You’ll have to excuse my absence from the blog all last week. Ben’s parents were visiting from Seattle so I decided to check out from my day-to-day responsibilities and just be present with the ‘ohana.
Needless to say, it was wonderful having them here for a week and both Ben and I are missing them terribly already. Lucky for us they’ll be back soon after the baby’s arrival, so the wait won’t be too long this time around.
One thing I really missed writing last week was my 24 week Healthy + Hapai post. I’ve really come to enjoy writing those updates – it really helps me to be able to share my thoughts and experiences, and I just know that when I look back on this journey I’ll be glad I kept a written log with photos.
Tomorrow I make 25 weeks so I’ll be posting a 24/25 week update shortly, but today I want to address a topic I’ve been struggling with while it’s still so fresh in my mind:
Feeling Beautiful While Hapai.
[warning: the following could be 100% hormone-driven.]
Let me start by saying that my body is doing incredible things right now. More than I could ever imagine. And I am so grateful for it all.
I’ve heard so many women say that they’ve never felt as beautiful as when they were pregnant, and that they truly felt in their element throughout the whole experience. While I certainly feel more purposeful and loved at this point in my pregnancy journey, I haven’t been feeling so beautiful.
I always said I couldn’t wait til my belly started to pop and I began showing; I’ve always wanted to experience the feeling of a growing baby. But I have to be honest and say that actually seeing my body change – watching as the belly comes in full steam ahead, feeling lumpy, having none of my clothes fit, and growing thick, dark hair in strange places – isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
In fact, I had a complete melt down yesterday about it.
It all started on Saturday night. After trying on three different outfits for a baby lu`au, I succumbed to an outfit I wasn’t so happy with – black tights and a white flowy top. I felt uncomfortable in my outfit, but moreso I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt self-conscious all night.
The next day I looked in the mirror at my ever-expanding belly and thought, How could anyone find me attractive looking like this?! I told Ben how unattractive I felt, and then I burst into tears. Big, beady, uncontrollable tears. I tried to compose myself but I had already lost it. All these years I’ve worked on losing weight and being healthy for this exact reason – so that I could become a Mama – but as it turns out, that still doesn’t make it easier to watch my curves disappear and the pounds come back on.
Poor Ben tried so hard to bring me back around but nothing was working. When he said, ‘You’re doing the most beautiful thing possible… You’re creating our baby’, I retorted with, ‘That makes me purposeful, not beautiful!’.
The only thing I could think of to make myself feel better was to put on my workout clothes and go for a long walk. While I walked, I thought about self-image and self-esteem, and what exactly I’m teaching the baby already. The negative emotions that are attached to the way I see myself… still envisioning myself as a worthless, overweight teenager… I hope my child never has to experience those first-hand.
I hope this baby knows that those emotions have nothing to do with him/her, and that I would gladly gain as much weight as necessary for him to be healthy and happy. I look forward to my child having a healthy sense of self-worth that isn’t tied to his or her looks, but rather his or her character. I recognize that it’s never too early to start fostering that sense of self-worth, and that Ben and I can truly set the greatest examples starting now.
I came home and apologized to Ben. I wrote, because that’s how I process things. And then I visited this website:
This weight-related-to-self-worth issue has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life and I know that any change is going to take time and practice for the rest of my life… but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn, to share, and to (hopefully) help create a new reality for my child.
This journey continues to bring such huge surprises and learning opportunities for me. Truth be told, half the time I write these pregnancy-related posts and feel like an overreactive, emotional mess. But then I take a step back and recognize that this is the journey. The fun, the not-so-fun, the doubts… all of it. And I feel fortunate to be able to share my experiences as I navigate them.
What do you do to make yourself feel beautiful?
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