Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Pregnant or fat? Mental Health in Pregnancy

Finding of you're pregnant is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life. However, if you do or have suffered with a negative body image, an eating disorder, low self-esteem etc. it can also be a very hard and stressful time. Especially at the beginning. Your body begins to start changing out of nowhere and you've only just found out you're pregnant! This is when I struggled the most. Up until I had the scan, I was a mess. But after I saw baby at the 12 week scan, it put a lot into perspective for me. And I started thinking and doing differently.
Even if  you have never suffered with a negative body image, you may now and it's all new to you, which can be scary. I've suffered with a negative body image for as long as I can remember and whilst I am aware of this and have 'recovered' from my eating disorder, being pregnant has kind of brought it all back a bit.

But why? 

Because while pregnancy may be the most beautiful miracle and watching your baby bump grow is like watching your baby grow inside you, it is totally out of your control and that, that is scary. Even more so, when you've suffered from a eating disorder.

I can't choose what I eat - you have to be careful: nothing has raw eggs in, no smoked fish etc. so I'm constantly checking the back of food packaging (again), I get loads of different cravings - watermelon (safe), sausage rolls, crisps, chocolate (not so safe) - of course, I don't give in to a craving every time but it's still tough, I feel sick if I go too long not eating. I'm gaining weight everywhere and I can't do anything about it.

Don't get me wrong, I KNOW it's for a good reason. But it doesn't stop bringing back all those feelings I once had. I cry sometimes when I look in the mirror. My legs are fat. My thigh gap is almost non-existent. My arms are getting fatter. My face is getting chubbier. And my bump, just makes me look fat because it's not big enough yet to actually look like a baby bump. OKAY, so I am rambling a bit now. But maybe you can understand what I mean?

Many women struggle with this 'weight gain'. But what is so important to get across is that it's okay. You're not alone. And it does get easier. Trust me, as soon as baby is here, I'll be on a diet! But for now, I'm listening to my body and ignoring that evil voice in my head calling me fat (well trying to the best I can).

So here are my top tips to help keep those feelings at bay and learn to love your pregnancy curves!

Lose the scales!
Probably my most important tip for you. Lose those scales! It won't help whatsoever. What happens if you get on the scales and it says you've gained a stone, what are you going to do? Feel bad. Go on a diet. Potentially harm the baby. The only reason you may need to keep an eye on the scales is if you are severely overweight - of which, gaining too much weight will harm baby.

Something that unsettled me most was reading in a pregnancy magazine (and subsequently, a few online sites), that women should only gain 1-2 pounds in the first trimester!?!!

WHAT? So of course, I ran to the scales AGAIN. And weighed myself. Oh I've put on a stone in the first trimester. Great. Just great. I'm fat. That's it, i'm going to be huge now.

Don't get me wrong, part of me still feels like this. But the most important thing is baby. And considering I was like 'just' underweight (at 7 stone), I think I needed to gain this stone to make sure baby is supported properly.

Another thing to realise is, every woman's body is different. So don't read those stupid quotes in magazines and don't weigh yourself! Simple. Which brings me to my next point...

Don't compare yourself to others
This can be SO easy to do and is so important that you do not do. As I said, EVERY WOMAN IS DIFFERENT. No pregnancy, weight loss, mental health (ANYTHING) journey is ever the same. So why compare?

Those pregnant women in magazines, on clothing websites, yeah they look fab. They'll legs are tiny still. Their bump is perfectly shaped. They have no spots. Their hair is immaculate. Wanna know why? Airbrushing. And it's probably the same story of pictures you see on Instagram. No of course, some women are lucky enough to keep their shape and only gain a little weight and bump. And others gain a lot of weight and have a huge bump. But what does it matter? We all share that amazing miracle that is having a baby growing inside you. That we'll be parents soon.

As I said in an older post here, limit your social media time. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others obsessively, put down your phone and do something you enjoy. Paint your nails, read a book, go for a walk. That's what I do. And trust me, it helps.

Surround yourself with awesome people
Awesome. Positive. Ace. These are people you should be spending time with. Don't spend time with people who are going to put you down, make you feel like crap or make you stressed. You and baby are the most important people. Don't allow anyone to make you feel less than the beautiful, powerful woman you are.

It's so important at any time, but especially during pregnancy, when your feelings (emotionally and physically) are so up in the air, that you have positive people around you you can talk to. Who won't make you feel down, like you're being stupid feeling the way you do. How you feel is completely down to you, it's your feelings and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

You're awesome.

Shopping always helps me feel better, that's why it's called Retail 'Therapy'. After I took the photos for this blog, I felt like my clothes made me look fat, and I got a bit upset. So my mum took me shopping and we got a few bits. Including this ace coat.

Wearing the right things
I have always loved baggy pants, like the ones in these photos. But in pregnancy, not only do they not hug you in so tight they show all your lumpy, bumpy bits, but they are super comfy to wear with your growing bump.

Another thing, I find helps me feel slimmer, confident and happy, is heels. Whether that's killed boots, heels like the ones here. So ace.

A bit of colour never goes a miss at making me happy. As you can see, I do love all black. You know, black is very slimming. So are stripes. And heels. Win win in this outfit. But colour, colour makes us happy. Add a bit of colour to your outfits to make you look confident and happy, and soon, you'll start feeling that. Feeling empowered. That's the reason I bought this bag in the first place.

Well I hope this blog helped you as much as it helped me writing it. Pregnancy is a real rollercoaster of emotions, just remember you are not alone.

If you have any tips yourself, get in touch on bloglovin' or twitter @iamayselulu. Remember we're all in this together. 


  1. Such important things to keep in mind! I definitely gained like 60 lbs when I was pregnant and didn't listen to any of those guidelines! I tried to eat the right things but I gained a lot and ate what I craved. I kinda just went with it - and of course I missed my more "normal" body but growing a child was the main focus! Thanks for the post!

    1. Aw thank you! Yes, I'm really struggling, but at the same time I'm not because I want to feed my baby the best I can go, so it can grow all big and strong!! :) I think I'm more worried about after the baby's here...Dieting, no sleep, exercise, looking after a baby. Going to be difficult to stay sane!! T

      Thank you for commenting,


  2. This was a really good post to read, I'm pregnant too (half way there with a boy too!) and I struggled at first because my usual clothes stopped fitting and I felt like I didn't look pregnant yet so my clothes just didn't look right! Especially being only 5ft 2! And then I would feel guilty at focusing on how I look! It also doesn't help when people comment on the size of your bump, someone saying I had a huge bump early on made me panic, then the next person would say you can't tell your pregnant! And other people actually asking if I've put much weight on so far. I've found staying away from the scales has helped massively and like you just finding a style that feels like you while also flattering your bump :) For me it's been skinny maternity jeans (I'd recommend H&M!) with a loose shirt and ankle boots. I love your outfit, it really suits you! Looking forward to reading more of your pregnancy posts xx

    1. Aww thank you! Yes, that is exactly how I feel! Even now, when people keep saying "wow, you've really popped", makes me anxious. But at the same time, I'm happy that my bump is growing because that means my baby is growing right? Staying away from the scales is definitely the best thing! Because I found early on, I was becoming obsessed with how much I'd gained. I'm just trying to focus for the next few months on just growing my baby and making sure I'm as healthy as possible. Then I'll worry about losing weight later! But it's definitely difficult.

      Ah really! I need to go H&M! I've bought so many maternity jeans and just hated them all! :( And i'm fed up of living in leggings and tights now!

      Thank you for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy my other posts xx

  3. Take a quick moment and think about all the "quick fix" solutions to weight loss out there and how they always seem to fall short of the expectations you have put on them. How much have you spent on such infomercials? Twenty, fifty,...$100?

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  7. It's a nice piece. Reading your first journey on getting pregnant makes me anticipate on mine. Me and husband are TTC. It's been 8 month long and nothing happening. I don't have eating disorder; only eating in disordered time, lol. But seriously though, I am diagnosed with PCOS and still have no idea how to treat it, as husband doesn't want any doctor to be involved. Enjoyed your blog thoroughly though!

    1. Aw thank you lovely! Me and my partner didn't plan to fall pregnant and I too was diagnosed with PCOS at a young age (which they then changed their minds about?) but a family member of mine has it also, and has a little girl. It can take a while, but just keep trying and definitely persuade your hubby. A visit to the doctors won't hurt and may even give you some ideas on how to conceive. There is also loads online you can read on. Just keep trying and I hope you have a little one on the way soon x

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