In her most recent blog post on Heavenly Days, expectant mom Katherine Heigl touched on the battering your confidence can take during pregnancy, particularly in the early days when not many people know you’re having a baby.
“Those first trimester months were tough since only Josh, my mother and I knew about the pregnancy and anything too fitted made me look like I’d overindulged in twinkies and Big Macs and not at all like I was pregnant. It’s a rough phase on the ol’ self esteem, that first trimester,” Heigl wrote.
It’s something most pregnant women can relate to because contrary to what marketing people and various celebrity Instagram accounts would have us believe, that pregnancy “glow” isn’t a given. In fact, for many moms-to-be, it’s not so much a glow as a dark, looming cloud. Our hair gets greasy, our skin breaks out, our boobs give us backache and we basically just feel blah. (And that’s before the nausea, heartburn and restless leg syndrome even kicks in.)
If your hair is glossy, your nails are in the best condition ever and your skin is perfect, you’re going to feel pretty good about yourself. But if none of that is happening for you, it’s normal for your self-esteem to take a nosedive, regardless of how happy you are to be pregnant. And that’s the thing. You’re supposed to be on cloud nine, beaming from ear to ear, emitting waves of bliss from each (small, non-blocked, perfectly formed) pore and cooing over every small child you pass on the street. Everyone else is so freaking ecstatic that you are with child that you’re just a weirdo if you’re not sharing their joy.
Well, it’s perfectly possible to be delighted to be pregnant, but still think it completely sucks. Accepting that fact will, in itself, do wonders for your self-esteem. The female body may be designed to carry a child, but being pregnant is not a “normal” state by any stretch of the imagination, insofar as there’s nothing normal about swollen ankles, dry hands, your taste buds messing with your head and having to pee 20,000 times a day. At some point in the not-too-distant future, this will be nothing but a memory and your ankles, skin, taste buds and internal organs will return to normal.
Here are some other ways you can help boost your self-esteem during pregnancy:
- Instead of trying to take your mind off your changing body, immerse yourself in the experience. Download an online chart showing how your baby is growing each week to keep yourself focused on the hugely important (and completely amazing) job your body is doing to bring your child into the world.
- Try some positive affirmations whenever you’re feeling low (if this embarrasses the hell out of you, feel free to whisper them somewhere where nobody can hear you.) Something like, “I don’t like my body right now, but I’m still blown away by what it’s doing,” might help.
- Keep doing the things you love — whether that’s work or hobbies.
- Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Keep all Negative Nancys at bay.
- Pamper yourself: Get a relaxing pregnancy massage, treat yourself to a facial or splash out on some amazing maternity wear.
- Confide in people you trust. Friends who are moms (who don’t claim to be perfect) are ideal — they’ve been there and will totally understand how you feel.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.