I almost didn’t post it. Technically, it was a series of underwear photos—Grandma would kill me for sure! But, in a moment of pure awe and wonder of the human body, I shared it anyway.
The intent behind sharing that picture was to celebrate the Divine design of the feminine body. Looking down at my baby girl, I was still gushing with love and appreciation. That picture also opened the door to my work with the BIRTHFIT team which has been nothing short of amazing. That picture was all good… or so I thought.
Shortly after I shared that picture, a few friends mentioned that it made them feel like failures. For them, the picture seemed to say, “this is what a BIRTHFIT pregnancy should look like.” It opened the door to comparison and siphoned off their power. This response couldn’t have been more opposite from my intention; I wanted to spread empowerment, not judgment.
Fast-forward to today and I’m feeling the same judgment from the picture, too. I’m comparing this pregnancy with the last pregnancy and finding myself lacking no matter what the situation. Check this out: in less than 24 hours, I went from feeling like a fat whale with nothing to wear to feeling like a pregnant woman who’s not doing enough to grow a big, healthy baby.
My monkey mind had taken some recent comments about my body and created believable stories around them to perpetuate a longer-held belief that I’m lacking. Here’s the specifics:
- “This is probably the last time you’ll be able to wear this dress”—honest-to-a-fault husband (This dress is tight in all the non-pregnant places. I must be gaining weight everywhere else on my body except for my belly. I’ve let myself go. This is not a fit pregnancy—I don’t look like that picture.)
- “You are SO tiny! Are you eating enough protein?”—midwife (Oh my goodness! Aaaaam I eating enough protein? Or food in general? Am I hurting my baby? Should I be doing more? Am I too intense about working out? Am I in denial about old, destructive eating behaviors? This is not what BIRTHFIT is about! I’m a fraud.)
I finally had an opportunity to investigate these stories and the beliefs behind them. It was an intense and tear-filled session. I breathed deeply, returned to my body, and felt into my personal TRUTH. Here’s what I learned:
- My body is changing differently than during pregnancies 1 and 2. I’m a different woman than I was in 2009 and 2013. It would be a good idea to spend some money on clothes that actually fit.
- My relationship with food is solid. I’m eating for nutrient density and for respect of my body and baby. I’m more in touch with my gentle feminine than ever before. I’m a tall, healthy woman who happens to grow smaller, healthy babies. My body is not wrong.
- Any sense of lack comes from living out generational stories that have been passed down. My mom, my grandma, and everyone who came before them learned the story “you are not enough” at some point in their lives. This is a collective problem, not a personal problem. Chances are you’ve felt this way too.
- With its social media infrastructure, the “look” of BIRTHFIT is more easily perpetuated than the “feel” of BIRTHFIT. Unless you’re directly participating in the local community events and postpartum series that BIRTHFIT offers, your experience of this community can be limited to pictures. Just like with the picture that started this post, the intent is not to show what a BIRTHFIT pregnancy/ postpartum should look like, the intent is to celebrate and honor what it is for individual women during their unique experiences.
Next time you walk down the road of self-judgment, ask yourself if your stories are really true. Since you made up the story, why not release yourself from its suffering and try on a new story? Come back into your body and tap into your truth. Create a new story from this place (instead of the monkey mind) and see how your experiences shift.