3 Ways to Accept Your Body as it Changes
By Josephine Atluri
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time of transformation. At the same time, it can also feel difficult to cope with the physical changes that occur. When you strive for your body to look a certain way, it can feel challenging to shift your mindset from one viewpoint to another.
Mindfulness, or present moment awareness, offers techniques to help you tune into your feelings, navigate any difficult emotions, and honor your body for all of the amazing things it is doing during pregnancy. Here are three mindfulness strategies to help you accept your body as it changes.
Take a Time-In to Reflect
Due to the busyness of life, we can become disconnected from how we are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. Taking time in your day to pause and reflect offers a moment to reconnect.
One way to reflect and practice awareness during pregnancy is to do a mindfulness exercise like journaling. Try out this journaling exercise from my new book “5 Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy” to learn how to tune inwards and empower yourself during your pregnancy transformation.
Journal Exercise from “5 Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy”
As your body changes, it may not look or feel the way you want. When expectations clash with reality, it can create turbulent emotions. While you don’t always have to feel positive about your pregnancy transformation, you can learn to accept what is happening in a mindful way and honor your feelings.
Unlike body positivity, body acceptance gives you room to love your pregnant body and be okay with feeling bothered by the weight gain, stretch marks, and/or your overall appearance. Choose one or more prompts to answer in your journal:
- How are you coping with your transformation? Write down how you are feeling about the changes to your body.
- Address any unrealistic expectations you have for your pregnancy body, and explore how you can dismantle these beliefs. Challenge negative thinking by offering a counterargument for each expectation you list.
- Do you have any fears about future body changes? Try writing a coping idea or strategy next to each fear for when this fear bubbles up in the future.
- Write some affirming statements about your pregnancy body to use on the days you’re feeling down about your appearance and need a shift in perspective.
Excerpt from 5 Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy, by Josephine Alturi, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2022 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Detoxify Your Feed
Another way to be mindful as your body changes is to be intentional about the information that you consume. The images and content that we see and read can greatly influence our views and expectations. Without realizing it, you may have certain ideas of what a perfect pregnancy body looks like due to societal expectations and media portrayals of pregnancy.
So one way to help you accept your body’s changes in a healthy way is to set boundaries for what you see and read. Perhaps go the extra step of detoxifying your social media feeds so that you don’t see images and messaging that make you feel bad about yourself.
Sometimes we forget that our bodies are doing incredible things. Another mindfulness strategy to use during pregnancy is repeating a mantra to yourself. A mantra is a vehicle for your mind to stay present in the moment.
When you make the mantra a meaningful phrase, it can also serve as a reminder during tough times. Here are two mantras that you can use during a quick meditation or during everyday life when you need a little support.
- I am growing a life inside of me and it is hard work. I am showering myself in love, compassion, and grace.
- It’s okay if I don’t feel great in my pregnancy body all of the time. My feelings are valid.
Every pregnancy is unique. You may not feel like a goddess every day of your pregnancy and that’s totally okay. Check-in with yourself daily to see how you need to care for yourself. Some days journaling will feel appropriate and other days you’ll need to set your personal boundaries and use mantras to stay grounded. Every day that you can infuse mindfulness into your pregnancy can help you stay true to yourself during this momentous transformation.