Reader Request: Pregnancy and Body Image

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A reader who asked to remain anonymous e-mailed me this question:

I’d love to see you or a contributor write a post about body image during pregnancy. I ask this question from a deeply personal place. I am average height and somewhere between a size 14-18, often spanning straight sizes and plus sizes. I was pregnant for 11 weeks prior to a very recent miscarriage, and struggled with body image (even more than usual) during that time. I didn’t get to the point where my body physically changed, but the anticipation of it terrified me.

While I am sadly no longer pregnant, I do hope to be again in the near future and would love some insight on this, or suggestions on positive resources. I found some of the biggest struggles to be looking for larger sized fashionable clothes in maternity wear, and also the comparison between myself and smaller friends who were pregnant.

So first, a moment to acknowledge that miscarriages are incredibly common, unspeakably tragic, and a topic that remains frustratingly taboo. I am sure that many of you have survived miscarriages yourselves, and that your heart breaks for this lovely reader just as mine did.

The resources I typically send to women who have questions about pregnancy and STYLE are below. Although they focus on fashion, discussions of body image are extremely common in all of these posts and blogs:

  • Dressing the Body in Flux – not about the fluctuations of pregnancy, per se, but still somewhat relevant. See comments, too.
  • Pregnancy Chic – a guest post is from Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen, whose daughter is much older now, but she offers some GREAT tips. (Her own maternity series is here.)
  • Neither of these blogs is active right now, but both do a stellar job of showcasing maternity style and some post-partum:
    – Narrowly Tailored
    – Academichic

I have never been pregnant myself, so I am woefully ill-equipped to tackle this topic. I called in Laura Rademacher, who worked on the now-defunct Strong, Sexy & Stylish podcast with me, and who is a dedicated mother, gifted marriage and family therapist, fierce feminist, and all-around amazing human being. Here are her thoughts.

* * * * *

On Bellies, Babies and Boundaries


I get asked about my pregnancy all the time. 99.9% of that time I am not pregnant. There is just something about the way my body is shaped that makes people think I might be. They love to ask when I am due or if it is my “first” or just, “Are you pregnant?” This used to make me feel bad about myself. Especially the more awkward occasions, like when a server kept hovering around my table making odd comments implying I was pregnant (which I ignored) until she flat out asked and I had to say, “Nope. Not pregnant.” At that point she squeeled in embarrassment and ran into the kitchen where she hid until I left. Because apparently I was the one who embarrassed her. Or the women who asked and when I told her “no” handed me her business card and said, “Then you need to call me. I’m a nutritionist.”

It doesn’t help that I happen to love certain clothing styles that can accentuate my high waist like babydoll type dresses. I know they are more likely to make me look pregnant but damn, I do love them. I often find myself faced with the choice of wearing an outfit I love and taking extra risk that I will be faced with expectant questions or dressing in something I like less for a slightly smaller chance of avoiding the assumed-pregnancy chit-chat. I have one dress that has hung forlornly in my closet for years. I loved it when I first got it but every time I wore it I got the question. At this point it is retired because wearing it is an exhausting experience.

When I was actually pregnant I was very excited to wear whatever I wanted. I didn’t care whether an outfit emphasized my mid-section because I could say, “Why, yes, I am pregnant!” During my pregnancy I felt pretty happy with my appearance until the last two months of hot, hot summer when I felt physically uncomfortable with how big I had gotten. The real body image challenge for me was postpartum; realizing I had to continue wearing maternity clothes because nothing else fit, struggling to put together a work wardrobe on a budget that spanned the three possible sizes I may or may not be at any given moment, finding that my milk came in unevenly and avoiding anything zip- or button-up since it would visibly pull to one side or I would have to stuff my bra to even myself out. Man, what a pain. The sleep deprivation didn’t help my attitude about it either. Neither did continuing to field questions about when I was due and getting to respond, “Six months ago.” Pregnant appearance was fun for me while I was actually pregnant. Once my daughter was born I was really ready to go back to my old, only mildly pregnant-looking figure.

Here’s the thing about all the people who ask if I am pregnant; they are so well intentioned. People see someone they think is having a baby and their thought process is likely something like, “Oh, how wonderful! They must be filled with joy. I want to share that good feeling!” They just want to smile and send you blessings in whatever form; feel some vicarious happiness in their day. The problem is that they are asking questions about subjects that are often very personal and private. For part of the time that I was mistaken for pregnant I was actually having fertility issues. What a bitter time that was, wishing for pregnancy and being told I looked pregnant but knowing I was not. For me, this part of the journey was over relatively quickly but for many people it lasts much longer. Some people experience miscarriages and appear still pregnant or postpartum. These people often find themselves navigating questions from strangers that touch directly on their grief. Some people find themselves pregnant unexpectedly, in less than ideal circumstances or have mixed feelings about having a child. They might not want to join in a love-fest with a stranger who thinks this baby will be the cutest little bundle of joy that stranger will never have to care for or support financially.

With these thoughts in mind, here is my survival guide for awkward questions or sad body feelings before, during, or after pregnancy:

Be kind to yourself.

Really. Don’t beat yourself up over other people’s comments. If your body isn’t making you happy in this moment feel free to make positive changes but do so with a kind and supportive attitude to yourself. Negative self-talk doesn’t help anyone meet goals or feel happier in their own skin.

Realize the body is always changing and what you dislike may well be temporary.

If you are pregnant and hating it, more changes are coming that you may like better! If you are postpartum and wondering when your body will change know that it likely will be different three months from now and different again three months after that. Change doesn’t always get us to our exact ideal but small, slow changes make a big difference over time.

Set boundaries around your body and personal information!

If you don’t want people touching your pregnant belly, let them know that is not OK with you. When people ask if you are pregnant and you don’t want to talk about your recent miscarriage it is absolutely your right to shut the conversation down. This often takes practice since social conditioning encourages us to “be nice” to others. Remember, you can always set boundaries in a “nice” way if niceness is important to you. Pick a response you like and practice saying it before you are in the actual situation. See if any of these work for you:

  • “Thanks for your curiosity. I prefer to keep that information private.”
  • “I appreciate your concern but that’s not something I want to talk about. How about the weather this month, huh?!?”
  • “Please don’t touch my body. I don’t feel comfortable with that.”
  • “I know I look really great right now but try to keep your hands off, OK?”

Grief is real and totally valid.

It can be good to grieve over changes to your body, the way it is perceived, or what you would have wished it would do. However, if you start to feel stuck in your grief or it significantly affects your functioning, go talk with a professional you trust about ways to honor your grief and start to feel better.

When you don’t feel happy with how your body looks, can you feel happy with what your body is able to do?

If you are pregnant are you drawing inspiration from the knowledge that your body is creating a whole person right now? If you are facing fertility issues can you appreciate the distance you can run, the fun you have dancing, or your contagious smile? If you are postpartum are you proud of the milk you may be producing, the sleep you are forgoing, the comfort your hugs offer to your child? While postpartum I comforted myself with the thought that my body was working hard. I decided I had a “working body” and told myself I had plenty of time to get back to something I enjoyed more as a “looking body.” In fact, it made me realize that for me the two concepts are intertwined. Now my concept of my good “looking body” is based a lot more on how much I am using my “working body” for things I enjoy.

Best wishes to all of you: non-pregnant pregnant looking people, for-real pregnant people, people wishing for pregnancy, people dealing with a pregnancy they aren’t pleased about, people who just miscarried and all the rest of you in your unique situations. I promise I’ll never ask you the question when I see you in the grocery store. I’ll just smile and if you are wearing a babydoll dress I’ll give you a compliment on your fabulous taste in clothing.

Laura Rademacher, MA, LAMFT is a sex and relationship therapist in Minneapolis, MN. For more information about her therapy or education work you can find her at or email

Image courtesy blmurch.

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32 Responses to “Reader Request: Pregnancy and Body Image”

  1. Jill

    When people ask me questions that I feel are too personal to answer, I’ve learned to smile and respond, “I’m sorry, do I know you?” This helps them to see that they have overstepped, at least where my boundaries are concerned.

  2. Jill

    And to the reader, I’m sorry for your loss and send all the hope I can your way that you are soon pregnant and on your way to a healthy baby.

  3. Londyn

    Thanks to anonymous for asking this question and thanks to Laura for answering it. While I’ve never been pregnant, I’m hoping to be in the next couple years and anonymous said my fears exactly when she said “the anticipation of it [my body changing] terrified me”. We hear such “horror stories” in the media about women’s bodies and pregnancy. Literally, just yesterday I saw 2 magazines that had cover stories about how “pregnancy ruined my body!”… I have no idea WHY the media decides to portray such a beautiful thing in this light (oh, right.. money..), but it’s empowering for women to stand together and call BS on it. Sure, our bodies may change – but so what – I know a million amazingly fit, healthy and beautiful moms. I aspire to be like them.

  4. Bree Bronson

    Thank you so much for this post! My third child is due in three weeks so if I had any pregnancy glow ever it’s now replaced with sweating and contractions. So people’s “you’re pregnant, how lovely!” -comments sound very ironic to me now even though I know they mean well.

    I’ve never liked anyone to touch my baby belly without permission or making comments about how huge I am. Even though it’s been true: I’m normally very slim but I’ve always gotten a huge belly and gained over 25 kgs of weight during pregnancy. I’ve just always thought that it’s a private matter. I don’t mind discussing my pregnancy but making comments about my looks makes me feel bad about myself. I’ve been lucky though since nobody thinks I’m pregnant when I’m actually not. I usually tackle the unwanted belly attention by saying “sure, how about you? You seem to have gained some weight as well recently, huh?”. I know it’s not a nice thing to say but it ends the conversation for sure.

    Another thing I’ve found extremely irritating is that many people seem to “know” how happy new parents are and think that they possess the right to remind others about it. Usually when I’ve been not sleeping for 1-2 weeks after having a baby, the baby has been crying a lot and I’m still really sick and swollen after the delivery some lovely person will start lecturing me about how I “live the best time of my life right now” and how I should “enjoy every moment”. When they wrap their speech up with a “isn’t it lovely to have a baby!” I might just say “sure, you can have it”. Not that I’d ever change my kids to anything in the world, they’re my everything, but I just wish people would consider that especially new moms might be very tired and even fed up with the daily routines. A simple “how have you been doing with the wee one?” would warm my heart enormously instead.

  5. Nique

    Great subject, Sally, and I think Laura’s response was on point.
    As an OB, this is a subject that comes up on a daily basis with my patients. While I and many people find the pregnant body to be lovely, many pregnant women do not feel so lovely in their own skin.
    One thing that I have found helps many of my patients is self-care. This is something you preach all the time for women to improve body image, and it works in pregnancy as well. I cannot emphasize the importance of physical activity enough. While there are certain conditions that require some women to be on bedrest during pregnancy, regular exercise is not only safe but is recommended for most women during pregnancy. I have found exercise to be one of the best ways to improve body image because it helps women to focus more on what their bodies can DO and not what the numbers on the scale show. The same goes for a good, nourishing diet.
    There are many other self-care activities that can help as well:massage, meditation, yoga, naps, etc.

  6. BC

    Not to say that these concerns are not valid. However. Some of you mothers might want to consider that some of these questions might be better than being asked “So, any kids?” or “When are you having kids?” or “Why don’t you have any children?” – when you cannot. It might make you feel better.

    • Allie

      Let’s not get into whose grief is greater. Answering “Why don’t you have children?” is not necessarily easier when the answer is “He’s dead.” We will all find women here that we would be eager to trade situations, but that doesn’t make their hurt petty. I’ve had a horrible time relating to my body, which used to look so full of life, after my baby died at birth. I’m sure many readers of all situations have felt the feelings of wrongness and betrayal that I’m dealing with, and I look forward to reading what has helped them.

      • BC

        I never meant to imply that their hurt was petty but that it might feel better to concentrate on how much you love your children, assuming you have them, like the commenter above me. I guess I wouldn’t know though so I guess I should just keep my mouth shut (or fingers off the keyboard, whatever.) I’m truly sorry for your loss, and of course cannot possibly understand. Consider me chastised, because now I feel worse than I did before, and that is really saying something.

      • BC

        Oh and I probably should have made clear I was originally responding to the person who said they didn’t like when people said it must be great to have a baby and she wants to say “you can have them”. I wasn’t talking about the reader who originally wrote in-I didn’t mean anything about someone who has lost a baby. I’m very sorry for what you went through, and what the reader with the question went through.

        • Allie

          I appreciate your comments. We are all trying to make our way through an emotionally charged topic as best we can. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Grace

    Shape of a Mother is an incredible website full of photos and stories of mothers bodies, in various shapes, sizes, and amounts of self-acceptance.

  8. Stephanie

    My baby turns 6 next month so its been a while but here are a few thoughts. I was about an 18 when I got pregnant both times and went through a long period of time when my regular clothes didn’t fit but I didn’t really look pregnant either. Part of this was bc my chest got huge when I was pregnant so my belly didn’t stick out past it for a long time. Even once it did it still had some fat on it so I never had that tight basketball belly that so many celebs have. That’s OK just worth sharing bc it didn’t dawn on me that I wouldn’t. I did a lot of bigger regular clothes and invested in a few pairs of decent maternity bottoms style wise.

    Since someone mentioned this in the comments I will also share that yes pregnancy changes your body and some things will just be different after. That said I am in much better shape now then I was then. I’m a better weight/size for my frame and my body image is much better then it was then so while I think its normal to worry about your body changing I also think that once you go through the changes you will be alright.

  9. Dee

    I may be a bit unique but I didnt mind my pregant body at all! I gained close to 50 lbs but I think becasue my tummy was always my “problem” area (protruding, no waist) it was a relief to not have to worry about dressing to hide that “flaw”! When my well meaning FIL said something like “oh I bet you can’t wait to get your figure back” when I was 8 or 9 months pregnant, I really wanted to say “no, not really I like my body now”, but I mumbled something else. I knew that once I gave birth I would have even more of a “tummy” problem. (in the end, after two pregnancies I had a tummy tuck, so I am pretty happy with my body now, even not pregnant.)

  10. Eleanorjane

    Great post Sal and great comments too.

    It does blow my mind that people feel entitled to make all sorts of personal comments about appearance. It’s not the go, if you ask me!

  11. NeenaJ

    My deepest condolences go out to the reader. I wish you peace.
    I’m normally a size 10 and 5’2″. I got pregnant at 37 and gained nearly 50 pounds by the end. For someone like me who always has had trouble spots, being pregnant was like being given a gift. I finally felt at ease with my body. No more obsessing over my too-big breasts or pouchy tummy. I was huge, but, what was I going to hide? There was no point in trying to suck in my stomach or pretend that I could squeeze into a smaller size. Mother Nature bitch-slapped me, in that, I finally had to let it all hang out and just deal with it.
    I was also fortunate to have been able to breastfeed for 7 months and pump for another 6 months after that. For the first time since before puberty, I felt that my breasts were a positive part of my identity and it was an amazing feeling.
    Said baby is about to turn 4 and while I haven’t saved up enough for a tummy tuck, I can look at my body and know I did something awesome with it – even if I don’t feel particularly happy with how it looks. Good luck!
    Also, check out the Girl with Curves blog. Tanesha just announced her pregnancy and showcases some fabulous plus sized maternity clothing.

  12. H.

    Thank you all for your comments and your support. I submitted this question to Sally a few months ago and while those same fears still linger, I do have hope for the future. For those of you that have experienced something similar, I wish you the very best, from the bottom of my heart. So many thanks to Sally for her compassionate response to my email, and to Laura for tackling this subject.

  13. Chris

    What bothers me is the odd societal notion that pregnant women’s bellies are now public property. Folks who wouldn’t dream of touching a non-pregnant person suddenly feel free to run their hands all over a pregnant belly – without asking permission of the owner of that belly. What is that?

  14. Jen

    For some plus-size dressing options:

    For suggestions on what to wear by trimester:

    I’ve pinned both of the links for future reference. 🙂

    As a plus-sized woman, my belly is my biggest hurdle in dressing now. I’m also not down with a lot of public touching, and wondered how I’d handle the belly pats if ever pregnant.

  15. just_kazari

    That’s funny…when I was pregnant I had no body issues whatsoever; in fact I reveled in the fact that I no longer had to worry about hiding a little extra belly pudge or getting bigger in general. In fact, I eventually just went whole hog and went around in yoga pants and flipflops. However, I would like to point out that a larger-sized lady is more directed to either avoid gaining weight altogether through healthy diet/exercise as her baby grows, so your body may actually not change that much (beyond the obvious pregnant belly). And if you do — well, you’re pregnant! You are entitled!

    My body issues did occur AFTER having my baby, however….there are just a lot of changes plus you’re pretty hormonal about everything plus your lifestyle changes completely. It’s a lot to take. But in general I’ve accepted that if the changes to my body are the price I have to pay to have my little son, then I’ll pay it! (and the rest, well. I really should exercise more. haha)

    My condolences to you and good wishes for your future! (And if someone tries to touch you, have a sharp reprimand ready. I never had the issue of some stranger trying to touch me because I think I have one of ‘those faces’, but I did have strangers making comments when I was getting coffee at Starbucks and the like. The nosiness of strangers knows no bounds.)

  16. Julie

    Anonymous, so sorry for your loss!

    I am also somewhere around a size and miscarried my first pregnancy… it is a very low point in self-image in general, I think.

    I am currently 30 wks pregnant, and my body image has never been better! Getting past the awkward “bloat” stage and into looking pregnant was a big step for me… I no longer suck my stomach in when I’m in public, I don’t worry that my backside is disproportionately large… it’s amazing to feel free to be the shape you are. My shape is ridiculous to me, but in a funny, endearing kind of way.

    I’m a little freaked about post-partum… I’m afraid to wake up the next day and not recognize my own physical form. But I’ll probably be too tired to care.

  17. Sarah

    I have the body-type that I look pregnant when I’m not, and now 5 babies later, it’s worse than it has ever been. 🙁

    I always liked being pregnant because I could say “yes!” when people asked if I was…well, I liked it for the first few months. I am incredibly short-waisted with nowhere for a baby to go but out, so I showed early and got HUGE, which people pointed out to me on a constant daily basis. It was particularly awful with my twins.

    My rules are thus…If you think someone is pregnant, but are not sure, keep your mouth shut! If you know someone is pregnant, the only thing you should tell them is how great they look.

  18. V

    I am so glad to see this post. I am currently 7 months pregnant and have really struggled with body image issues during and after pregnancy in the past. It is nice to see someone speak frankly on the topic; too many people assume that pregnancy is all fairies and ice cream and rainbows, but not all of the changes are always as well-received, and unfortunately, too many people think that pregnancy is a time during which all advice, touching (ick) and criticism is welcomed. This post inspired me to blog about this topic today myself ()! Anyway, God bless Laura for writing this post, especially the very useful bit about setting boundaries around your body (I can totally use some of those answers!) and Sally for posting it!

  19. queenrandom

    I’m 40 weeks pregnant tomorrow. I’m short, with a short torso, so I started showing VERY early (I ‘popped’ around 10 weeks). I actually get much better comments now than I did rolling into the 3rd trimester a few months (and inches) ago – now people generally just say I look ‘great’ or ‘healthy’, whereas then I got a lot of comments on how big I was/the baby was/how I must be due any day. Positive or negative, it always feels odd that people who don’t know me feel free to comment on my looks – the only other time in my life I’ve experienced that is street harassment, which is of course distinctly negative.

    I have dealt with some body image issues throughout the pregnancy. Early on, I resisted buying maternity clothes because of cultural narratives about how shameful it is to have to wear them because of your body shape. Like it’s a badge of pride to wear non-maternity clothes as long as possible. Why, exactly? I don’t know, but I do know how much more comfortable I was once I bought them and was kicking myself for not having done so sooner. In fact, as a wide-hipped girl, I may continue to wear maternity jeans after because I have never found jeans that are cut so perfectly for a large hip-to-waist ratio. I also struggled a lot with weight gain, out of fear of not losing it post-pregnancy. Having just stopped trying to lose weight when I got pregnant, it was a challenging mental switch to be OK with the scale going higher than it ever had before. That said, it was a relief not to feel I had to hide my midsection anymore.

    I still can’t wait until I can start wearing pumps again.

  20. LauraLou

    This deals with a sensitive subject in a kind, constructive way. Kudos.
    Like others, my sympathies go out to the original question-writer and all those who have gone through struggles and losses.
    I wanted to note that I found Laura Rademacher’s advice headings in teal font (be kind to yourself, focus on what your body can do, etc) to also apply very well to other phases when women’s bodies change rapidly and sometimes in undesired ways, such as during puberty and menopause.

  21. Monica H

    I really feel for those who have lost children, born or unborn, and I can only imagine your grief.

    One of the things that I am struggling with now as a 40 year old, is that I made peace with my body when I was 25 or so. I came to terms with the idea that I would never be a supermodel, would always have small boobs and a large ribcage, etc. It seemed easy at that point to know that I would never look like Elle Macpherson. I’m having a hard time accepting, however, that I don’t look like 25 year old me. It’s like I decided that’s what I ‘should’ look like, and anything less was, well, unacceptable. I wonder if any of you pregant or post-pregnancy ladies can relate? Or maybe it’s easier to accept when the change is as rapid and profound as childbirth, compared to the slow process of aging and gaining a pound or two every year?

  22. naomi

    I chime in with those who said their body image improved in pregnancy. I am quite fat (the word “fat” used here in the fat acceptance movement sense, not pejoratively) and because of how my fat is distributed, no one could really tell I was pregnant, even at the very end of my pregnancy. So I didn’t have the problem of the intrusive belly-fondlers.
    What I did have is great joy that my body was actually GOOD at this. You have to understand, my whole life I was told my body was BAD. Even when there was evidence that I had some physical gifts of movement and strength, they were not recognized. It’s hard to deny a baby, though! I think that pregnancy and childbirth is an opportunity for a lot of women to reconnect with the amazing things their bodies can do, but I do think that for some of us it’s easier, because we’re not so scared of ruining our figures – since in everyone’s eyes, that deed is already done. Honestly, I found my pregnancies, labors and births to be tremendously healing in many, many ways, and I wish that could be true for everyone. I was privileged in having absolutely wonderful midwives (and enough money to hire them, in addition to supplying other necessities) and very good health, so I want to make sure I recognize that each woman has to decide what she will prioritize and that many experience barriers I didn’t face.
    I also had a miscarriage and I want to say that as in many reproductive events, women experience it differently. Sal, I so appreciate your caring nature that makes you empathize with the O.P. and validate her miscarriage as “tragic”, but my feelings during my miscarriage didn’t line up with that, and I think it’s important that we recognize there’s no one way we should be expected to feel. If I had to categorize my feelings at the loss of that much-wanted pregnancy, I would say it was along the lines of, “Damn. That one didn’t work. There must have been a serious problem. Thank goodness my body dealt with it so efficiently.” In some weird way, it was actually empowering. Obviously, people in different circumstances will feel differently – that’s my point.
    I’m so glad we’re discussing this; it’s an important topic.

  23. LK

    What is a reasonable amount of time for the weight to come off? I always assumed if it takes 9 months to put on, it takes 9 months to take off. I ask because its a discussion I’ve had with my boyfriend many times. Because he has a friend who took all her weight off in less than 2 months he thinks every woman can do that. I’m not pregnant, but if I did marry him and get pregnant last thing I want to hear two months later is “When are you loosing the weight?”. Especially if that is not a reasonable time frame.

    • just_kazari

      The general rule of thumb I’ve heard IS ‘9 months on, 9 months off’ but every woman is different. Some women really struggle to get it off, some women don’t. I gained nearly 25 lbs in my pregnancy but took less than two months to get it all off — partly because half of that is baby and fluids, and partly because my MIL put me on a soup diet the first month, uck. Also breastfeeding burns a lot of calories. Also I believe it depends on how heavy you were to begin with, your metabolism, etc.

      But, if I’m allowed to say….your boyfriend’s insensitivity towards weight and particularly pregnancy weight and how long it might take any one woman to get it off…irks me. Because, she just had a baby! And now her entire life is consumed with caring for the baby, her own body is the least of her worries. (Even managing to take a shower regularly is an ordeal in the first couple months…) If he’s going to be all, “when are you going to lose weight” after having a baby….seems very shallow to me, sorry to say. 🙁

      • LK

        He is a very thin person himself and seems to have a hard time understanding how another thin person (myself) wouldn’t just return to normal pretty quickly. He forgets, I will be in my 30s not 20s if I have a kid meaning a slower metabolism. He also forgets his friend is a runner and went on a rather strict diet the day the baby was born, two things I do NOT want to do. I do think in the end it wouldn’t really bother him and I don’t think he’d ask when its going to come off. Its more that I wanted to know if that expectation of weight loss was unreasonable. Apparently for some, its not.

        I appreciate the advice!

  24. Susan

    My heart goes out to those who have had miscarriages or have lost babies or children. It is heartbreaking.

    I am the mother of two grown children (34 and 30 years old now). During each pregnancy I gained 50+ pounds and lost all pregnancy weight afterwards. I have to comment that I never worried about the shape of my body during pregnancy. I wasn’t ashamed or fearful of not regaining a reasonable body shape. I did hope for healthy babies and was fortunate that my hopes became reality.

    I think pregnant women need to take a step back and puts things into proper perspective. If your body shape is so important to you that you don’t want to take a chance on it being altered–don’t get pregnant. It’s that simple. Alternatively, look within–stop concentrating on the superficial and be wary of marrying a man who is so superficial that you feel badly about looking like a pregnant woman looks.

  25. Elizabeth

    I’m 33 and we’ve been trying for many years to get pregnant. I hate to admit I’ve always been pretty vain about my appearance: even sometimes to the point of comparing my appearance favorably against other women. But now that I know I have such massive fertility issues, I feel very differently about my body: I feel betrayed by it. And when I look in the mirror and see the slim silhouette and general decent looks, I feel it’s just a sham, like counterfeit money: looks great, but worth nothing. I wouldn’t say I hate my body, but I feel foolish and vain for having been so pleased as punch that I looked good all this time when the one thing I want my body to be able to do, it cannot do.

  26. Jo

    Absolutely fantastic post covering all areas expertly and sensitively. I’m post miscarriage myself, just past my what was due date and just hitting 40 so I’m not having the best relationship with my body at the moment. But perhaps I should be kinder to it, and myself, plus I do have a totally gorgeous 5 year old son and i’m immensely thankful for him and to be a mummy at all.