Love your pregnant body: 10 mantras to embrace your changing shape

4. Pregnancy is a time for me to grow accustomed to ‘stretching’ myself.

Love your pregnant body: 10 mantras to embrace your changing shape

Congratulations! With baited breath, you held the fateful plastic stick in your hand and saw the plus sign (or pink line or two lines) appear in the tiny viewing window. You smiled, you screamed, or you cried tears of joy.

Or maybe all three! You’re pregnant! Welcome to one of the most exciting journeys of your life!

But as your pregnancy progresses, and your body grows, and grows (and grows) many women start to struggle with their new shape. Perhaps you’ve already outgrown your pregnancy clothes. (We’ve been there.) Perhaps someone made some ill-advised comments about your size. (Just. Don’t.) Or perhaps you’re just struggling to recognize the new shape your body has taken. (We get it.)

As you grow with your baby, it is essential that you revisit the self-love your messages that we explored earlier in Your Baby’s First Home: Why Now is the Time to Start Loving your Body. The relationship you have with your body is a critical component of a happy and healthy pregnancy, and a happy and healthy pregnancy is what we all hope and pray for.

As a mother of four, an eating disorder survivor, a fitness instructor for the past 20 years, a volunteer at an eating disorders recovery facility, and the author of “The Self-Care Solution, A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being,” I am personally and professionally attune to the difficulties so many women face when it comes to loving and accepting their bodies.

But it is possible to love your body—and maybe you already do! (If so, congratulations again!)

But if you, like most women, feel a nagging dissatisfaction with your body, now would be a great time to deal with those feelings, as your body is changing and growing in incredible ways.

Assessing your level of body satisfaction is an important first step as you prepare for the changes that will occur in your body over the next nine months. Social pressures to be thin make it difficult for many women to accept their bodies to begin with, and in order for women to truly embrace their changing form throughout pregnancy, it takes extra large doses of self-love, as well as loving support from a partner or friend. If issues are not confronted, studies show that body image concerns may play a role in perinatal and postpartum depression.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The fact that a woman’s body changes during pregnancy is one of the essential realities of our nature as women. But that doesn’t always make it easy to accept when we don’t recognize the woman in the mirror, or we fret about how we will ever return the body we had before baby.

The following messages are essential reminders of how to make sure the lens in which you are viewing yourself is clear.

Repeat these mantras when you find yourself criticizing your shape, or obsessing over your weight gain—

1.My body is charged with a powerful mission—to house, feed, nurture, and protect my growing baby.

2. From a place of gratitude and self-respect, I will honor the changes in my body and treat my body with loving care.

3. My purpose is now twofold—I must take care of my body for my own health and well-being, and for the health and well-being of my growing baby (this message will be critical for you throughout your whole motherhood journey).—I will trust my body and feel grateful for its incredible ability to carry my child and feed my baby postpartum (if I so choose).

4. Pregnancy is a time for me to grow accustomed to “stretching” myself—my body, mind, and heart—none of which will ever be exactly the same as they were before entering the world of motherhood.

5. I will feel good about nourishing my body with nutrient-rich food and plenty of water, will exercise my body to keep my muscles and organs healthy and strong.

A photo posted by Cierra Joy (@itscierrajoy) on

6. I deserve to rest. I will make sure I get enough sleep for my health and my baby’s health.

7. With a deep sense of self-respect and self-love, I will be in tune with my body’s signals so I can decipher its needs. I will find joy in “eating for two” and resting more often than usual but will not use pregnancy as an excuse to disrespect my body by being over indulgent or self-defeating, which will most likely trigger feelings of shame.

8. I won’t become overly obsessed with the numbers on the scale but will listen to my doctor and heed her/his advice about taking good care of my body during pregnancy.

9. I will ask for emotional support from my partner or good friends when I need it.

10. If I am battling disordered eating or compulsive exercising, I will seek help from a professional so I do not cause harm to myself or my baby.

The bottom line is that your body needs to make some very big changes during pregnancy, and you can’t predict exactly how those changes will occur in your body, and what they will look or feel like.

But however your pregnancy journey unfolds, please be kind to your body—not only in the way you treat it but in the way you feel about it.

Be kind to yourself and understand the importance of loving and caring for your body during pregnancy is a great stepping stone for loving and caring for your body and yourself throughout motherhood.

Join Motherly

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Vanessa Firme/Instagram

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

Keep reading Show less