All of my friends are beautiful — at least that’s how I see them. Unfortunately, they don’t always see themselves that way.
Every time we get together, they begin to apologize for their appearances or they complain about their perceived flaws, and it makes me sad. They don’t like how their bodies are different now that they’re getting older, and now that they’ve had babies. It seems like every day that passes, they’re finding some new reason to hate the way they look.
Lately, I’ve even noticed a scary trend where women I know are berating themselves during pregnancy. One friend felt the need to repeatedly tell people that she was pregnant just in case someone might mistakenly think she had just gotten fat. Others agonize over the changes that pregnancy hormones cause to their skin and hair. They wonder if they’re putting on too many pounds, if they’re going to get stretch marks, and they start planning expensive, postpartum medical procedures designed to help them “get their bodies back,” as if they were lost or something!
When I was pregnant, I remember feeling a great sense of freedom because for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to suck in my belly. But then someone commented on how “huge” I was, and I felt a great sense of shame — even though the comment wasn’t meant as an insult. I began to question how I looked and wondered if I was doing this whole pregnancy thing “right”? Was I supposed to look a different way?