Dear Doula, I Want My Body Back!

 PHOTO BY  sha Rich

PHOTO BY sha Rich

Dear Doula,

I want my body back! My ankles are swollen, my belly is so heavy, my breasts are bigger (and leaked through my shirt at work the other day!), and I think I might actually smack the next person to even look like they're about to touch me. I feel terrible for not caring that my baby is the size of an eggplant or that their skin is getting smoother. I used to love my walks to class in the morning. I would get up, get cute, feel the breeze and get there 10 minutes early. Now I feel like a giant, achy monster rolling into class 10 minutes late in sweatpants and my boyfriend's t-shirt. Okay, I'm being slightly dramatic. But still. Please help, I don't know what to do to make myself feel better.

Sincerely,
Body Back
 

Dear Body Back,

The first thing that comes to mind is, be kind to yourself. The number of physical changes your body sustains during pregnancy can easily be overwhelming. We sometimes become so focused on “getting back to normal” that we fail to realize that pregnancy is a time to define new norms.  Here are a few suggestions that come to mind, some were even helpful to me when I was pregnant. 

Boundaries
During pregnancy, people feel free to touch and comment on your body in ways that are completely not ok. Let them know. I’m not saying you should be abrasive, instead, I think you should educate and have fun with it. 

Them: Wow you got so big!
You: Wow, I bet people love it when you tell them that. 0_o

Celebrate small wins
Ok yes, you got to class 10 minutes late, but hey, you got there! I bet you would rather be napping or putting your swollen ankles up somewhere. Instead, you decided to take care of your responsibilities and you got a good walk in along the way! Well done!

Own your style 
Sweatpants and your boyfriend’s T-shirt might not be your ideal signature style but I bet they feel good on your body.  And think of the time you’re saving with not having to iron and color coordinate! I bet you don’t look as bad as you think you do. 

Above all else, remember that this is just a moment in time. Soon enough, your baby will be here and you’ll have moved on to the next phase of life and parenthood. On the days that are rougher than others, take comfort that you’ve moved one day closer to meeting your baby. Find ways to take pleasure in little moments during your day, small acts of kindness extended to you when people realize you’re expecting a baby. Hopefully, when you add up all the pluses and minuses of the day, it all balances out. 

Sincerely,
Malika


Malika Hook Muhammad is the owner of The DC Doula & Womb Wellness in Washington, DC.  She works as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator and doula educator with Doula Trainings International. // instagram // facebook // website


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