Ways to Not Lose Your Identity During Pregnancy.by Claire Chircop
Pregnancy brings with it a rollercoaster of new hormones, new emotions and new lifestyle changes to tackle. It’s a magical experience, but those long nine months can also be a time of self doubt. We go through a lot of changes. Our bodies change, our mindset changes and it's easy to lose who we are.
Keeping our identities during pregnancy can be incredibly difficult! We have so much going on that it just kind of happens. It slips away from us and more often than not we don’t realise it’s happening until it feels like we’re too far in to be saved. Today I’m going to be discussing how exactly you can be saved! Here are four ways to keep your identity during pregnancy.
How do we lose our identities to pregnancy?
We’re labelled as the pregnant one.
I’ve been pregnant twice now and on both occasions, I’ve been referred to as ‘the pregnant one’. It’s naturally how we’re differentiated between ‘normal’ non-pregnant people. There’s no malice intended in the statement, but those simple few words can make us feel like we’re just viewed as baby-makers… And not the amazing, charismatic, fabulous people that we are. As a pregnant person, at what is already a highly emotional period of your life this unconscious bias can feel really belittling.
Our lifestyles change.
Our job is to keep our babies safe and with that come quite a lot of lifestyle changes. There are things we’re no longer able to do, things that make us feel like ourselves and give us enjoyment. We have to limit what we eat and what we drink. We can’t do heavy lifting or partake in various sporting activities. We change our lifestyles to accommodate our unborn babies. It’s not hard to see how being pregnant impacts our loss of identity.
Our bodies change.
During pregnancy, our bodies change quite dramatically. It’s really quite amazing what our bodies go through to grow and nurture our little babies. We’re nothing short of incredible! With that being said, I know just how easy it is to feel alien in your new pregnant body, especially in the first and second trimester when you may not necessarily ‘look pregnant.' As someone who is so self-assured with personal style, I found it really difficult to dress my new body. I really struggled to find clothes that I felt like myself wearing. The vast majority of maternity clothes are either navy striped or floral, which for me personally isn’t really my thing. I really struggled to keep my personal style during pregnancy deeming maternity clothes as trash.
We can no longer keep up.
Adjusting to your new pregnancy body doesn’t just affect aesthetics and how you see yourself. You may also lose your identity during pregnancy due to not being able to do the things you once used to. My iron levels dropped quite drastically during both of my pregnancies meaning I had a huge lack in energy. I struggled to do the most ordinary of things and needed to rest A LOT, something I’m not used to at all. The loss in my physical abilities really affected how I viewed myself, especially in my second pregnancy as I had a toddler to keep up with. The change in our physical abilities can dramatically affect how we perceive ourselves during pregnancy.
Ways to keep your identity during pregnancy.
Being social can be really difficult during pregnancy, especially if you’re suffering from morning sickness and don’t feel up to it. However, maintaining a social life, even if it’s not as adventurous as you’d like, is so important during pregnancy. You don’t need to be out every day catching up with every Tom, Dick & Harry on your Facebook friends list, even something as simple as catching up with a friend over text or video call can be so beneficial. If the last couple of years has taught us anything it’s the power of people and social interactions.
Keep up with your hobbies.
Our hobbies can define who we are as people. They’re big parts of who we are and what differentiates us from our peers. If you’re into running, for example, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy going for a run throughout your pregnancy, you may just have to take it easy, slow your pace or shorten the distance. Keeping up with hobbies and doing what we love maintains our identities and keeps us feeling like us.
I’ve made it no secret that I’ve had a tough relationship with maternity clothes. The biggest way for me to keep my identity during pregnancy was by wearing things that felt like me. I chose to wear things my past, non-pregnant self would wear and this meant sizing up. By sizing up I opened myself up to so many different clothing options and it actually made dressing my bump really enjoyable.
Being pregnant feels like the best excuse to treat yourself. Spend longer in the bath, treat yourself to a pedi with your mani and go and get that blow-dry to make you feel fabulous. There are so many things we can still enjoy whilst being pregnant. Now’s the perfect time to treat yourself! Truth be told, when the baby’s here you may not get time to indulge in all of the self-care goodness, so you’re best off getting it in now whilst you’re pregnant. I loved playing the pregnancy card and treating myself. I’m a massive bath person, but I think by the end of my third trimester I was soaking my tush in the tub five nights out of seven. Complete with bath bombs, oils, face masks, the full works. It was bliss!
So there we have it. Pregnancy can be the most amazing time in a person's life, but it can also be the most difficult. I have such admiration and appreciation for pregnant women because the whole nine months is one hell of an experience… And nobody really tells you how you should do it or what feels normal. We just get by. Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to still feel like yourself, even if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing… Spoiler alert! Motherhood is exactly the same!