Monday, January 25, 2016

Runner's Rambles: Pregnancy and Body Image-- This is real life.

Oh boy. This is one of those things that is rough to share with others. I'm sidelined from running again temporarily due to severe sciatica. Walking, sitting, laying, anything and everything hurts right now, so I've had some time to just think, or overthink rather. Many people, if not all, struggle with body image at least at some point in their lives. I am one of those people. So, let's start from the top.

When I was a teenager, I remember the taunting about being fat. I believed those words because after all, I wore a size 7, and I weighed in at 130 lbs and 5' 5" tall. Um, so that may be hard to picture, but I wasn't fat, I just didn't know that I wasn't fat. I have a small chest, and I'm ok with that, but I was teased about that too. I also have big hips, but I didn't get a whole lot of teasing about that. That is however the feature that I believe people are referring to when they constantly tell me, "but you don't look like a runner." As an adult, I usually weigh in somewhere around 150 lbs, but for the most part, I am generally concerned with the way my body PERFORMS and of course, let's be real, I do still care how I look. I don't put AS MUCH stock in how much I weigh. Usually.

Now I'm pregnant. This is ROUGH. I am fully aware that I am growing a human being, and while I think that part is pretty awesome, it's hard to deal for me personally. I actually lost weight at first because I was sick. Many people know that the first phase is bloating. I have been and still am super bloated. Sooo bloated, and I wasn't a big fan of that stage. It was hard because I felt huge all the time, but I knew that I had lost weight despite the fact that I looked like I had gained weight. It was hard. I am still in that phase where I look chubby instead of pregnant. I'm in that stage where my regular pants don't fit, but I don't need maternity pants because I don't have a "bump." It's a weird place physically and mentally for me. Gaining weight has never been a goal of mine. Losing or maintaining. That's where I'm used to being, and gaining weight is not something I have ever been comfortable with.

The fact that I am bothered by this is bad for two reasons. First, I know that I'm pregnant, and I should just accept the fact that my body is changing because even if other people don't know that I am pregnant, it doesn't change the fact that I am. Also, I know that I am going to get bigger. Much, MUCH bigger. I haven't even started really showing yet, and I am going to get bigger, and I will have to deal with that. There is also a chance that my body will change in ways that I can't even imagine yet. What I am freaking out about, and I know I can't do anything about it, is the way my stomach will stretch. Not just stretch marks that I know so many mothers are proud of, but also the fact that I have surgical scars on my stomach already. I'm not sure what will happen to those scars as my stomach stretches out. I am pretty freaked out about the whole scar thing. I mean, I'm just being real here.

I've already been told by some people that just because I didn't cherish every second of first trimester puking my guts out, that I obviously don't love my child, and that I probably don't deserve to be a mother compared to many other women out there. No joke, Go read a pregnancy forum somewhere on the internet. You will see some crazy stuff. I mean, the thing about social media is that people put up perfect snapshots of their lives, and basically all you see on social media is that pregnancy is amazing and wonderful and every second is beautiful, and that women should love every aspect of their changing body in order to be a good person, a good mother, and a good woman. Well, I guess I'm not any of those things because this has been a rough journey so far that is far from over. And my body will be changed forever, so it truly is far from over. Mostly I worry that I will never get back to running long distances like I'd like to. I know that not just my body will be changing, but so will my whole life. I know that it is possible, and I want to be that person. I am so afraid that I won't be that person though. I'm not sure why, but I feel scared that I won't find a way to make the time. I am a much better person when I run, so I hope that I have the resolve to meet the long terms goals I have for myself of  making my mental and physical health a priority while also being there for my child, but only time will tell if I can balance it all.


  1. No no no. You are not less of a mother or a good person just because you have had some struggles. I think those other people aren't being real if they think that. Pregnancy is hard. It does weird things to our body and our emotions. You aren't alone in these feelings I could have written pretty much this entire post (even down to the small boobs and huge hips). So feel some solice that at least you have a buddy if we are both bad moms. Honestly, I take those struggles as a badge of honor now. Look at what my body did and what I was able to accomplish. It is pretty amazing Michelle what you are doing, but it is ok if you aren't enjoying every second of it. As for running after, if it is something you want to do, you will do it. I love taking George with me too, so that has been a fun bonus of coming back to running post-pregnancy. As for making the time, that is tricky (which is why George comes with me a lot) but if you communicate with your hubby you will find a new routine. And if you ever want to run a race together, I am in with you! I know being sidelined is hard. I was on bedrest for at least half of my pregnancy. It can definitely mess with your mind because you have all this sedentary time to think about things you aren't doing. Just keep moving along, and take advantage of the times that you can be more active. You are doing great!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! I love how you are so real when you post on your blog, and that's what gave me the courage to write this. I don't know when, but we DO need to find a race someday that we can do! I have told Matt that pregnancy is so weird because even now I don't feel like I am pregnant. I just feel like I'm not in charge of my own body. I don't know when pregnancy becomes more real, but at this point I just feel emotional, fat, tired, and deprived of my regular activities. I am excited on the one hand, but on the other hand it is so strange to experience all these things, yet having a baby still doesn't seem real. It is just the strangest experience ever. It can me a real mental trip!!