21-June-3

  • Peach/Orange Tunic: Japanese Weekend via eBay
  • Navy Abstract Floral-Print Skirt: induetime via eBay
  • Nude Cork Wedges: Jones New York via DSW
  • Necklace: Filene’s $4 bin
  • Oatmeal Long Cardigan: Halogen via Nordstrom’s, gift from mom

Both E. and S. of academichic have spoken eloquently this week about the many (many!) changes the pregnant body goes through, and have touched on something I’ve also been struck by: the almost-total way pregnancy has changed the list of things I love (and don’t love as much) about my body. Just as I’ve been surprised by the things that have and haven’t changed, I’ve been surprised at my own responses to these changes, at the way things have fluctuated from being on my own internal lists of welcome and less welcome alterations.

Today, I’m celebrating two such situations, only one of which would have made a “best” list a year ago: my chest and my legs. Pre-pregnancy, my general view of my body was more or less, top half good, lower half bad. Even though I could admire and appreciate (or try to) all the things my legs have helped me do in life (running, cycling, backpacking across the desert of Western Australia), my lower half has generally been a body image no-go area, for pretty much as long as I can remember. My strangely-proportioned lower half has led to numerous awkward pants-fitting experiences, abundant late-adolescent deep-sighing, and a lot of miles, but not a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings. Conversely, I’ve always felt relatively positively about my upper half, which feels (once I embraced my shoulders) properly proportioned and well contained, and comprises some of my most powerful (forearms, shoulders, upper back) and delicate (waist, wrists, collarbones) bits.

But pregnancy has more or less upended this perception: all of a sudden, my legs seem oddly normal, proportionate, even dare-I-say shapely, and I was overwhelmed by the rapid, er, chest expansion that began almost immediately in early pregnancy. (As always, when I talk about body image issues, I’m using subjective, what-it-felt-like-for-me vocabulary, so YMMV.) While I’ve been thrilled that my legs have felt like an anchor of normalcy and body positivity, finding a way to embrace my distorted chest (all puns intended) has been more of a challenge. But I’m working on it, and on finding the things to celebrate about even this strangest of pregnancy-related body changes: after all, even this change has a truly miraculous purpose. And of course, there are other, more sobering reasons not to bad-mouth my chest: in a world where breast cancer still claims the lives of too many women, breast health is nothing to take for granted. And as with the many body-image lessons I’ve been learning as I’ve come to live with this ever-changing pregnant body of mine, I’m working on figuring out ways to take these lessons with me after our little one arrives, and in particular, to embrace the beauty in the functionality of my body, of what it’s been proving every day it’s capable of.

Have you had a major life change or experience change your relationship to a body part or your body image in general?

21-June-2

21-June

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  • Anonymous

    You are an incredibly beautiful mom-to-be!  I love the rose color on you, and definitely agree that you’ve got some awesome legs.  But then, I thought that pre-baby.  :)  

    I’ve always had the same leg issues- my calves seem so unnecessarily muscular, and my thighs so unnecessarily NOT muscular.  Running, though, really helps me have a better perspective.  When I’m running, especially on a trail, I’m amazed by how buff and hot I feel, step after step.  It isn’t a major life change, but just the hour or so with my feet in my running shoes and I feel better.