Why Is It So Hard to Not Compare Pregnant Bodies?

So my cousin recently gave birth, and she's one of those genetically gifted women who somehow seems to lose weight while pregnant. It's as if all of the weight is redistributed from the rest of her body to her belly.

But me?

I get pregnant everywhere, and I am having the hardest time not comparing our pregnant bodies.

Theoretically, of course, I realize that all pregnant women are different and that theoretically, of course, my fourth pregnancy might be a bit different than another woman's first. 

But it's still so hard, sometimes, isn't it? To not compare another woman's belly to our own?

I think it has something to do with the fact that, as women, we place so much of our worth on our appearance and what we look like. And pregnancy is no different. 

We want to have the “perfect” pregnancy and the “perfect” baby bump and only gain weight in very small proportions only in our stomach, but ladies?

It doesn't always work that way. 

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Image via Flickr/ Thomas Pompernigg

Pregnancy makes some of us gain weight in different ways, as our bodies are expanding, softening, and preparing to welcome and nourish new life into the world. Our very cells change, wanting to hold on to a little extra nutrients in order to feed the little one inside of us. Some of us feel great and “glowing” and are able to exercise through all nine months, while others of us feel horrible and miserable and just walking puts us in immense pain.

Right now, I am 28 weeks pregnant, and I admit that I eagerly look for other women at this stage in the pregnancy game; I want to compare and contrast my belly to theirs. Who's bigger? Who's more swollen? Who looks like they walked off the red carpet?

But in the end, none of it matters.

Genetics, stature, and even rib-to-hip ratio can make a woman “show” or “not show” faster or more or not as much, and honestly, that can't tell us anything about a woman or her baby's health. The size of her bump or even the swelling in her ankles is not an indicator of how well she is “doing pregnancy”. Because such a thing doesn't exist. 

All of us who are pregnant are lucky, and all we can hope for is a healthy baby. It's a trite statement, but it is so, so true. In three months I know the fact that, right now, I am definitely not red-carpet ready won't matter. I will have time to work on having the body I want, but right now, my body is more than about what I want. 

Pregnancy is the one time in my life when it truly doesn't matter what I look like, because it's the one time in my life when my body is serving a purpose other than trying to be as skinny as possible. It's the one time in my life when my body is doing incredible, amazing things.

And sometimes, size really doesn't matter.  

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Did you “show” earlier or more than other pregnant women?  

What do you think?

Why Is It So Hard to Not Compare Pregnant Bodies?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Kristi says:

    For my first pregnancy it felt like everyone around me was also pregnant! We actually made games for this, we’d use a bundle of yarn and have people cut it to see who got the closest to our size, wed to the weight guessing, gender guessing… My friend had a belly that looked like she was carrying twins and I was the opposite with a very tiny bump. She didn’t get stretch marks I did. We figured out pretty quickly how different every pregnancy is. She had a 10.5 pound baby mine was 6.5. I was sick the whole time, her not at all. I knew everyone having a baby in the delivery room so of course we compared labor times, how far apart contractions were, and who had it “easy”! It was good fun but, only fun between our group of friends. I’ll likely never forget when I was 9 months along and someone else I didn’t know was 3 and said to me, I was doing something wrong and would have an unhealthy baby cause I only liked maybe 2 months at most. That hurt, we as women are to hard on ourselves, we want people to see us as beautiful, glowing, and in control. Truth is though, none of us are. We don’t know what to do when we hold our baby for the first time, we stress over their first runny nose and watch them sleep wondering if its normal for them yo breathe so slowly. It’s amazing and beautiful what every woman goes through to create life! It’s our own completely unique story of our journy! I just wish every woman saw it that way! ~sorry got carried away there 😉

  2. Michelle says:

    Chaunie, I think you are being very practical with this one. Im 25 weeks and there are more than just a handful of preggy mommies in the area and I too find it hard to not compare my bump to thiers. It helps me to remember that we are all different and cant all be the model pregnancy, I have had a rough second trimester and dont feel like Im glowing at all… Yet, people still say that i look great. So chin up and keep smiling, your body is amazing for the ability to reproduce at all! Its a blessing, live it as such! 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you. I needed this today. I am only 16 weeks and looks as though I am closer to 26! Countless people have asked if I’m sure it’s not twins. Why do people feel they can say whatever they want to a pregnant woman? Don’t they know we still care what our bodies look like??

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