I don’t recognize myself or my body

Pregnancy, like puberty, is freaky via theemotionalguide.com

In pregnancy, your whole system and appearance can be thrown off

One of the reasons we love the word “matrescence” is that it sounds like “adolescence,” an apt comparison because being pregnant is like going through puberty all over again. Your hormones go nuts, and it shows. A pimple erupts smack in the center of your forehead like a nasty third eye, and the faded pre-teen stretch marks hugging your hips spread anew like a purple vine creeping towards your protruding middle.

Since adolescence, you’ve had the chance to grow into your appearance and figure out “your look” from head to toe. While you may still struggle to embrace your body (don’t we all some days?) you’ve hopefully found a routine for feeling secure. In pregnancy, your whole system can be thrown off. As your appearance transforms, you may catch your unfamiliar reflection in the bathroom mirror and think, “I don’t recognize myself.”

Pregnancy may be the first time in your adult life you’re not actively trying to lose weight

If you’ve spent most of your life monitoring your weight — watching your shape change may feel like you’re losing control of yourself. In fact, pregnancy may be the first time in your adult life you’re not actively trying to lose weight.
For women who fear the scale, the process of weighing-in at every prenatal visit can become very heavy. One way to make it easier is to ask your practitioner to just tell you that you’re gaining at a healthy rate without having to share with you the exact number on the scale at every visit.

Then there are the physiological changes of pregnancy, like your appetite, your sense of taste, and even your tolerance for foods you used to love. For those of us who live to eat, it can feel like going blind: you’ve lost one key aspect of your sensory exploration of the world. You and your partner used to be adventurous eaters, trying the latest hot place, but when you’re too tired, can’t handle anything spicy, and have to ask about “mocktails” it may feel like you’ve lost a religious ritual.

Try to think of food as not just physically nurturing but a key part of your psychology that strengthens your mind/body wellness during pregnancy. What you eat can also improve your brain function, influence your emotions, and enhance your mood. Food, also, fuels the baby’s growth and your body’s growth, the way sunshine nourishes a plant.

The following are some tips we have gleaned from wellness experts on eating for optimal mind/body health during pregnancy and the postpartum.

o Local:

Fresh and local is best, and organic is even better. Avoid processed, packaged, and fast food, which has fewer nutrients and more chemicals and preservatives.

o Colors:

The more colorful the foods on your plate, the more nutrient-rich they are. Think: orange sweet potatoes, red beets, and green kale.

o Fats:

Don’t be afraid of healthy fats. They’re building blocks for neurotransmitters like serotonin, and can help fight depression. Moderate amounts of fats from grass-fed meat, full fat dairy, Omega 3 fatty fish like salmon, nuts, avocado, and oils like olive oil are good for your brain and your baby’s brain development.

o Chocolate:

YES, Chocolate! A moderately sized, daily piece of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more- the higher the cocoa, the lower the sugar) is a healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings. Research shows that dark chocolate has antioxidants and may reduce blood pressure. It can boost mood, improve memory through flavonoids, and reduce anxiety through polyphenols.

Pregnancy, like puberty, is freaky. But just like the blossom of a little girl to a woman, growing a baby is a gorgeous, powerful, creative act. You may feel like a mess, but try to think of yourself as a work of art. Try to be curious, not critical, about your ripening body and rounder shape. Perhaps, motherhood may bring you a new and healing acceptance of your appearance that you can carry with you into more comfortable years to come. Or, if reclaiming your old shape is essential for you to reconnect with your old self, just give yourself some time — you’ll be able to find her again as you emerge from your matrescence transformation.

Just like the blossom of a little girl to a woman, growing a baby is a gorgeous, powerful, creative act.

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