Feeling Confident and Beautiful During Pregnancy: Tips for Embracing Your Changing Body

While pregnant, rapid changes occur in your body and to your body. For some, this experience is positive and exciting. They love how they look and feel while growing life, and it is easy for them to accept the changes occurring at this rapid rate. For others, the changes feel jarring, and there is an overwhelming sense of lack of control. Pregnancy can dredge feelings of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, depression, stress, and anxiety, amongst other things. Neither of these experiences is good or bad, regular or abnormal, positive or negative. They each are simply experiences of pregnancy. Meeting your feelings about your pregnant body with neutrality is an excellent first step.
Rather than feeling the need to love your new body, I propose neutrality. Looking at your body and thanking it for its ability to carry out the regular tasks you perform each day can be an empowering thing to try. These tasks can differ from body to body, dependent on disabilities, lifestyles, and overall feelings toward your pregnancy. Positive affirmations can be another powerful tool, specifically when spoken aloud. If financially possible, paying a professional to capture photographs of you in your pregnant body can help. Cell phone images taken by a friend or partner can also be valuable, even if you cannot hire a professional. Even if you cannot look at these photographs at first or even for a long time, having them taken might help more with acceptance of your pregnant body. 
On the opposite end of getting photographs of your pregnant body, how you dress while pregnant can significantly impact how you feel in your body. If you are in a transgender or genderqueer body, finding clothes that fit a pregnant belly and feel like you can be challenging. Purchasing clothes a few sizes bigger than your regular size can work for some but, there are also companies starting to develop more gender-neutral or masculine pregnancy clothes, so keep an eye out for those. If you are struggling with how large your belly is growing, wearing clothes that are less obvious about your bump might be the perfect option for you.
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On the other hand, sometimes it feels good to accept the growing bump and purchase all the cute clothes to show off your growing belly. Whatever you choose, dressing in a way that gives your confidence and makes you feel good is the goal. Many thrift stores carry great pregnancy clothes that are less expensive than purchasing off the rack. If funds are super tight, asking a friend or family member to borrow their pregnancy clothes could be the solution you are looking for. Again, wear what makes you feel good in your growing body. Embrace your curves.
Another way to feel better about your pregnant body is by taking care of it. I am not talking about eating certain foods in a specific way or even working out. What I am talking about is finding ways to provide comfort to your body during this pregnancy. For some, this might look like eating the things they crave without guilt or stress, going on daily walks, or doing daily yoga. But for others, this can look like purchasing a pregnancy pillow to help achieve better sleep results, getting body work like chiropractic, craniosacral, or massages, taking naps and resting radically, journaling, daily baths with Epsom salts, etc. Caring for your pregnant body can look different for each individual and their personal needs on this journey. Only you can know your needs, but there is power in honoring those needs.
For those who find it accessible, therapy is another excellent way to work on feeling good about your pregnant body, especially if you have a history of body dysmorphia or eating disorders or are experiencing depression or anxiety about your pregnant body. There are some things that positive affirmations, bodywork, and nutritious foods will not help with. Therapy is for anyone and everyone who can access it and can be profoundly influential. Needing extra mental health support during pregnancy is a regular occurrence, and not enough pregnant individuals receive the help they need. 
Ultimately you will have to decide what will work for you. It might be something in this article, or it might be something completely unrelated. Whatever you find to help work on body neutrality, self-acceptance, and feeling better about being in your pregnant body is the right tool for you. Remembering that growth is sustaining the rapidly developing baby in your uterus and that pregnancy is only a 9-10 month temporary phase are two perspective changers that can sometimes help shift up the way you are viewing this pregnancy. And lastly, it is okay that you are struggling with these changes in your body. It does not make you a bad person or parent. It makes you a normal person and a normal parent. So, deep breaths through the discomforts of pregnancy. You are doing an incredible job. If you never get to a place of feeling better in your pregnant body, that is okay too. Give yourself compassion and recognize that sometimes the best thing you can do is continue forward one step at a time.
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