I am thrilled to say a number of people submitted pictures, blog entries, or both. Because there were a number of submissions, I've divided them up into different posts.
This post is to list all the blog entries with people discussing their feelings about their pregnancy bellies. I'll have another post soon with just pictures of those that had specific timelines and gestational ages, and others with just general pictures. I also have a couple of posts already up or coming soon about how women can honor and celebrate their bellies even more during pregnancy.
So without further ado, here are some of the posts people submitted for inclusion. For those sensitive to these things, do note that some have trigger warnings for frank discussions of body ambivalence. Some people might find that distressing, but personally I find it refreshing to have such honesty about struggles we all have had sooner or later about body image. I would remind people that such reflection, both negative and positive, is a big part of how we progress further on our journey to self-love and body acceptance. See these musings as part of our journey of healing and self-acceptance.
http://thelogicallady.blogspot.com/, wrote very frankly about her struggles with self-esteem and body image as she went through pregnancy and post-partum. However, she ends on a very positive note, noting:
Parker at http://ourmonsterlife.blogspot.com/ wrote frankly about her thoughts and worries about her weight and size during and after pregnancy and how it affected her body image, both negatively and positively. You can read about it at A Belly Story: Body Issues During Pregnancy and Postpartum. I really appreciated her honesty and her courage in sharing both pictures of her pregnant belly and her postpartum belly, which you see here. She wrote:
The postpartum period is such a weird place to be in regards to body identity. Your body was just ballooned to proportions you never thought possible, and suddenly it's gone...Truthfully, just short of 5 months postpartum at 195 lbs, some days I look at myself and I think, "Not bad! Not bad at all! Could definitely be worse!" and some days I am really disappointed by the fact that I still can't fit into the clothes I want to wear. But when I look at my body, I don't hate it. I'm not disgusted. ...Being pregnant and giving birth has brought me to a point of a kind of bittersweet acceptance with my body. My breasts may be different, but I am proud of the fact that they make milk and have been my daughter's sole source of nourishment for her entire life. My body makes her food. That's amazing! Sure, my tummy has a bulge that wasn't as big before, it has stretch marks that weren't there before...but I'm proud of the fact that a life grew in there. A whole person was created inside my belly. I mean, that is EPIC! I gave birth!! So, do I like how my body looks? On a purely shallow level, I'm not ecstatic about it in and of itself, but I'm definitely okay with it. The strange and wonderful thing is... I love my body anyway. I wish I could high five it. So what if I wear size 17 pants? My body is beautiful to me just the way it is because I am a mother.
One of my favorite birth people, Lexi of http://birthislife.blogspot.com/, wrote about her struggles with body acceptance too. She discussed how she knows her body has done amazing things, but she often doesn't honor or respect it enough for what it is capable of. However, she took a moment at the end to honor and love her body, "flaws" and all. She wrote:
Women's bodies are changed by childbirth. Long ago and far away that was revered. Saggy breasts, full bellies and wide hips were normal and expected. They're still normal, yet seem very unexpected. We live in a world where our self esteem is determined by how soon after birth we can squeeze into our skinny jeans, rather than being cherished for who we are and what we do. That world inside our own head, where we are meaner to ourselves than we would ever allow anyone else to be to us. So, at least for today, I am celebrating my body and my belly for all it has done for me. I accept all of it, the way it is - the way I am. At least for today, I choose to see my stretch marks as signs of the life I carried within me, my scar as evidence of my love for my children. Body, at least for today, I love you!
http://lovelivegrow.com/ submitted "Big Bare Beautiful Baby Belly," with lots of absolutely gorgeous naked pictures of her baby belly. Issa is due with her baby shortly but her pictures were taken at about 33 weeks. She said: