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Lyfe Pregnancy Thinking Out Loud Tough Talk

Dealing with Negative Pregnancy Body Image and Comparison (BeYOUtiful Revisited)

Painful admittion: I had a major moment of negative pregnancy body image last week.

About 2 weeks ago, I posted about the Handful and Momentum BeYoutiful Body Positivity and Self Love Campaign on the blog and on instagram. Baring my soul and (just about) it all. I wholeheartedly meant every word that I said: that being pregnant had changed my “permission settings” when it comes to my body. 

But that doesn’t mean that I am not exempt from unwelcome moments of self doubt and body imagine negativity. 

Dealing with Negative Pregnancy Body Image Moments. Remembering thet your journey is yours alone! #beyoutiful #pregnancy #selflove @suzlyfe

Since announcing my more relaxed schedule (well, I started to do this a bit before the announcement, but I’ve made an earnest and concerted effort since), I’ve tried to purge out the riffraff from my social accounts. Getting rid of people that I followed because they followed me, or because I thought that I should. As a result, though I am still scrolling through and being like, yeah, don’t care, those “don’t care” moments are MUCH fewer and farther between.

But I still get caught by inoccuous comments/posts/reposts.

Shape Magazine posted something on IG that, for many, may be really empowering: a woman standing up to body-shamers becaus she is 25 weeks pregnant and basically looks like me after a date with Alex at Tarascas before I got pregnant. Basically, a little itty bitty bump. Here is the post.

And I looked down at my Yoshi bump, and I immediately got self conscious about it. On the one hand, I was happy that this woman was standing up for the “little bumps” out there–we know you exist and we love you!–but the post also made me feel incredibly… not just self conscious, but body negative. Which wasn’t the intention, but it was the effect. 

I clicked on the woman’s profile (because why not tenderize that wound with tons more salt, right? Hell, I’ll salt cure it for the winter), and I was greeted with more of the same. And for the next 15-30 minutes, as well as about an hour later, I found myself looking at my Yoshi-bump and questioning the size, the weight, the appearance. 

Basically, I started comparing myself to her as if she was the standard, and I started taking away my self-granted permission to love myself, my journey, my belly. I wasn’t lying for a second when I said that I love my bump, I love my pregnancy, I love the fact that I’m popping and bumpin and that it is obvious. I am waaaaay past the “awkwardly pudgy” stage, and it makes me so happy. 

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into the painful comparison trap. Comparing myself to others who are the same number of weeks in, or just a few ahead or behind me. Others that are still running, or that bumping more or less. Or feeling more or fewer baby kicks.

You don't need anyone's permission to love yourself. @suzlyfe #handfulactivewear #momentumjewelry #beYOUtiful

Every body is unique. Every body’s journey is unique and beautiful and special. Just because my bump already gets in the way of me tying my shoes doesn’t mean ANYTHING. That is just where I am, and how Yoshi is growing. 

I put on a lot of weight quickly in this pregnancy (probably part of the reason for my stress fracture) without getting a major bump. My body was like WHAT? HORMONES?!?!?!?!! and placed weight all over. Then my weight gain slowed down, and instead my bump grew. Kind of like a kid packing on pounds and then growing like crazy. That is just my pattern, my journey, my growth. My belly is going through a major growth spurt right now. WHY ON EARTH SHOULD THAT BOTHER ME FOR A SECOND.

But, as in most things in life, when we finally get what we want… we think OH SH**. Then (hopefully) we get over ourselves.

Bring on the long-ass maternity shirts (especially when you are crutching with a backpack and it is cold–otherwise, draft town and am I not talking about the NFL). Bring on the fact that I get ENORMOUS after I eat dinner or have a glass of water (seriously, I grow inches). 

Because I am pregnant. That is AWESOME. GROW YOSHI GROW. But don’t grow too much. I don’t want to push a 10 lb’er out. So grow with discretion.

I love you, Yosh. I love you, body. Thank you for supporting this adventure.

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  • Reply Sarah Dudek

    My first pregnancy, was awesome. I didn’t gain a lot and everyone was always telling me that. Then my second pregnancy I felt a ton of pressure to do the same. And guess what? I craved carbs in a terrible way from the start and it freaked me out! I felt pressure to run a ton, especially because I was coaching so many people. I had to relax and realize that a lot of it was in my head. It doesn’t end after the baby arrives either. Your body changes, and for awhile. The scale says I’m back to where I was before baby, but the mirror calls the scale a liar. Being a mom changes so many things and it is so important to love yourself. It’s not always easy, but it is a great thing to learn.

    October 31, 2017 at 6:49 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That damn scale. That damn mirror. Why do we need them so much! You ahve two beautiful babies, and you’ve had two beautiful pregnancies. Why shouldn’t they be different? Why do we try to force them to be the same?

      November 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm
  • Reply Liz

    Beautifully said my friend and you are just glowing! You do you and are just a shining light inside and out! Love you my sweet friend.

    October 31, 2017 at 8:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Love love love you right back. YOU are a shining light!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Lindsay Cotter

    As someone who has dealt with health issues and putting on weight, I understand where you are coming from. When you finally get what you want and it feels foreign and you freak. But you my friend, are growing through so much, yes growing. ANd the weight is more precious than gold. You look AMAZING!

    October 31, 2017 at 8:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That truly is it: you get what you want and freak, and it isn’t that you didnt’ want it, it is just feels FOREIGN. Like an alien body. OR being stuck in a foreign land.

      November 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Emily Swanson

    Your body is supporting and growing an AMAZING work of God. It’s so wonderful, and I love that you posted this and shared the struggles. It’s so hard even though I’m not pregnant to not compare my body to someone who is smaller or looks ‘prettier’ in my opinion, but it is so true that you are and I am so uniquely designed and created. You are doing something that is absolutely beautiful, and I am so thankful for you and little Yoshi and Alex.

    October 31, 2017 at 9:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that being pregnant has been more healing for me than just about anything. That’s why I was so frustrated with this moment of weakness!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Erica A.

    I look more pregnant than that woman does every single day. I’m not sure what Shape was going for with that. You (and Yoshi) are beautiful and healthy and amazing. That is all!

    October 31, 2017 at 11:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think the message was well intended, but I think it was a bit misguided. Love you!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    You look fabulous! and I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother!

    So, let’s be honest here–you and I are built a lot alike, we aren’t tall and we have medium size bones but on a smallish frame. We appear (I appeared) to carry more pregnancy weight that some friends might, only because in comparason, we are a lot shorter and have smaller bones.
    Then I had a 9 plus pound first born and you were 8 1/2 lbs and 3 weeks early!
    My mom was 5 foot 2, on a good day, and I weighed 10 pounds and was born on my due date. Your dad also weighed 10 pounds. You will have a big baby b/c of those lovely genes you’ve inherited. Plus, big babies don’t look as fragile as a delicate 5 pounder!

    You can still tie your shoes, and that is a plus! Imagine trying to wresle on a pair of panythose over a beachball belly. It was not pretty, but at least my high heels didn’t have to be tied!
    You will get back to the point where you can tie your shoes, you might even be able to SEE them, but you won’t care by then because you will be too tired or you’ll just pull on your boots. Who needs shoelaces anyway?

    In about 2 1/2 months, you will be sitting criss/cross/applesauce on the floor and your will realize that you are holding your baby in your lap……and she is still inside of you!

    October 31, 2017 at 11:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m so excited. SO EXCITED>
      Also, I will never figure out how your mom carried a 10 lb baby. Insane.

      November 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm
  • Reply Deborah Brooks

    I had not seen that Shape post before but just looked at it. I’m not sure they are helping by posting that and that woman is certainly not the norm of pregnant women. We all compare ourselves to others as much as we wish we did not. It’s just the way it is. All pregnant women are beautiful no matter their size (in my opinion). I am kind of glad that social media did not exist when I was pregnant 20 years ago. Hang in there girl and keep being you!

    October 31, 2017 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree with you–pregnancy is beautiful and such a blessing. I’m scared of what will be around when my daughter tries to get preg!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm
  • Reply Kat

    Thank you for sharing this open and honest moment with us. Pregnancy weight [among other issues] is something that I fear whole-heartedly, so it’s nice to hear your thoughts about your struggles with it. It’s also nice to know I’m not alone [or crazy!] in my fears.
    Regardless, you are so beautiful and strong, not to mention your belly is the cutest thing ever. Seriously I’m going to look like a freakin beached whale [no really – I’ve seen my mom’s pregnancy photos! 😉 ] but I guess the important thing is to remember the end result – meaning BABY!! 🙂 <3

    October 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      ANd a happy and healthy baby! and a happy and healthy mommy!
      On whether or not you will look like your mom–my pregnancy is TOTALLY different from my mother’s. Maybe you will look like a dolphin 😀
      And I promise you–when you discover you are pregnant, you will have a few weeks of feeling “off” about it, but there will be that day that you realize that non of those other thoughts mean a damn thing.

      November 9, 2017 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Sarah Rosenblatt

    Don’t beat yourself up for forgetting your own beYOUtiful advice and falling into the body negativity doldrums – you’re only human! We’ve all been there (body stuff, not preggers stuff, obviously). Your body is going through so many changes, it only makes sense that you’ll have good days and bad (but of course we all hope the good outnumber the bad!). I’m glad you had the hindsight and strength to post about this, and I hope talking it out helps! Sending you lots of love, my dear.

    October 31, 2017 at 2:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Always love back to you! SOmetimes we need those moments of weakness to remind us that we really are strong!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm
  • Reply Laura

    One thing that pops into my mind with a photo like that Instagram post is that you know she’s probably a master of camera angles and lighting. Who knows how she looks in real life! Every woman looks different during pregnancy – and no matter what, baby bumps are adorable!

    October 31, 2017 at 6:42 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      My other question is… why would she be posturing to make her bump look smaller? But I totally agree

      November 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Wendy

    I gained a ton of weight in my first trimesters with both pregnancies. A body’s gotta do… and total weight gain in both pgs was 40#. Seriously. I didn’t overdo the food or anything. I won’t lie–i felt fat, but I also felt ok with the weight gain because I got to grow a baby. It’s all about perspective.

    October 31, 2017 at 7:56 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree! I feel great, I’m happy with me, I’m so happy with Yoshi, I was so unhappy that it effected me so.

      November 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Jess

    I’m not so sure that Shape got it right…anyway, #1 you’re beautiful! #2 if you ever want to feel good about your bump just scroll through my Insta. I totally ballooned quickly!!! I couldn’t fit my pants by the third month and my bump showed early and big!! And I’ve gained 20 pounds already. One part baby one part ice cream…all parts beautiful. 😉 I feel you though..:I’ve had my scrolling obsessions on Insta comparing myself and feeling ‘fat’ and wondering why ‘they’ haven’t gained weight but I have?? Or why can’t I run as far or fast at 31 weeks like that person?Every body is different. Mine likes to retain fluid no matter I do. But baby is healthy and growing strong!!!

    October 31, 2017 at 8:51 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You look amazing and I’m just glad that you feel amazing and are healthy. That is the number one best thing. But you look so strong!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    AS YOU KNOW – comparison is the thief of joy. I never compare myself to others… Which is why I think I am always so happy. And you should be SOOOO PROUD of your accomplishment and ENJOYYYYYY your belly. Not compare it to others! As that Instagram Post said – “WE ALL CARRY DIFFERENTLY”… I have to say, her stomach looks like mine after I eat ANYTHING so it’s slightly comical to me, but whatever… You have a beautiful little YOSHI in your stomach and all that matters is that the little babe and you are healthy 🙂

    November 1, 2017 at 8:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Preach to that lady. And the fact that I was getting so caught up in comparing myself when the very point of it was NOT to compare myself was infuriating to me!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Megan

    With all my hormone issues and weight issues that resulted from it, I completely relate. I am just grateful to be healthy these days. It’s so easy to focus on your image and not your health. You may look good on the outside but be completely unhealthy on the inside.

    November 1, 2017 at 8:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Right now, I am so much more focused on internal mental and physical health. The exterior will do what it will!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply Cora

    You, my friend, are beautiful. I’m fist bumping your bump <3

    November 1, 2017 at 8:51 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Beautifully written, your body is growing like it needs to for little Yoshi. It is to get caught up in what “should” be happening. With my first I gained a lot of weight between 3-4 months and freaked out a bit, but it leveled out over the course of my pregnancy.

    November 2, 2017 at 7:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      ANd I think I also had a lot of catching up to do–I started with NO hormones, after all!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply San

    I can only imagine (and not really) what a weird experience it must be when your body changes because you’re growing a human being in there… and no matter how it changes, I think the comparison game continues (as it continued before you were pregnant and probably after you popped out that Yo-she!)… I love your bump pictures, just for the record!

    November 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It never does end, does it? I’m having fun with e bump pics. I know i need mor!

      November 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply Alex

    Thank you for sharing this! This is such a real feeling that I know so many women have. I really appreciated this post!

    November 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for reading, Alex! I really appreciate your comment!

      November 9, 2017 at 11:32 am

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