Yeah…Immaeatthat

Jul 25

A goodbye to my pre-pregnancy body.

Come November 11th (or whenever baby girl decides to make her debut), I feel like me trying to get my pre-pregnancy body back would be like me trying to get my 8th grade body back.  I’ll be in a completely different life stage with a body that is right for that life stage.

Bodies are made to journey.  They are made to change.  Our society promotes staying the same, being obsessed with a certain body size, and if you get away from that body size begin making efforts to return to prior body size ASAP.  

Postpartum I will continuing choosing how I want to care for myself…and that has nothing to do with aiming to end up at a particular body size.  For me, taking care of myself involves nurturing a spiritual life, investing in relationships, talking about my feelings (my least favorite one…but necessary), eating consistently throughout the day (I’m a 3 meals and 2-6 snacks kinda of person), eating what my body is craving, being curious about new hobbies I want to try out, and doing movement that feels good.  I’ll be doing those things because they make me a complete person, not because they guarantee a certain body size.

I’ve mentioned before how people talk about gaining the “Freshman 15” / “sophomore spread” / “junior jump” in college like it’s something to be avoided.  In college, that body change is just your body going from a teenager’s body to an adult body.  Your body is supposed to change and stay changed.  Pre pregnancy to post pregnancy is no different.  Your body is supposed to change.

Something that has been a bit scary for me in pregnancy was the worry that I’d be upsetting the balance of peace I had finally found in being my current body size.  When I fully immersed myself in intuitive eating and intuitive movement my body gained weight and then I stayed around that weight for years.  Now with pregnancy it’s like, “oh boy, here we go again.  My body is off to find a new size.”  I believe body sizes are made to journey and this time has still been an experience in self-compassion for me.

I know the way to find peace in my body size is to find peace and fulfillment with things outside of my body size / food / exercise.  However, I knew my body was / is about to change the most it ever has in a 9 months period.  The speed with which some of these changes come on in pregnancy makes it hard to wrap my head around one before BOOM I’ve got another body change and another.  I believe these changes are excellent practice for preparing me for the changes / uncertainty of motherhood.  I really do! Most days I view the changes with excitement and appreciation and a “ohmygosh this is the coolest thing my body has done” feeling and other days it’s new and I feel very neutral about the body changes :)  Some changes I’ve noticed at 24 weeks pregnant: 

  • At breakfast with a friend Monday morning I was sitting at a table, eating a crepe, when I felt my hand touch my stomach.  It was a place where my stomach usually doesn’t bulge out to and I was like, “whoa! what is that?! Oh. It’s my body. Okay. That’s new.” I told the friend about the experience…and then we moved on to talking about something far more interesting to me than my body size.  Another friend I was recently at breakfast with mentioned that a couple months after giving birth to her kiddo she put her hand on her hip and was like, “what is that?!” What she was feeling was her hip bones were now in a different place than they were before. Changes! 
  • I’m more soft and fleshy now and look pregnant.  Recently, someone told me I looked chubby.  Yep.  It was an interesting comment.  At the time the comment kinda caught me off guard and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.  In the moment I said, “there are far more interesting things to talk about than my body size.”  Having had time to process it, in the future I’d say, “I hope I look chubby.  That’s how my body should be looking right now.” I love that Eat, Pray, Love scene where Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts are swimming in the ocean and he tells her she’s soft and fleshy like it’s the best thing ever.  I channel that scene when I’m feeling particularly soft and fleshy :)
  • There is no better way to describe my body right now than mammalian.  It’s really the best word I can come up with.  I don’t mean it with a negative connotation…it’s just natural.  I remember going to the zoo as an adult and seeing a mom and baby elephant together for the first time.  The mom elephant had huge breasts and it was like, “whoa!”  If you’ve seen an elephant who just had a baby then you know that elephant breasts are quite a sight! I’m not saying I feel like an elephant.  I’m just saying that the mom elephant looked so different than any elephant I had ever seen before and it took me a while to get used to how that mom elephant looked.  For me, every day is a new day to accept and embrace how this new body of mine looks…because it is different.

Postpartum I won’t be pursuing getting my pre pregnancy body back.  I may want to.  I’m sure I’ll feel foreign in my body and small talk conversations with people will be laced with their comments about putting forth effort to get that pre-pregnancy body back.

I can see why focusing on getting one’s pre-baby body back would be very appealing when life seems out of control as one is trying to care of a child that they don’t know how to care for and probably will feel like they don’t even know how to care for oneself anymore.  Having laser focus on getting a certain body size back would be a way to cope with the situation while also numbing away from it.  That’s not how I want to cope with the situation…because focusing on that would just be a distraction for the experience of motherhood.  Mom’s out there may be like, “umm you’re going to want a distraction.  It’s exhausting.”  But I’d much prefer netflix as a distraction than blaming my body size for the stress of motherhood.  

I’m sure I’ll have thoughts of, “holy crap this body feels so different…I feel uncomfortable.” But how I choose to cope won’t involve running to food rules or exercise.  It’ll involve addressing the fact the I just gave birth and now this is overwhelming and I’m exhausted and this is how this life stage is going to be and there is nothing wrong with my body size being exactly what it is in this moment and somedays it’s really tough and some moments feel like beautiful magic & happiness.

That said…I feel it’s okay to feel the pressures of wanting thinness and feeling ourselves desiring to believe the myth, which is that thinness will bring us contentment and fulfillment.  Feeling uncomfortable in one’s body can feel crippling at times (I know.  I’ve felt it before.) and I don’t think that’s something people talk about that much.  Instead of talking about how we can accept our natural body size for a certain life stage / what that crippling feeling of being uncomfortable in our bodies is really signaling, the majority of society instead focuses on what we should eat / shouldn’t eat / the steps we’re taking to get our pre-pregnancy body back asap.  

I want to be a person who is at peace with her body changing size throughout her life.  I always found it difficult to live an interesting life when I was obsessed with keeping my body size the same.  My big picture goals for me are health and happiness.  I know striving for weight loss / overeating / restriction / over exercise provides temporary excitement and / or distraction.  However, it’s a myth that weight loss or disordered behaviors are going to solve my problems.  Basing your worth off your body size will always lead to an unfulfilling and disappointing life because body’s are made to change.  To the person who finds meaning and purpose in their body size, I imagine aging has to be terrifying because your body will look different at 45 than it does at 27.  How much easier would that journey in aging be if your sense of self wasn’t tied to your body size? I feel like my eating disorder stunted my sense of self and I’m in year 7 of building and molding what that sense of self looks like.

Moral of the story: Just like my body knows how to gain weight in pregnancy, my body will know how to find the size that is right for it after birth.  I have no idea how postpartum is going to feel or how it’s going to affect me.  These are just some thoughts on how I’m feeling now.  I hope this post is beneficial to moms, pregnant women, future pregnant women, non-pregnant women, and maybe even the men supporting women out there:)

69 comments on “A goodbye to my pre-pregnancy body.”

  1. WOW. I really enjoyed reading this post. I have no intentions of getting pregnant any time soon (I’m only 21!) but your sentiment resonated so much. Bodies change! And that’s okay! To be honest, I tell this to my mom (who is in her late 50s) all the time – she’s very preoccupied with her skin and I’m always like… it would be weird if your skin looked the way it did when you were my age! Wrinkles and gray hair are beautiful! Kylie, I know you’re also quite young, but you think you would be able to write a post on accepting other aspects of body changes (e.g. signs of aging) in addition to body size? Thanks for your inspiring words, as always!

  2. This is so very great. I believe these are fears many new moms, especially those with disordered eating, have had or will have. I think you have addressed them beautifully here. I love those comparisons and the fact that the Freshman 15 and any other body changes of the past that have made to seem “not normal” are totally normal. It was this perception that really helped me. I like how Robyn Coale addressed it as this new body is her “non-diet woman body.” It took these comparisons and that phrase to help ME understand that my body is not SUPPOSED to look at 32 like it did at 25 or 26. For years I thought something was wrong with me, but this acceptance and realization that the body changes overtime and it’s inevitable helps create the dissonance needed to understand.

  3. You are so great. I love this. I have a friend who just had a baby and she never had body image issues beforehand, but now is struggling because she’s in a very much different body (larger hips, etc) that she just didn’t have before. I shared this with her and have been here supporting her in loving her body since she gave birth. So proud to know you…;)

  4. I think my most favorite comment in your post is the (i’m a 3 meals and 2-6 snacks a day) I can totally relate. Some days I feel like I need snacks all day long and feel bad for eating every hour but then remind myself, I am growing a human! I had my first waking up in the night starving experience last night and immediately thought of you!

  5. I hope you can maintain that attitude. I’m sure you know this, but for a few weeks after having that babe you’ll probably still look pregnant and then your tummy will probably be mushy for several weeks after that. It eventually settles into something that resembles your pre-pregnancy body. :-)

  6. the best thing that ever happened to me was getting pregnant way back when. my metabolism had been out of whack from what I remember during the year before I got pregnant because I had just recovered from amenorrhea. I was the happiest pregnant person and didn’t even exercise really while pregnant aside from maybe a daily walk. and then after my son was born, I feel like my body settled into place so nicely. While I’m sure nursing helped, without even trying my body went right back to it’s normal happy size without exercise or thought about what I ate at all. I felt as though my normal for me metabolism returned and I didn’t need to think about it. I didn’t return to running or any form of exercise other than keeping up with my son until he started preschool and I don’t regret it for one second. I would do it all again the exact same way. it’s a wonderful time in life – wishing you a wonderful pregnancy xoxox

  7. I so relate to this–although I fell into this trap after my first. I actively dieted and I think that’s what affected my milk production. My baby fell to the 0% in weight (healthy otherwise, but totally cranky all the time, and now I know why) and I believe it was because I wasn’t eating enough. (Docs/nurses will tell you that even women in famine can produce enough high-quality breast milk to feed their children, but I cannot see how dieting did not affect my milk production.) If I’m lucky to get pregnant again–and that’s been a struggle because of the aforementioned dieting–I will not actively work toward losing the weight post-pregnancy. Rather, I’ll trust that my body will move to where it needs to be.

    • Yes! This happened to me too. My docs also made it seem like restricting wasn’t the cause but I’m certain it was. I am now pregnant with number 2 and will be following Kylie’s advice here!

    • Jennifer, I completly agree. Same happened to me. I was so focused on trying to show everybody that I could loose that weight that I did not realize that my baby was not getting enough food. (I had to give him a bottle for a while for him to gain) with the second I brought nut-chocolate cookies into the hospital and started eating them an hour after his birth ;) it was wonderful. (btw. I still lost most of the baby weight, not as fast, not as targeted but I was happy and fed and so was the baby!) I wish you the best of luck with having another pregnancy!

  8. Kylie, this is so great. I’m not yet married or pregnant, but I often think about how much pressure society puts on women post-pregnancy. There’s even pressure on women to look a certain way while pregnant. It’s ridiculous — bodies are meant to change! What an amazing gift that we women can grow a human being. Thank you for being a different voice for women and encouraging us to focus on what truly matters :)

    • Yes this! I meant to mention this in my comment but I’m glad you said it! It’d totally awful that we are supposed to lose weight right after pushing a human through a tiny hole or in my case undergoing major surgery to bring my baby into this world. Society needs more respect for women but especially while pregnant and postpartum

  9. I love this post! I have been reading your blog for awhile but this is my first comment :)

    My first baby is 5 months old now, and some but not all of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. If I’m honest with myself, I was secretly hoping to effortlessly lose the weight…everybody says breastfeeding makes the weight fall off, and while I do know some people who were actually their smallest size while nursing without dieting or excessive exercise, for others the opposite is true and your body hangs on to fat – just in case you need it. :) lol.
    Having never struggled with ED or had what society views as a large body, pregnancy and especially postpartum have been valuable experiences for me as I’ve had to learn to trust my body more. It knows what it’s doing.

    I highly recommend having leggings and looser shirts on hand for postpartum. At least for me, wearing maternity shirts (especially form fitting) after pregnancy was not a confidence booster since they are typically designed to show off a bump. I rocked my stretchy maternity jeans and/or leggings and flowy tops and felt good in that – but more importantly, it felt like I could focus on the baby and be comfy, not worrying about how I looked. About a month postpartum I bought a pair of jeans that fit my body. Best decision ever!

    P.S. The day that my pregnancy app informed me that I was gaining weight at a faster-than-recommended rate was the day that I deleted that app. Buh bye!

  10. One of your most insightful, well-written posts yet. And that’s saying something! Thank you for the work you’re doing!

  11. Great post! Also if I do say so myself November 11 is a fantastic birthday (mine ;)) 11/11 FTW.

  12. What a well-written post, and ever-so relatable to this 38 week+ pregnant lady that’s fought body image issues/ED’s for many years. I’ve been reading for nearly a year and get so much benefit from your insights. I know something that’s helped with my body image throughout pregnancy is gently reminding myself that my body knows what it’s doing and it’s doing it to support and bring life to my little girl. I also think about the fact that likely any negative self talk could cascade to the little one..and that really helps me!

  13. I feel like I am echoing many of the comments above, but wow, this was wonderful. I am not pregnant, nor will I be in the foreseeable future, but my body has been through quite a change over the last year, so I appreciate how much I can relate to this post despite not being pregnant.

    “I feel it’s okay to feel the pressures of wanting thinness and feeling ourselves desiring to believe the myth, which is that thinness will bring us contentment and fulfillment. Feeling uncomfortable in one’s body can feel crippling at times… Instead of talking about how we can accept our natural body size for a certain life stage / what that crippling feeling of being uncomfortable in our bodies is really signaling, the majority of society instead focuses on what we should eat / shouldn’t eat…
    I want to be a person who is at peace with her body changing size throughout her life. I always found it difficult to live an interesting life when I was obsessed with keeping my body size the same. My big picture goals for me are health and happiness. I know striving for weight loss / overeating / restriction / over exercise provides temporary excitement and / or distraction. However, it’s a myth that weight loss or disordered behaviors are going to solve my problems.”

    This was such a great reminder for me to keep going in the direction I am going (away from diet-mentality) even when I feel like slipping back into it is the only answer. Thank you so much.

  14. I loved this reflective post. I’ve never been pregnant but I know this is something that I will worry about. I try to remind myself that a healthy/happy body will find its way to a nice post-pregnancy place without micromanagement. As much as you hear about women dissatisfied with the changes in their body post-pregnancy, I have to remind myself that I also see a ton of women who aren’t. My sister, for one, is finally at a place where she no longer is obsessed with her body/exercise after 2 babies and probably weighs less than pre-pregnancy (guessing since she doesn’t weigh herself). I also go to an all-women workout class and 80% of the women there have kids, and if I would classify their body shape it would be strong, healthy, functional and feminine. So even though we are overwhelmed with advertising that the post-pregnant body is “bad”, I remind myself that reality doesn’t necessarily support that.

  15. I SO needed this right now. I took my time to lose the pregnancy weight through healthy eating and exercise. Can I just say it is TOUGH to exercise on little sleep! 2-3 times a week was good enough for me versus 4-5 times a week pre-baby. I was finally (just barely) able to fit in my old jeans after 6 or so months. I nursed my daughter until 14 months. Then, I had an ankle injury that kept me from running, I stopped nursing, and I finally got my period back. BUT my body decided that it doesn’t want to fit into my old jeans anymore, even though I’m eating the same way and still exercising (less running, more weightlifting). I don’t get it! What’s the deal?! But this is my body now. Maybe it’s meant be this way. I can’t imagine restricting my diet or exercising any more without sacrificing overall happiness. As you said, it is all a journey. I’ll get to my destination when I get there. But I want to get there happy and full :)

  16. Very true and inspirational! Sadly I was one of those women who restricted and controlled her weight during pregnancy. Towards the end though, it just got so depressing and tiring to not eat all the foods my body wanted and needed that I started letting go a little at a time and after having Grayson this year in March, the stress of restricting was too much. So it led me here and what a wonderful place this is! I’m definitely not all better but I’m on the road to recovery I think finally. I’m reading the “F*ck it diet” blog as well. You both are very helpful! Thank you for your amazing message and thank you for letting me know it’s ok to relax. I hope you’re feeling amazing! Grow that baby!

  17. Also creamy oatmeal is the best! Can’t believe I’ve been using water this whole time!

  18. Thank you for such an insightful post. You are so good at articulating so many things. My body held onto a bit of baby weight until after I weaned each of my three children. Then it went back to the weight I forced it to maintain. I have obsessed over those numbers for as long as I can remember. I am struggling now as I watch my body change through menopause. I feel such pressure to look at 54 exactly as I did at 34. Part of me wants to restrict my diet more and exercise harder because that’s what I always did. Another part of me has zero interest in giving up my glass of wine before dinner or the significant amounts of almond butter and avocado I consume. I love your thought that our bodies are supposed to change through life. It’s not a sign that I’ve let myself go (I hate that phrase). It’s an indication that I’m in a new stage of life and my body should be different. I want to focus on feeling good and being my healthiest self, not my thinnest self.

    • Hey Nancy, I hate the phrase, “i’ve let myself go” too. It should actually be –> “i’m finally taking care of my physical and mental health for the first time!” Maybe you’ve already read this, but Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast has addressed in the past how in menopause the weight you gain (sometimes around your belly area) is actually a life preserver. In menopause, your estrogen levels decrease so –> estrogen is a sex hormone that needs fat to be produced –> so body fat levels increase to try produce more estrogen. Weight gain in menopause should be viewed as your body taking care of itself.

  19. In my totally unqualified non-expert opinion, I think (assuming you are healthy, nourished, etc.) having babies is a great way to get over obsessing about food, exercise, your body, your job, your clean house, making perfect meals, trying to be perfect, etc. Obsessing about anything, really, is selfish behavior. Before you have kids you have lots of time to be selfish. Enjoy it! Relish it! Exploit it! Having a baby just doesn’t leave time for any of that. I think it’s such a great natural progression from focusing on yourself to focusing on others and the world around you.

  20. I love this! I have a three year old and an eight month old, as well as a history of anorexia and excessive exercise. When I got pregnant with my oldest son I was not sick anymore but was definitely not eating intuitively. I ate certain things at fairly predicable times and still felt pulled to exercise on most days. I had a great pregnancy and continued to eat and exercise like normal for the most part. I lost weight easily after giving birth and felt amazing. My son was naturally a good sleeper so I was well rested and I loved being his mother! Pregnancy with my youngest son was totally different! I was nauseous all day until about 18 weeks and was forced to eat differently than I was used to. I embraced the change! I ate whatever I was craving and I ate often to combat the nausea. I haven’t returned to my “normal” body and I don’t think I will. I’m exhausted and have dealt with some PPD I think. I eat far more intuitively than I ever have before but I’m frustrated with my new body. I just want to feel good in my own skin. I’m also frustrated that I’m frustrated! I feel so recovered from my anorexia but I’m still not comfortable in my body. I know bodies change with time even without pregnancy and I try to remind myself of this often. My body is remarkable! I battled anorexia and amenorrhea and yet was able to give birth to and breastfeed two healthy babies. I should seriously throw my body a thank you party! But I just can’t seem to accept myself.

  21. Everything about this is just so great.
    I’m in college and a long ways from having kids but your comments on the “freshmen 15” changed the way I view my recovered body. When I have a hard time accepting my new (to me) body I remind myself that it’s my woman body and I don’t want to look like a teenager forever that would be weird. Also, following along with your pregnancy experience (the good and the bad) has awakened this sort of maternal instinct I’ve never had before that reminds me to keep fueling my body because someday I really want to have kids!! Keep doing what you do 😊

  22. Just what I needed today! I’ve been really struggling with some body changes, even though I know the psychological benefits of taking on intuitive eating outweigh (no pun intended!) any body changes.

  23. Seriously, you are such an inspiration. I love how you’re trying to embrace your body and the changes that come with each stage of life – it’s a really hard thing to accept! Especially, kudos on accepting that your post-baby body is gonna be different than pre-baby…I hate how much pressure society puts on women to “get back their body” after having a baby. SO many more important things new mamas should be focusing on! You have the best attitude, I hope one day when I’m preggo I can have that kinda thinking.

  24. Yes! to everything you discussed in this post. I had my daughter a little over 2 years ago and I really struggled post partum with self-imposed expectations for what my body should look like. I really regret that I wasn’t able to be more content with the way I looked and just slow down. I think that all the points you made will be so helpful to all the moms to be out there!

  25. Kylie, you are just awesome. Love that you reinforce that it is a MYTH that thinness will equal happiness and contentment, and the fact that when we pursue that, we are actually unable to lead fulfilling/interesting lives. So thankful for you and your blog!

  26. This post just further fueled my passion for my major and the non-diet approach!!! I am a dietetics student and realized in the past year from working at WIC and taking a lifecycle nutrition class that I am super passionate about mom/baby health. What’s interesting is that I realized this passion as I was digging deeper into intuitive eating/healthy body image through reading yours and others blogs, listening to podcasts, etc (since they don’t teach you much about it in school). So this allowed me to really realize this disconnect between what pregnant women/moms are exposed to in society and even the fear that can be cultivated in the doctor’s office, and the benefits that an intuitive eating approach/healthy relationship with food could bring them. How interesting too that babies and young children are the prime example of intuitive eaters…and if more mothers knew the benefits of intuitive eating we might have less work to do with future generations :)
    Anyway, I hope that one day I am able to use my career to help women not only properly nourish thenselves and their babies, but create a mindset to accept their changing bodies…just as you described. You are such an inspiration, Kylie <3

    • Don’t even get me started about how they don’t teach about intuitive eating / body image work in school! SO FRUSTRATING! I’ve finally realized it wasn’t my program’s ‘job’ to fix my disordered eating…but EDs/IE/disordered eating/disordered exercise behaviors should have been addressed better!

  27. Thank you. As someone who relapsed into anorexia post-baby, I really believe that more people need to hear this message.

  28. Thank you so much Kylie. I am not pregnant yet (hopefully next year) and I have only really fully committed to a neutral approach to my body in the past year so I get afraid that I am going to relapse into restrictive behaviours after future baby is born. I’m going to print out this post and keep it close at hand any time I feel those urges coming, whether pregnant, post-partum, or waiting to be pregnant.
    I loved this line especially “I always found it difficult to live an interesting life when I was obsessed with keeping my body size the same.”
    I want an interesting life, and that doesn’t leave room for obsession with my body size. Thanks Kylie as always for your wisdom x

  29. Great article! Postpartum is definitely a very triggering time for many and I’m happy you’re already self aware and self compassionate to expect so many changes. I hope all the best for you!

  30. I feel like postpartum gets a bad rap, but I really loved it. It’s an amazing time. I slept better with a nb than I did at the end of pregnancy, I was surrounded by people I loved, and I found it facisnating watching my body return to “normal” function rather than “grow a baby”. Certainly my body looks and feels different than it did before, but birth is such a transformational experience I think it’s fitting to not look exactly the same. 🤗 Enjoy!

    • Thanks for sharing this insight, Michelle! I love the idea of viewing your body with curiosity, awe, and patience as it returns to “normal” function :)

  31. Love your post and the reader comments! I particularly appreciated your thoughts about responding to people who make less than kind remarks about your body size- pointing out that your body is exactly where it needs to be is a very gentle way to assert that critical comments are unhelpful. I hope you feel beautiful pregnant with all those special “mammalian” curves we get to rock during this phase of life! (I find that the song “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt brings a smile to my face these days at 32 weeks pregnant.) Enjoy the last few weeks of your second trimester!

  32. Love this! Your body will settle down on it’s own. As someone with a 14 month old daughter, I couldn’t imagine spending my time worrying about calories or exercise regimens. The days past so fast (because how on EARTH is my daughter 14 month old 🤣).

    Enjoy ALLL the days, momma! And enjoy your last couple months alone with your husband. The best is definitely yet to come!

    • Love this commment, Traci! So many people can be like, “you have to take a vacation with your husband now because it’s NEVER going to be the same.” And I’m like, “we want a child! I know it’s not going to be the same.” A lot of people act like having a baby is a burden that changes everything for the worst / increases stress, but we’re excited for what’s to come! Changes and all! Thanks for the positive vibes!

  33. Let me echo the thoughts of so many others…what a wonderful post. And I hope it doesn’t sound horribly patronizing to say that I found it amazing how much insight you have into this already at this stage of your pregnancy. It seems like something that you have to experience in order to “get,” but you really get it already. It undoubtedly speaks to the depth of work that you’ve done up to this point. But it’s impressive, still. 

    I remember several weeks after the birth of my (beautiful, wonderful, colicky as all hell) first daughter, in the throes of sleep deprivation and round-the-clock breastfeeding, I ate a cheeseburger at like 3:00 in the afternoon, for a snack. It threw me for a loop. I had done a lot of work to get to the point of trusting my body’s cues and responding graciously, but this seemed too far away from the norm. Turns out I had done a lot of work to trust my body’s cues and respond graciously ONCE, as I moved away from eating disorders, but that same work had to be done again. And again. And again. As you said, it is our life’s work, in part, to consistenly reexamine what it is our body needs and how we may best respond. 

    And yet, to take this one step further, it may not be so intentional as that. It wasn’t for me. It was a crapshoot full of missteps and shortcuts, and more often than not my choices revolved around survival over nurture. For a time, at least, intuitive eating gave way to just eating, and hoping (and trusting) that my body would do what it needed with those things that I was able to give it, be that a long bath or a half a jar of cookie butter, four hours of nonconsecutive sleep or a long cry. 

    Thank you for your thoughts, Kylie. Your daughter is a lucky little lady to be getting you for a mama. 

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Kate! In my first trimester there were a few times I had a bacon cheeseburger for an afternoon snack because I was having trouble getting full :) Intuitive eating is such a journey in curiosity and a constant learning experience of how to take care of our ever changing bodies.

  34. I read *all* of your posts. Your thoughts really help me as I try to return to a more balanced lifestyle. This one brings a smile to my face. I have a 5 year old and my disordered eating didn’t begin until I “tried to get my pre-baby body back”. I started that journey about 3 years after giving birth and it really spiraled out of control over the last 2 years, landing me a full 30 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m not even 5 foot tall and this size is unnaturally small for me. So thank you, because your family needs you healthy more than you need to be “in control” of your weight.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Krystal:) I love this line –> “your family needs you healthy more than you need to be “in control” of your weight.” YES.

  35. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, and one thing that I have needed to do in order to get pregnant is gain weight. After struggling with over-excercising and restriction this hasn’t been easy, but when I think about what the end result is (healthy mom, physically and mentally, and healthy baby) it all seems worth it. I know changes while pregnant and postpartum will be difficult but this post gives me so much comfort in that change is okay, even good, and totally normal. 

    Thank you as always for your insightful and spot-on post!!

  36. Great post, and I can appreciate your message since I am just a couple of weeks behind you in my own pregnancy and noticing a lot of changes in my body! I like to read some various pregnancy message boards for general product recommendations and chit chat, but I have found that one common and very unfortunate concern from lots of moms is that their doctors are shaming them for gaining weight during pregnancy! Women talk about leaving their OB appointments crying because at 20 weeks they have gained XXX pounds and doctor instructed them that they should not gain *any more weight for the remainder of their pregnancy*! I’m sure for some cases there may be medical concerns, but its really sad and dangerous to instill such fear and shame in women, I think. Anyway, that’s just an observation I have made. I think some of these doctors should read your blog ;)

    • Yikes! What a stressful situation! I wouldn’t say I’m in love with my OB’s office (but I’m aware I have some unrealistic expectations concerning the care and attention to feelings I should be receiving lol), but I was very clear with them that I have a history of an ED and the topic of weight should only be brought up if absolutely necessary. I told her “I believe my body knows how to gain weight and pregnancy and I don’t need to micromanage it.” And she seemed to have no problem with this and my weight hasn’t been brought up once.

      A recommendation to “not gain anymore weight for the reminder of pregnancy” would be impossible, especially if the woman was only at 20 wks. That makes me sad that some women have that experience!

      Congrats on your pregnancy, Karen!

  37. Kylie, I am so glad you are going through this before me, because I look up to you so much and really respect your thoughts and how you deal with the poisonous messages of society.  Thank you so much for this post and always giving us such a refreshing perspective!!  Also very excited for the new little girl!😉💚

  38. Hi,

    Thanks for writing this post. As a fellow intuitive eating RD, with 2 kids (my youngest just turned 1) I can definitely relate and wish that there were more articles and posts like this for moms, especially new moms.
    Just like your body will change after baby it also changes from pregnancy t o pregnancy. It was hard for me to accept that at first and I definitely like you mentioned sometimes have that pressure of feeling like I should be thinner than I am (especially as an RD) and also have points where it feels uncomfortable. That being said, I think that I am in a good place right now, especially now that I have weaned from nursing and feel like my body is mine for the first time in 2 years.
    I know that you are practicing self-care, but I want to tell you what I wish someone would have told me. It can be really hard post-partum on your body and mind, especially if you have atendency towards anxiety and depression. It takes a while to recuperate and for me, I always feel like until I stop breastfeeding I don’t feel totally “normal.” I don’t know if it is the hormones that come from it but both times I noticed a big change in how I felt about my body once I stopped breastfeeding.
    Also, my biggest advice is to try and prep some meals prior– and get help especially around the 3rd/ 4th month. I felt like at first I was eating well and people were helping out but then by the 4th month I was on my own and half of the time found myself not eating and just snacking on random things. the times I had actual meals I felt a lot saner. Also, buying some clothes for your changing body is really helpful and will make you feel more you again.

    • Thanks for this comment, Christine. I’ve definitely had feelings lately of my body isn’t mine anymore, especially with some really awful back tingling that has started this week. Also, I definitely am a person who has a tendency towards anxiety and just general down feelings, so I appreciate you sharing your experience.

      Thank you <3

  39. Ohhhhh goodness, I needed to read this tonight! THANK YOU! I’m 20 weeks pregnant and was having one of those I-get-that-my-belly-is-getting-bigger-but-where-did-this-ass-come-from nights and all I can say is thank you! I will not go through my disordered eating past or the journey to pregnancy or just how thankful I am to be here but this was just the reminder I needed that my body is just right for me and things are going to continue to change and I can choose to embrace the changes or not but it’s not going by to change anything other than my happiness! ♥️♥️♥️ PS: HUGE congrats on the sweet girl!!

  40. Beautiful and well said and awesome x100000. I love what you said, “there are far more interesting things to talk about than my body”. That is wayyyy to true. All too often conversations are reverted back to old behaviors and diet talk. This needs to be said. Oh- and said again.

  41. Kylie, you nailed it with this post. I’m only 19, but having just completed my freshman year of college, I want to share an experience.
    So at the end of the year I went to my physician for a usual yearly checkup, and I was weighed. My weight had increased by 3 pounds after having been quite stable for about 2 years before that.
    My clothes weren’t fitting any differently, but I knew my body looked a little different because I had put on a bit more muscle, having done quite a bit of weight training in college. Plus I’m sure some fat was gained as well because you can’t really gain muscle without fat.
    One of the nurses chuckled and said something along the lines of, “guess someone has been eating well at college.” My mom instantly piped in with “it’s muscle!’ because she knows I have a history with disordered eating and she didn’t want the nurse to trigger anything. But I just kinda laughed and very confidently told the nurse that I’m 19 now, not 16, and my adult body should not look or weigh the same as my teenager body. I don’t know if she got the point, but it made me feel good when I told her that because I realized I fully believe it.

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  44. Your strength and your faith in your body are so reassuring to me. I am 16 weeks pregnant and have really been struggling with my thighs touching and my stomach looking so thick but no bump yet, etc. etc. Hearing all of your body positivity and focus on the AMAZING thing our bodies are doing is very comforting and helpful. I just want to say thank you.

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