Reason Number 342 That I’m Glad I’ve Done My Body Image Work
My path to loving my body — at its natural and intuitive and ever-changing shape outside of dieting — hasn’t been an easy path. Nor has it been a straight path. Like any journey, there are ups, downs, insights, fall-on-your-face moments, and everything in between.
But, man oh man, am I happy for all of those moments, both high and low.
Because, now that I’m pregnant (at the time of writing this at least!) — especially pregnant with twins (which is, I’ll admit, is a sight to behold) — I realize that I’ve never had so many comments thrown at me about my body.
From loving friends and family, obviously. But, also 15-minute conversations with acquaintances. Or drawn-out personal questions from COMPLETE STRANGERS.
Basically, I’ve felt like I’ve had a sign on me that read: “Please, tell me what you think of how I look.”
And it usually goes like this: either, “Wow! You’re massive!” or “You’re huge, but only in your belly.” or “Don’t worry, you look great!”
I gotta say: it’s been interesting.
And I’ve never been more grateful for the body image and self-love work I’ve done. Because without that — like, if I was getting this kind of attention, before my FBG ah-ha moment — I would feel very, very different. It’s pretty likely I would’ve been highly triggered by much of it.
I understand that the majority of the comments are from a place of love and support. And I’m grateful for that. I have a strong supportive community around me in so many ways — even at Target, apparently. But, it also reminds me of how far we, as a society, have to go when it comes to breaking free from diet culture and fatphobia.
Many times I try to use these conversations as a way to reinforce the fact that big doesn’t equal bad; size diversity is a beautiful, natural, wonderful, healthy thing. In the case of carrying twins, having a big bump is a very good thing because the longer you can bake them, usually, the healthier they are when they come out. And, of course, my only goal right now is to have healthy babies and listen to my body.
But it also echoes an all-too-familiar cultural belief — beyond pregnancy — that we, as a society, feel the need to reinforce the fact that someone doesn’t look “fat” because, OMG, being “fat” would be the worst, right?
Sometimes I feel like we’ve come so far … and other times, well, not so much.
So, the next time you go to tell a pregnant woman that “you can’t even tell she’s pregnant,” stop and consider if maybe there’s a better message to give her. Some of the best ones I’ve gotten are: “Wow, you are glowing,” or “You’re such an inspiration!” or “You’re doing great, mama.” Heck, even a high-five is awesome.
Even better? Give up your seat or pick up whatever she just dropped on the floor. Now that is helpful.
Want to improve your body image, too? Try these FBG-tried-and-true tips! –Jenn