I am 5 months pregnant with my fourth son.
That means in the middle of the summer I will be 8 months pregnant.
This isn’t my first time being pregnant over the summer. No, in fact I’ve had three summer pregnancies, and have been hugely pregnant in the dead heat once.
It’s always tough reconciling weight gain during pregnancy, and while I don’t particularly enjoy it, growing a human and gaining weight kind of go hand in hand. Despite this being my fourth pregnancy, I still uphold this deep, yet slightly unrealistic desire to have the “perfect” pregnancy. I also make it my life’s goal to compare my pregnant body to others who have the picture-perfect pregnant look. Yes, I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but the struggle is real. Throw in the hot summer months when the last thing you want to wear is a pair of jeans and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
To sum it up – pregnant, weight gain, summer heat, less clothing, oh and body image and food issues…equals lots of uncomfortable days.
So, in order to keep my spirits up and my body shaming down, here are a few things I like to do, or not do – all whilst being heavily pregnant over the summer months.
1. I wear comfortable clothes.
This is not the time to “just see” if my skinny jeans still fit. Nor will you find me flaunting my hugely pregnant bikini body.
I will, however, be wearing lots of loose fitting clothing and a variety of sun dresses, with my hair piled high in a bun and a personal fan blowing directly in my face all day every day.
2. I stop reading or watching things that bring me down about my body.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I am pregnant I tend to get a little on the…sensitive side. Things tend to bother me more than usual. So especially while pregnant, I try to stay away from anything that will make me feel bad about myself, pregnancy related or otherwise. I just don’t need the negativity in my life.
This often includes steering clear of social media, magazines, and Pinterest, to name a few.
3. I drink a lot of water.
I once read that a person should be drinking half their body weight in ounces. If that’s true, then I am sure that pregnant women should be drinking even more than that!
Drinking lots of water helps me feel full longer, keeps (some) of the hunger at bay, and, oh yeah, helps me stay COOL(er). As far as staying cool in the summer is concerned, I need all the help I can get.
4. Keep it healthy.
For me, I have to be careful about restricting myself too much food-wise, even during pregnancy, as it can trigger previous eating issues. But I do try to stay as physically active as I can. This isn’t always possible towards the end of pregnancy when I feel more like a beached whale than anything else, but I usually end up feeling better if I do some type of physical activity each day.
5. Check my focus.
At the end of the day, I check my focus.
I have found that if I am struggling with my body, it usually means that my priorities are out of whack and I need to drag the focus off myself, and place it back on God.
The more I focus on Him, the less I focus on myself and my imperfections.
He must become great; I must become less. John 3:30
And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.
While pregnancy does have its unfortunate side effects, it is a time when a lot of my negativity surrounding my body seems to dissipate. The weight gain is inevitable. It will come. But so will a precious, miraculous baby.
Why not give thanks for all that my body can do, instead of lament what it’s lacking? Why not give my Creator all the glory and praise for blessing me with another precious life to nurture and raise? Why not stand in awe of all that I do have?
I’ll do what I can to remain healthy. I’ll stay as comfortable as possible. I’ll limit what I allow into my life. I’ll drink a lot of water, and I’ll try to remain active.
But I’ll also keep my eyes where they should be – and that’s not on myself, my growing body, and all my imperfections.
Alicia is a Jesus follower, wife, and boymom of three busy little guys. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys lots of rain, lots of coffee, and a little reading. She writes about all things faith, contentment, and motherhood over at Turquoise Grace, where she offers up a little dose of grace for the mommed-out heart. Read Alicia’s posts here.