Perceptions and role models
Shannon explores the surprising results having a baby had on her self-image.
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When I was pregnant with my first child I was an awful person to be around. I moaned, complained and whined to whoever would listen. I hated being pregnant because it made me fat, spotty and uncomfortable. I refused to allow photos of me and counted the days until it would be over. I dreaded watching my waistline expand and all I focused on the whole time was what I looked like, how huge I was and what others thought of me. My biggest concern about the birth was the fact that my hair would get dirty and I would look awful in the photos. I washed and styled my hair every 3 days from 36 weeks just in case. I packed make up in my hospital bag and seriously considered packing my hair straightener, but settled on dry shampoo.

Priorities switched

Then my beautiful, screaming bundle of joy made her painful appearance and my world shifted. I changed in such a monumental way that I look back at myself now and don’t know who that silly, superficial girl was. As corny as this may sound, having a baby has changed my world – and all for the better.

I now go to work with no make-up on, hair scraped back into a pony tail. I don’t spend hours priming and primping, don’t count calories or worry about what others think of me. I now realize that I don’t need those things to make me beautiful. I feel better, more beautiful and desirable than ever before. Everything is now about how my little girl sees me. I have a little person who I have to be a role model for and the last thing I want is for her to see me as an image-obsessed girl who lacks self-confidence. I can’t preach to my daughter that beauty is from within when I refuse to leave the house without a full face of make up on. How can I teach her about healthy eating and body image when I hate mine?

Changed perspectives

I now can’t wait for my next pregnancy. I can’t wait to marvel at my changing body, show off my baby bump, stretch marks and bigger jeans. Instead of spending 9 months moaning, complaining and whining to all who will listen, instead of begging my doctor to move my due date forward, I hope that I will be as serene and accepting as some of the other pregnant moms I see.  It has taken me having a baby to realize that pregnancy is amazing. I look at my little girl who is now 18 months and I still can’t believe that I created her from scratch. I grew her and nurtured her and fed her and birthed her. How can I not love the body that did that? I hate it that I didn’t enjoy the experience of my pregnancy and birth, I feel like I was robbed of an amazing experience. Hopefully I get to experience it again, soon!

What effect has pregnancy had on your self-image?

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