Women are fed a lot of nonsense about how we should look, act and talk. We are filled with ideas and images, words and criticisms that speak to how we will fail, not how we will succeed. Women who are pregnant are fed a whole new slew of lies. We shouldn’t get stretch marks, we should look the same after the baby arrives, we shouldn’t be “too big” or “too small”.
Filled in this post are images of beautiful pregnant women. Beautiful and unedited women. Women who are carrying babies that are between 25-28 weeks, babies that came out in different ways. Babies that are first borns, siblings, planned, surprises and carried so well by their mamas. Beautiful bumps that are “too big” or “too small” but worked and grew babies that are Just Right.
These are the images that fight those lies.
Pregnancy is hard and growing so fast and changing so much can be a heavy weight to bear, let alone the words and comment s of strangers. The images of celebrities gaining very little weight, losing it all immediately and being back on a runways weeks postpartum do a lot to a woman who is feeling so out of sorts to start with.
Every body grows differently, shows differently and is working miraculously.
It isn’t just that I think I am fat because the girl on the magazine is thinner than me. I think I am fat because I am labeled “fat”, “abnormal” and “unhealthy” at the WIC office, the grocery store, the movie theatre and at nearly any get together with a group of women… Not to mention it starts young. Like, baby young. Barbies, television, telling toddlers to be careful how many cookies they eat, horrible one’sies that say “does this diaper make me look fat”, growth charting the crap out of every one and being concerned over ounces and needing to maintain “consistent but healthy” gain from day one on. In mothering your intuition and your bodies ability to work well is stomped on. In womanhood our bodies are labeled and given a worth based on numbers, jeans sizes and perceived “health” based on a number or by looking at you.
Healthy and normal looks different on everyone.
All of it is wrong.
Health is important. The most important. Taking care of your body, feeding it well, loving it well, making it strong and feeling strong in it. These are the feelings, images and goals that I am clinging too and aching to model for my girls. But pregnancy can do a number on you, especially if you have self esteem issues to start with. It begins innocently “wow, you look big for just 25 weeks!” or “really? 28 weeks? You are SO tiny!”. Women are doomed from the get go to feel like they are either too big or too small and this time it isn’t just our confidence in our bodies that gets undermined but our confidence in our ability to grow a healthy baby. An assault on our kids and how they grow (in us) before they even emerge!
Speaking truth, love and care for our bodies is not a gift, it is what we must be doing.
This needs fighting. Images of women who are pregnant and full and healthy are few and far between. Maternity wear tags make it look like you never gain weight anywhere but the bump and for many women this is from true. It also made me think I would never get “too” big. Just big enough to feel pregnant and cute, but never oafish and puffed up. The truth? I got big, I am big this time and I am tired of the “are you sure there is just one in there?” or “how much have you gained?” and my favorite “there is NO WAY you are only ____ weeks along!!”.
Seeing the miracle of the human body, not the flaws we are told are there because of the growth.
Thank you so much to the incredible and beautiful Mamas who shared their photos with me. Remember that awesome group I am a part of (and my various rockin’ mama Facebook friends)!? I am so blessed to see not only how magnificent the female body is and how incredibly well it can grow babies but also with the outpouring of support for this post. There is a movement happening… we are changing, giving new words to our bodies and hearts, growing up a tribe of babies that we will strive to love and enstil some serious self esteem in. I am so proud to be a part of this generation of Mamas.