PREGNANCY DIARIES: DEALING WITH BODY DYSMORPHIA

We’ve all been there right? You try on that new dress and all your friends tell you how amazing you look. Except you’re so focused on that imaginary bit of back fat or some other imaginary imperfection that it blocks you from seeing the true beauty that is you.

I’m here to tell you that you are truly beautiful and that noise in your head, is just that – noise.

I guess, it’s normal to feel a little insecure from time to time but it’s important to recognise when it’s more than that. When you look in the mirror and see something that’s completely distorted to the reality of how you look, it’s time to address the true root cause of these thoughts.

It took me a really long time to accept that it was a lot more than feeling insecure for me. I’ve been dealing with mild Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) for the last few years. Best believe, it was something that I was totally in denial about. JayCee and a few of my friends had tried to raise it with me a couple of times and I’d just roll my eyes and tell them that they were being dramatic. I truly believed that I looked the way I thought I did in my head and that they were all just trying to be nice.

It all stemmed from the fact that I’d lost a huge amount of weight a few years prior, which of course was a good thing as I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. The problem was, even though I then became a size 8 – every time I looked in the mirror, I still saw the ‘old’ overweight version of me. I guess, the root cause for me was fear-based; I was so terrified of reverting back to the unhealthy version of myself. 

Over time, as I embarked on my journey of self-love, I was able to begin working through the BDD. I have to give credit to my amazing fiancé too, who really helped me to love and appreciate every curve of my body. Not to mention all of the little ego boosts he’d give me when we’d train together, and he’d tell me that I was lifting more than some men. It sounds strange but being able to view my body as powerful and strong really helped me overcome the distorted perceptions I held of my body. I began to realise that the people telling me that I looked great, weren’t just saying it because they ‘had to’ so that they didn’t hurt my feelings. 

Though, I was definitely working through this issue, I carried these insecurities into my pregnancy. (Which in fact turned out to be a blessing in disguise)

Pregnancy is such a special and momentous time in a woman’s life. It is completely life-changing, in a way that you’re not really able to comprehend until you’re pregnant yourself. It is indescribable. 

It also comes with so many overwhelming changes; mentally, physically and emotionally. All of which can be so difficult to see, feel and accept. You’re no longer living for yourself. Your body suddenly isn’t yours anymore, and it can even at times, feel alien. I felt like I was suddenly on display; cue the unwanted tummy touchers, unsolicited opinions and comments on my bump size and overall appearance. It’s hard work and it took me a while to fully accept that my growing bump didn’t mean that I was getting fat but that I was growing life inside of me – the most precious thing there is. 

It was tough, especially when all I’d see was countless images of celebrities with the perfect ‘basketball bump’ and always looking so flawlessly put together. I’d stand in front of the mirror every morning examining any minor change in my body, I struggled with increasing my calories to ensure I was eating enough to nourish my baby (morning sickness really didn’t help), I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I’d constantly analyse my growing bump because I thought it didn’t have the perfect ‘basketball’ pop. 

I had to remind myself that these images plastered all over the media aren’t real life – they are a moment in time. A moment, that doesn’t capture the yoga pants, messy buns and ice cream. It doesn’t account for the fact that unlike the majority of us, these celebs are set with a chef, stylist and personal trainer on standby. 

gym

I’ve learnt to love my gorgeous bump and changing body. Being pregnant really has made me hold up a mirror to the Body Dysmorphia I’d been falling victim to. As my body changes and my belly continues to grow, I can’t help but be in awe of how incredible my body is. I’m so in love with myself and I’ve never felt as powerful as I do now: I’m growing life inside of me – to me, there’s nothing more profound. 

I’ve even been able to accept that my pre-pregnancy body was beautiful and curvy. I accepted that my big hips mean that I’d never have had that ‘basketball bump’ so it was a completely unrealistic expectation to have. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have days where I still feel insecure and frumpy, but I remind myself that this is normal and that gaining weight is part of the process. My body is undertaking the greatest and most magical job in the world – I can’t be mad at that right?

 

‘I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life’ – Maya Angelou

Love and Peace
– Jasmine Reinah xo

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