It’s a rite of passage for every pregnant woman, and this week I finally experienced it: rude commentary from a stranger. Story time! After the gym I popped into the grocery store to pick up a few things. The cashier, a pleasant woman in her early 60’s, smiled enthusiastically when her eyes landed on my belly.
“And how are WE today?” She asked as she started scanning my items. “Looks like we’re counting down the days, yeah?”
With a weak smile, I tried my best to bite my tongue as I unloaded my basket onto the conveyor belt. I gave her a sarcastic chuckle. “Nope, a few more weeks actually.”
She looked shocked. As she ran up my total she took it one step further, examining my stomach again.
“Oh wow, honey. But you look so big. Are you having twins then?”
I was shocked. I let her question just hang in the air while I slid my credit card in the machine.
I’m not going to lie, I’m having a hard time clinging to my confidence being this pregnant and this tired. This pregnancy is such a blessing and I don’t want to complain. But it’s hard to feel like you when you feel like your body is no longer yours. And you’re busy stocking up on postpartum adult diapers, extra heavy pads, nipple cream and extra large underwear. It also doesn’t help that you have the constant comparison between other pregnant women and what their bodies look like. Some women gain 20 pounds, some gain 60. Some women get a few cute stretch marks, some get massive tribal markings. No woman is the same, and therefore no pregnancy is, either.
“No, I am not.” I said flatly, as she handed me my receipt. I grabbed my bag and didn’t bother to look at her reaction as I walked away.
As I drove away I thought about all the comebacks I could have said. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. As women, we should always celebrate our bodies and what we’re capable of. Whether you carried a baby for 9 months or you carried yourself through a difficult season. It’s crazy to see what the human body is capable of, and growing and bringing a baby into this world is one of them. I know postpartum is going to be even more challenging. We should be proud of our bodies, and give ourselves grace during these changes.
My best tips to stay confident?
- Don’t give up your social life. Being pregnant isn’t a death sentence. If you’re typically a social person, stay social! If you’re feeling up for it, go out! Stick to your regular scheduled programming, like happy hour with coworkers or date nights. Embrace that #mocktaillife. During my second trimester, much to the surprise of others, I attended two bachelorette parties. And guess what? I had a great time! I also bopped along at an Eric Church concert last weekend.
- Prioritize time with your partner. You can read between the lines here… but make sure you prioritize special time with your partner. 🙂 Since this is our first baby, we’re very much aware this is the small window of time we have just for ourselves. On November 1st we joked “Wow, this is the last month it’s going to be just us two. Forever.” Wow. Don’t take that for granted.
- Treat yourself. Prioritize self care throughout your pregnancy, whether that’s splurging on a more expensive pedicure or buying some nice maternity clothes. Prenatal massages go a long way, as well. Invest in good maternity underwear, damn it. Resist wearing your partner’s clothes. Do weekly face masks. Do what makes you feel good.
- Clean out your Instagram feed (and consume less of it). This is a great tip for anyone, pregnant or not pregnant. Assess how often you’re on Instagram and who you follow. How does their content make you feel? In this more vulnerable state, I’ve found myself more sensitive to glossy, influencer lives that just don’t feel realistic. On my cranky days, I can’t handle looking at Pottery Barn sponsored nurseries or $3,500 bassinet reveals. For me, it’s been helpful to unfollow those accounts and ultimately consume less of Instagram in general.
- Educate yourself. You’ll feel more confident if you educate yourself and understand what is happening to your body. Do some research and find resources that work for you. I’ve been a big fan of the Ovia app, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Expecting Better books, and the Pregnancy Confidential podcast.
- Stay active. Endorphins are everything. If you’re typically an active person, don’t be afraid to stay active. Unless you have a high risk pregnancy, your doctor can help assess your activity level. I’ve maintained a light crossfit routine this entire time. When you’re feeling tired and sluggish, getting up and moving your body can do wonders.
So, how do you stay confident?