Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Body image issues: They're not just for teens anymore

I’ve never really had a good body image. At least not in real-time. For example, when I was in high school, I thought I was a fat lard ass (I wasn’t). Now, when I look back on pictures from my junior and senior years, I can’t help but wonder what the hell I was thinking back then. I looked hot! I was in the best shape of my life, I had a cute figure, and I was skinny. I was probably about four sizes smaller than my pre-pregnancy size. Over the past seven or eight years, I’ve put on some pounds (some of them, admittedly, were needed – I was too skinny for my own good back then – but most of them were excess), gained some curves, and overall taken on a more “adult” shape. I confess I was not a fan of my body even six or seven months ago – mostly for the reasons of huge thighs, too much extra poundage, a paunchy tummy, and an ass that sticks out too far (on a side note, I can’t do anything about my ass because it’s caused by a spine that curves in too far…but that doesn’t stop it from bothering me) – but that was nothing compared to the disdain I feel toward my body now.

I truly dislike what pregnancy has done to my “figure”. I absolutely hate looking at myself, and avoid mirrors at all costs, especially full-length ones, or any of them when I’m not clothed. I hate my gut, which isn’t even that big yet (and really didn’t even appear until 21 or 22 weeks). I hate that my boobs, though pleasantly full, are already getting kinda saggy. I also hate that my thighs look like they’ve gotten even bigger (despite the fact that I haven’t really gained much weight), and that I have awful cankles and elephant feet. Add in the additional acne and the extra body hair, and you have one gross looking mother-to-be. The sad thing is, I know it’s only going to get much worse in the upcoming months.

Objectively, I know I don’t look that bad, and I’m actually in the cute pregnant stage. My belly isn’t super huge yet, but I definitely look pregnant. No one else really notices the bigger thighs, cankles, extra zits or surplus body hair. And B loves me pregnant. He finds me super sexy right now. Weirdo. None of that matters, though. I can’t convince my subjective mind that I don’t look that bad, and *gasp* I might even look cute. All I see when I look in the mirror is an ugly fattypants.

I admire women like my friend Stacey (who just had her baby tonight!) who seem to embrace their pregnant bodies. As an example, she’s been brave enough to chronicle her weight gain in her blog. Granted, she started out as a stick, and weighed (significantly) less at 36 weeks than I did before I got pregnant, but I find it admirable that she’s done that. I’m embarrassed by the weight I started at, and there’s no way in hell anyone (other than me or my OB) is going to find out what the scale says at 36 weeks, or any other weeks, for that matter. I don’t mind sharing how much I’ve gained (seven-ish pounds so far), but the actual number will remain secret.

I keep trying to embrace my pregnant self, but it’s just not working. I suppose I’ll just keep hating on my body for the next few months. Once this baby gets done ravaging my body, I know I’ll look back on me as I look now (and as I looked before I got pregnant) and think I looked fantastic compared to the end result. That’s really not much comfort.

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