You’ve probably heard people talk about a “pregnancy glow.” But if you’re like me, maybe you don’t always feel terribly glowy or attractive or anything but BIG during pregnancy. Both physically and emotionally, pregnancy can be tough that way. So today’s post is on how to look good pregnant and get that “pregnancy glow.” Because really, who doesn’t want THAT secret? 😉
But I’m going to be real. It can be hard to look in the mirror and jump for joy when you’re pregnant. (Actually, it can be hard to jump for any reason without peeing your pants when you’re pregnant. But you know what I mean.)
It’s discouraging to suddenly see your waistline disappear completely. It’s tough to see your fingers and feet swell up to sausagey proportions that make all thoughts of rings or shoes that aren’t flip flops sound like a joke. It can be frustrating to see pictures of pregnant celebrities who look like supermodels with a basketball tucked under their shirt and then feel like rather than having a cute bump, you have instead BECOME a bump. Some days, I feel like this guy:
Yet at the same time, if you’re like me, you’re ashamed of these feelings. You know what a blessing and miracle it is to be pregnant. There are women out there who would give their right arm for your sausagey fingers. You’re thrilled about having a baby, but less thrilled about this new version of you that is larger than you’ve ever seen yourself before. And so you end up feeling not only ugly and fat but guilty too—a pretty miserable trifecta of emotions.
I wish I could tell you how to banish swelling, stretch marks, and anything else that has you down. The bad news: I can’t. But the good news? You don’t need anything like that.
The real secret to looking good while pregnant is BELIEVING you look amazing and then carrying yourself accordingly. If that sounds too good or simple to be true, I dare you: try it out and see what happens. 🙂 I’m pretty sure that glow = confidence. So if you can figure out how to stay confident about yourself and your body while pregnant, you’ve got it made.
Today I’m going to share five things that help me keep my head in the right place. These five things help me carry myself with confidence, stay body positive, and see myself as pretty even on my most sausage-fingery, non-glowy days.
1. Ignore dumb comments from others.
During my first pregnancy, I had to go back to my old high school to drop something off for my job. As I waddled down the hallway, from behind me I heard a teenage girl giggle and then whisper to her friends, “Oh my gosh! I hope I’m not that huge whenever I’m pregnant!” I totally cried once I got back to my car. I let it ruin my day and replayed the scene over and over in my head the rest of that pregnancy. I let it get to me, and if you look at pics from that first pregnancy, it shows.
In my second and current pregnancy, I’ve done better this way. Thankfully too, I haven’t heard anyone be as outright mean in their comments. But you always, always have the insensitive, oblivious weirdos at the store who make comments like, “Are you sure you aren’t due today?” “Got twins in there?” “You look ready to pop!”
You know what you should do when that happens? Flat-out ignore it. Totally disregard anyone who feels the need to comment on your size. Forget about whatever crap they said on the spot. That person is either not thinking, or more likely, is insecure about his or her own weight or appearance. Most snarky, unkind comments come from people who don’t feel good about themselves. Haters gonna hate. So whenever you are at the receiving end of unwanted commentary on your appearance, take it as 100% a reflection on the giver of the comment, not on you.
But What About Compliments?
But what about positive comments? You shouldn’t hinge your self-esteem on what others think, obviously. But I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with graciously accepting compliments and letting yourself feel happy when they come. This pregnancy, actually, people have been insanely nice to me this way. Last week I posted a pic of myself on day 1 of my third trimester and was overwhelmed by how kind people’s comments were.
That’s both nice of people and kind of funny. Why? Well, my doctor has given me the heads-up at my past few appointments that my uterus is measuring about a month ahead of average (not a health concern in his view, but still). My weight gain and my baby’s measurements are on track, but apparently I just have a super huge uterus. So the truth is that I am in fact abnormally BIG for my 28 weeks! But when someone says something nice to me, I don’t feel the need to explain to them that I’m actually not cute or tiny or pretty or whatever because my doctor said so. I just smile and say thanks.
2. Keep track of your baby’s development week by week.
For me, it’s helpful to constantly remember WHY I am getting bigger. I’m having a BABY! And the more specific I get, the better. Find a week-by-week pregnancy tracking app or hit a site like BabyCenter or What to Expect that tells you how your baby is growing each week. It’s nice for me to be able to think, “Wow! My baby gained 4 ounces this week, is as big as an ear of corn, and now has enough hearing to distinguish MY voice from other sounds!” instead of solely thinking about the number on the scale.
These specific details about how miraculously my little one is growing helps keep my head in the right place. Plus, how crazy-amazing is it to think that your body is currently growing another human being?! That is both something to be amazed by and proud of. Getting bigger is totally worth it for a sweet little baby, and reading specific weekly updates about my baby’s development helps me to remember this AND appreciate all that my body is capable of.
3. Buy cute maternity clothes.
This sounds shallow, but my experience is that on days when I’m dressed in something I like and have spent as much time on my hair and makeup as I did pre-pregnancy, I’m a lot more able to stay body positive. I spent most of my first two pregnancies schlepping around makeupless and unshowered in my husband’s old clothes. I’m huge anyway, I remember thinking. Why bother? As a result, I felt pretty frumpy and awful most of the time. Anyone who lived in their husband’s baggy old things would feel that way after long enough!
But dressing up a bit sends a powerful message, both to yourself and others. When I take the time on myself to put together a cute outfit, I’m essentially telling myself, “Yeah, I’m worth the effort.” And that self-affirmation radiates out and lets everyone else know that you still think you’re gorgeous.
4. Work out.
Exercise is powerful. Remember what Elle Woods has to say about exercise in Legally Blonde? Well, in addition to helping you not kill your husband, endorphins can help your confidence too. Simply working up a sweat, in whatever way is safe and fun for you during pregnancy, feels good. Personally, I know workouts keep my outlook on not just my body but life in general more sunny.
As an added bonus, working out regularly can keep your pregnancy weight gain in check. Now, let me be clear: you can and should feel confident at any weight. But it’s just the truth that the farther you get from your pre-pregnancy weight, the tougher it may be mentally to stay body positive.
Every healthy pregnant woman needs to gain some weight and will therefore get bigger. But working out regularly can help stave off excessive pregnancy gain along with the benefit of simply helping you feel good. If you’re curious about how to get in safe but effective pregnancy workouts, check out my list of the 6 Best Pregnancy Workout DVDs as well as my post on Pregnancy Cardio.
5. Last of all, remember that you are your own worst critic.
You may look in the mirror and be horrified at what you see, but guess what? Your opinions aren’t fact. Especially if body image is something you’ve struggled with in the past, keep an open mind and consider that your view of yourself may be pretty distorted.
You may be less sure, but trust me. Others probably look at you and see a gorgeous, glowing, lovely mama-to-be—not whatever you’ve decided in your head that you more closely resemble. They’re looking at you and wondering how YOU figured the whole pregnancy glow thing out so flawlessly.
So be kind to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are! Keep your chin up and your confidence high. Remember that your attitude is what will make you the ultimate gorgeous and “glowy” pregnant person.
How do you stay body positive when you’re pregnant? Comment away!