squishy body pillow, and just enjoy the short ride. This too shall pass … so before you get upset at your body, or think you’re not doing enough – take a moment to realize that your body holds great intelligence and knows what to do. You must have faith! Have faith in the expansion, it’s necessary.

I’m going to be really honest here: if you want thinner, stronger thighs, or a more lean body with better posture – do it NOW before you get pregnant. Just trust me, okay? Love your body before you begin growing another one inside of you. Be happy when you look in the mirror, or it WILL come back to haunt you. I am blessed to have a great peace and sincere love + appreciation with my bod, but every woman has *something* she’d like to improve. Just get as close to your happy ideal state as you desire, so it’s an easier ride for yourself.

There may be moments in pregnancy where you’re like “What the f*ck is happening to my body!!?” 😉 For real. I showed little signs of being preggo, and kept my trim petite body for a few months and then it felt like it all changed overnight once I embarked on the 5th month. Changes became distinct then. I looked down on my body in the bath and was in awe of how my belly was now sticking well above the water as I lay back and relaxed. Subtle shifts happened earlier, but none that were noticeable to anyone who didn’t know me. It’s not uncommon to gain weight whether you’re eating more or not.

I’d say another noticeable thing for me was the feeling that I cannot bend over forward like usual! There’s a belly the size of a basketball in the way, and I now have to squat down with my legs apart. It feels bulky. Adjustments… seemingly small perhaps, but things are different when it’s your own body. It’s being taken over, no doubt (and what a blessing, fortune, and gift!). You may also plop down on the couch and be way less graceful at getting up, down, and around. LAUGH your way thru it…

BTW – You are creating a masterpiece, and every ounce of nutrition your put into your body is literally building your child, and our next generation. (no pressure LOL)

It’s important to realize that these physical changes are temporary. We as the fertile women of our beautiful world, are part of an exclusive club. We get the privilege to conceive new life, to hold that being within our sacred temple, and to birth literally the most precious thing we all know to be true – LIFE.

WOMEN

SISTERHOOD

Your friends (or spirit family as I call them) may or may not know how to relate to you. Some friends may show up like never before as your cheerleaders & pom squad and it will mean the WORLD to you. They are there for when you have the waves of emotion, overwhelm, profound realizations and downloads. Pregnancy is like a big WAVE of unfolding… and surrendering into the unknown. We need to know that our friends care about us during this time. Your sista’s will contribute to your experience in such a way that you may feel you couldn’t have done it without them.

There will be others friends (perhaps, but not inevitably) that distance themselves intentionally OR unintentionally as they are not so keenly aware of the amount of support a woman during this time may need. I say need not like as in a neediness, but as in that yearning for real friendship, true sisterhood, a sincere bonding connection. With this kind of bond, you can open up about the nitty gritty: sex during pregnancy, your fears about the birthing process, and even the choices you chose to make that lead you to where you are today – ALL WITHOUT JUDGMENT, projected opinions, or it being held against you.

This is the pinnacle of the most magical time in your life, and as for me, I sure want to relish in this celebration with my gal (and guy) pals — that feeling of real camaraderie + community! Tis the best.

It hurts tremendously when there is an experience that demonstrates a lack of support or presence. I’d say it could just be me being extra sensitive, but HELLO – it’s a hormonal time and all of us goddesses who are pregnant are more sensitive! You can feeeeeel the stress of this physiologically IN your body as unrest, uneasy nerves, queasiness, and being unsettled. You have to detach from this and allow everyone on their path to do as they need so that you can be at your highest during this significant time. Discover the friends you can count on, who are EXCITED for you, who get all happy to see you evolving in such a rapid manner… for it is truly a brief time, and will pass quickly.

Pregnancy is already all about surrender, so let go and release any attachment you have of how others surrounding you should act, what they should say, and how they should treat you. There are times that are hard – even though pregnancy is a celebration – this is a RITE OF PASSAGE like no other. There is confusion, disappointment, exhilaration, wholeness, and joy.

Just prepare for anything as you cannot predict others feelings and behaviors, and it’s a more sensitive and vulnerable time. When I announced my pregnancy publicly, I had people come out of the woodwork from my childhood, high school, old friends, old colleagues, and people who subscribe to the Edible Goddess newsletter. It took me an ENTIRE WEEK to respond to all the emails I received – the wonderful messages – it’s so very special to have people that I have positively influenced come around to rejoice and relish in this goodness with me. Quite honestly, it blew me away!

There have been just a very few people that are close to me that I have not heard from, or who have not been present in this journey with me (1 friend, 1 client, 1 sister – all long-term relationships). As challenging as this was initially, I’ve come to accept this (mostly) & am at peace with how things are unfolding. It’s fine if people prefer not to be a part of this journey with me (or yours).

Sure, people are busy with their own lives… we all know that. There IS something about being pregnant though where you’re like – Don’t they know what the heck I’m going through!!? No, they don’t. In fact they have no idea unless they’ve been pregnant.

I’ve primarily chosen to share this because now that I am here at this point in my life, I recognize that I may not have been the best friend that I could have been to the couple friends of mine in the past who were pregnant. For me, it was like – oh! They’re pregnant! Yippee!! Send them a little something of acknowledgement in the mail (or not) and then ask them not often enough how they’re doing. How are you feeling? This IS the biggest thing that you’ll ever live through – what is it like to be creating life.. do you feel joy, pressure, or a whirlwind of emotions? We don’t know we’re thinking of each other until we tell each other we are.

My curiosity was not deep enough and I wish that wasn’t the truth. They then have their beautiful baby and I’m less connected to them because they’re on a different track in life than I am (until now). I’ve been making amends to my sisters who I feel I should have shown more support, love, and encouragement – even if they weren’t my most closest friends on the planet. We are SISTERS, and this is an INTENSE 9 months. We should unite and hold each other high!

This is sisterhood – we have each other backs, and say HEY – I’m thinking about you. What is coming up for you? If it’s been easy – how… why do you think? What are your reflections on the choices you’ve made? If it’s been a hard pregnancy for them, inquire how you can help (even by having a weekly catch-up phone call). There a great bond that can form here.

In addition to my girl friends and superhero guy friends, I am more supported by the man I cherish more than anything: Mark has been the (fun, silly, playful) ROCK that has kept me so solid in every aspect of this transformation. It really is a time for you and your beloved, and the most important component of pregnancy in my opinion is having the opportunity to bond and connect with your co-creator of this miracle! It’s the most special relationship I can conceive of and it brings me to tears thinking about how lucky we both are! Thanking our lucky stars for aligning us together

Mark+EG

 



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About Bethanne Wanamaker

Bethanne Wanamaker is a certified holistic nutritionist, conscious living expert, and the founder of Edible Goddess, an international health & lifestyle brand that cares deeply about your empowerment. She teaches progressive strategies that awaken you to your highest potential by following the body's inherent wisdom and aligning with an intentional mindset, holistic approach, self nourishing practices, and high self value. Bethanne advocates gradual yet significant shifts of upgraded dietary choices that ultimately lead you to the freedom and confidence of eating intuitively. By living in harmony with nature, you can have what you want. Bethanne is known for getting results quickly with committed clients who want to live a wildly rewarding, super fun, truly healthy and happy life! Her specialty is working with entrepreneurs, success coaches, and women who desire to prepare for an easy, supremely healthy and happy pregnancy, and postpartum experience.