I’m aware that I’ve only blogged about my pregnancy recently, so I apologise to anyone who is is bored of hearing about it. But I guess having a baby is such an all consuming event, that it’s to be expected. I’ve been galloping apace with my writing projects and I’m churning out 2000 words a day in a desperate scrabble to get everything done before the baby shows up in 8 weeks or so. There’s not a lot of brain space after that work is done.
I haven’t really gone into many details about the symptoms of my pregnancy, primarily because there’s nothing of interest to talk about. However, the most challenging thing has been accepting my body as it has altered and grown. I have a history of eating disorders, and although I’ve been well for many years, those destructive patterns never really went away. I have to be constantly vigilant against the thoughts that tell me I am not good enough and my value is determined by a number on the scales. As such, I believe one is always ‘in recovery’.
It has become more manageable and with time, I’ve learnt strategies to stay mentally and physically well. But pregnancy requires a certain degree of surrender and eating disorders are usually about control. To accept that one’s body will expand at a breakneck speed can be difficult. People often make comments on my size, either saying that I’m huge, or that my bump is small, depending on their own perspective. I don’t actually mind the remarks and I know I’ve done it myself with my friends who’ve had babies before me. Nonetheless, this is the only time in a woman’s life when people feel they have permission to comment on her growing body. If I’d put on a bunch of weight, independent of a pregnancy, I doubt people would greet me by saying ‘Oh wow, you’re massive!’.
As ever, social and main stream media compounds the problem. Women are continually told how we’re supposed to look, and pregnancy is no different. If we put on weight on any other part of the body apart from the bump, we’re somehow a failure. Newspapers and magazines analyse the growth of a celebrity’s bump in excruciating scrutiny. It’s no wonder that many of us feel demoralised as a result.
I think it’s helpful to talk about these things in public as it diminishes the stigma and hopefully will make others feel less alone. I don’t really have much useful advice to offer anyone who might be in the same boat, other than try to talk about it. Insecurities are often fuelled by shame, I believe that dragging these issues out into the open diminishes the guilt and stigma.