As mamas, we know all about the personal nit-picking that we do when we look at our bodies. And when we're pregnant, it happens way more often!
No matter how nice someone is being when they comment on your preggo bod, sometimes it's impossible for you to see past the things that are obvious to you: the swollen ankles, the fat knees, and the dark circles. Why is it so hard for us to take compliments when we are doing something so amazing with our bodies? OR... How can we make sure that we're being more sensitive to other mamas when we know they may not love the way their bodies look?
When Taking a Compliment
Mama, I know that it's hard to remember that your body used to be different before you started growing a human being in your midsection. Sometimes, when we are given a compliment, the hardest thing for us to get past is that we can't accept that our body looks different (not worse) than it used to (our ideal). This is a way of thinking for almost anyone, and it happens without us consciously thinking about it! But the truth is, we can ALWAYS find something that we love about ourselves, and all it takes a shift in our mindset to focus on the positives.
When we're pregnant, why not focus on the fact that your hair is shinier than ever or that your nails are long and healthy? When we are postpartum, why not focus on the fact that our ankles have slimmed down and we're producing the milk we need for our babe? When we have toddlers, why not focus on your smile and the fact that your body is able to chase around those crazy littles all day long? Remember that our bodies are so much more than the way they look on the outside, and when someone is complimenting us while we're pregnant, we don't have to point out all of the ways our body isn't the way that we want it!
When Giving a Compliment
It's important to remember that what works for one mama will not work whenever you compliment anyone else. I was talking to a friend the other day who told me she can't stand it
when people compliment her on how cute she looks while pregnant, because no matter what they say all she can think about is that she has gotten so big and gained weight everywhere but her stomach. So even when we think we are being the nicest person ever by saying, "Wow! You look like you haven't gained a single pound!" just remember that some mamas might be cringing on the inside.
When we're preggo, our emotions are running high, and our hormones are kind of taking over our common sense control panel. But, as mamas, we need to remember how we felt when we were pregnant, and treat other mamas the way we wish others treated us. We also need to remember that everything we say can be taken the wrong way when said to a pregnant woman... So, try asking a mama how she's feeling before complimenting her on something we don't actually know she's self-conscious about. Once we hear how she's feeling, and we get an idea for the things that are making her uncomfortable, we will be more likely to build her up and make her feel good about things that are bothering her, instead of possibly highlighting things that aren't even on her radar (but sure will be once we say something). Just be mindful of the way you approach things before rattling off an endless stream of compliments.
Compliments can be super hard to accept when we are in the pregnant/postpartum/young child stage of our lives. As women, there are always things that we will find to make ourselves feel poorly, and it's important to remember that we can do better about seeing ourselves as more beautiful and helping others to feel better. So the next time someone says something well-intentioned about your adorable bump, or how you're barely showing, or that you're glowing, take it with a smile, and remember that you are beautiful and amazing!