Pregnancy Body Image And Expectant Mums

Pregnancy involves a range of issues, both physiological and emotional. Though complex, dealing with physical issues is very well understood. There are hormonal changes that have been thoroughly studied and medical technology is up to the task of maximizing the odds of a good outcome. Dealing with the psychological issues is less straight forward, but just as important.

One of those results from the simple and obvious physical change - a woman's body becomes larger and rounded as the baby increases in size. Weight gain and the space occupied produce a familiar shape. Attitudes over the centuries have evolved, with contemporary views very mixed.

Change Is Celebrated, As A Sign Of Life

Among some, that change is celebrated, even venerated. It's taken as a sign of life, something to be cheered. Unfortunately, others may - while recognizing its inevitability - regard that change as, at best, a 'necessary evil' of sorts.

The problem, when it is a problem, can be increased - often unwittingly - when a partner makes comments that are interpreted negatively. Sometimes those are interpreted accurately, other times they may be distortions exaggerated by natural hormonal changes. In either case, thinking about attitudes can help one approach the issue more rationally. Knowing what to expect and thinking about possible strategies for addressing it is half the battle.

Self-image / self-esteem

In general, women with a positive self-image before pregnancy will retain it throughout. But weaknesses in self-esteem, basing it on the wrong foundation, can be exposed during times of radical change, such as pregnancy. That is often found where a woman has attached significance to her appearance to the point of resting her self-esteem on her looks. As those looks change, self-esteem can be affected.

emotional rollercoaster

One way to deal with the emotional rollercoaster that comes with changing hormones, restricted physical capacity and a changing body shape is to focus firmly on the positive.

a sense of awe

Most mothers report a sense of awe when babies start to move, and rightly so. Reproduction is one of the most astounding facts of human existence. The movement and sounds that fetuses generate are signs of a healthy new life coming into being. Being fully conscious of those events provides opportunities to put marks on the 'great!' side of the ledger. That helps balance out the 'not so great' side.

Another helpful technique, one oriented toward dealing with remarks from others, involves taking them in context. An old saying is 'consider the source', and it contains wisdom. If a machine were to make a rude comment, anyone would dismiss it. When faced with comments made by some people, the same response is warranted. In other cases, it's beneficial to regard some as well-meaning, if perhaps ill-educated. It doesn't pay to put too much weight on comments from such people or events.

In the final analysis, a pregnant woman is creating a new life through a process that is sometimes difficult at best. Focusing on the outcome, recognizing that even the unpleasant aspects are short-lived and retaining awareness of solid values will maximize the positive aspects of the experience.

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