Love yourself

Being pregnant has not been easy as far as my body image. I dealt with an eating disorder when I was younger, and the effects of that have taken years for me to fully recover from.

Before my pregnancy, I was in a good place as far as my feelings about my body. Junior and senior year of high school, I began to have more confidence. By the time I went into college, I generally had an idea of what my body was like and accepted it even if it wasn’t perfect.

I was around 130-140 lbs, and I was fine with that range. Now, at this point (college) I wasn’t working out a lot- or at all basically lol, but I could stay around that weight without really trying. I had just gotten used to being thin without having to think about it. So then, fast-forward to several months later, I’m at my highest weight ever, having gained 35 lbs, and not feeling too great about my body anymore. I’ve looked back at old pictures and said to myself “wow, I was really hot then and I didn’t even realize it! I looked good!” I liked my body. I accepted that I was probably just going to have small boobs (lol thanks pregnancy for making those grow). I accepted that I was about a size 4/6 and that was a healthy size for me. At this point, I appreciated my body– and then everything changed.

But here’s the thing: I’m still hot! I don’t have to be skinny to be attractive- not that it really even matters how “hot” I am. I’m pregnant, and I’m allowed to gain weight. I don’t have to fit anyone’s definition of “attractiveness” because it doesn’t matter. But it does help that Eric still tells me how beautiful I am even when I feel huge. I have so many mixed feelings about my body image right now, but I’m trying to be positive and tell myself that I’m allowed to look however I do right now and that’s okay. Everything has gotten bigger. My thighs, butt, boobs, and belly are all a lot larger than they used to be. I had to take out my belly button piercing that I just got a year ago because my belly getting wider and I don’t want it to stretch the skin there too much. I’ve had to buy larger clothes, because nothing fits anymore. But as uncomfortable as I may be having to look at this unfamiliar body and buying new clothes to fit it, I know this baby is going to be worth it. I can’t let myself hate my body right now because it is growing a human!! That’s so awesome that I can do that! So instead of wallowing in sadness that I’m gaining weight, I’m going to just simply accept it. I’m not going to starve myself like I used to, I’m not going to tell myself how huge I look, I’m just going to accept that my body is growing and that’s okay. I don’t have to be happy about these changes; that would be fake to say that I’m completely fine with all this happening. But to just say: this is happening, and it’s okay. I don’t have to look the same as I did 6 months ago.

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These were taken March 4 (before I was pregnant) and September 13 (6 months). A lot has changed between these two pictures, but I put them here to make a point: my body has changed, but I look cute in both! And that’s gonna be my mindset as I go through this journey of being a mom.

A surprise

I found out I was pregnant on May 7, two days before I came home for the summer. The night before, I was taking my medicine, and noticed that I had been through a whole week of white birth control pills without having my period. I told my boyfriend, and he was surprisingly calm. I was the one freaking out. He told me to wait until tomorrow; that it was too late to go out now but we could go in the afternoon after our exams and pick up some pregnancy tests. I went to bed that night, anxious about what the result might be. The next day, we took our last exams, got lunch at the cafeteria, and we drove to Target. I bought two different brands, each a two pack, because I really wanted to be sure. That afternoon, I took the first two in his dorm room. I remember setting a timer for exactly five minutes on my phone, and the two of us in the bathroom, waiting, caught in between two worlds. The first one was positive. It was definitely positive. Some women will see a faint line that’s almost indistinguishable, but for me, the second line was undeniably there (we later found out I was 6 weeks at the time). I cried. I cried so hard. Thirty minutes later, I took the second test. Also positive. This one showed a plus sign instead. And once again, the line was light, but definitely there.

I didn’t know how to feel. It’s supposed to be a joy, this wonderful thing, but I didn’t feel that at first. I was so scared. I’m only 19, I was supposed to finish college and then get married and then have kids. That was our plan. And just like that, it fell to pieces. Now, later on, I was excited to have a baby. But initially, I mostly remember feeling overwhelmed. After a period of relative calm and stability in my life, why this? Why now? I want to be honest with y’all. It wasn’t easy. Crying with my boyfriend because we were both so overwhelmed with emotions. Telling my parents. Dealing with being in a sometimes unstable emotional state and accepting that this is actually happening.

But it’s going to be okay. That’s what I keep telling myself, and that’s what my boyfriend, Eric, keeps reassuring me. Look, I know this seems sudden to me, but what comforts me is that God has a plan. No matter how crazy things may seem right now, he knew that this would happen. And he’s going to make sure I get through it. I don’t have to be happy all the time. I’m allowed to be emotional, and upset, and question myself as a mother, and ask myself why God made this part of his plan, but ultimately, all those worries won’t matter when I have my baby in my arms. He knows what I need, and apparently, being a mother at 20 is something I can handle.