33 WEEKS + Body Image/Self Image!

Just a bathroom selfie at the park:)  33 weeks on Friday (I like doing my baby posts on Wednesday) and I think we are officially at the point where I can start counting down the days!  51 days!

*I have a race on Saturday (it feels like it has been forever) and it is a 5k!  I will be running with a friend and hopefully seeing some running friends while I am there!  It is going to feel so good to be in the race environment again (I miss it)!  I’m always somewhere in the 9:?? pace for my runs these days and that feels best right now.  More of my miles this last week were outside than inside because this fall weather is something else.  I just plan my runs around park/trail bathrooms!

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*She now weights a little over 4 lbs and she is about the size of a pineapple (oohhh pineapple sounds really good right now).

*Thank you Candice for bringing me these.  They are amazing.  I don’t like candy at night (nor do I like any food after 8 pmish) but in the afternoon, it tastes delicious again (chocolate candy more so than fruity candy)!

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*Heart burn is a big part of my afternoons/nights now and I have 1.2 sleeping positions that are somewhat comfortable;)

*Fruit/smoothies/juice have been my longest going craving throughout this pregnancy.  They just always sound good or taste good.  I wish we could rewind to summer fruits but I also don’t miss the summer heat at all so I’ll just keep filling up on smoothies, juice and apples.

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Yep, I can’t get enough of them.   Please order a Caribbean Passion from Jamba Juice soon in my honor.  Thank you;)

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*From our 32 week doctor appointment where Brooke slept through the entire thing.  PS those are coupons in my phone case… I just realized they were there when I was looking at this picture:)  I see the doc again in another 2 weeks and then 2 weeks after that and then we see him once a week.  We really like our doctor (he delivered my sister’s last two babies) and he has been really great to work with.  I think I told him about 18 times this last appointment how tired I was but he just kept smiling and nodding and didn’t even tell me to stop repeating the same thing over and over to him.

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*We are going to have three car seats in our back seat:)  We thought about getting a bigger car but financially it just didn’t make sense and the two boosters and the baby’s car seat fit really well so they are all going to get to know each other really well back there.

Having her car seat makes it all feel more real!  We decided on this one!

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*Feeling her move around all day is really fun and I wear normal pregnancy clothes until the afternoon and then I go straight to pajamas for the rest of the day.   Good thing the kids aren’t old enough to be embarrassed of me roaming around in pajamas all of the time.

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*You are welcome Jen:)  I am glad I can help others crave the same things I am craving right now.  Hot chocolate is still a daily thing for me!

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I wanted to talk today a bit about body image and pregnancy and of course hear your opinion on everything.

It’s amazing how much your body changes over the 40 weeks of pregnancy.  Each week I feel like I am a different person.  I have pretty much zero control over what sounds good (hence why I live off of carbs right now) or pretty much anything else during pregnancy!  Add in those crazy hormones pumping through our veins when we are pregnant and who knows how we are going to feel about ourselves from one hour to the next.

The first trimester is the hardest as far as body image goes for me.  No one knows you are pregnant and you don’t have a belly yet but you just gain weight kind of everywhere (for me at least) and feel awful/sick.   Once the tummy is there and people know you are expecting, the weight gain is fine for me.  Besides just your ‘weight’ changing though, pregnancy brings about so many other body changes that I think effect me even more… like people telling me that I look really tired pretty much daily, these weird big brown dots that show up all over my body in the weirdest of places, when I feel sick often it is just really hard to feel good about the way you look and some other body things I’ll spare you the details with right now.  I have no idea how my weight has changed over this pregnancy (I don’t even know what I weighed before pregnancy) but my doctor says I am right on track with my weight gain.

For some reason, not knowing my weight just makes all of the changes easier for me, I’m not a fan of numbers.  Every time I go in, I just step on the scale backwards and then I don’t even deal with numbers.   The other thing that really helps me with my body image during pregnancy is—>  just knowing that this is a stage of life.  I went through all of these body changes with Brooke and then I got back to my normal running again and my normal clothes again (although, pregnancy does cause changes with our bodies forever ((I think)) but these babies are beyond worth that).   Something I heard the other day that I loved and that makes me realize what is truly important—>  Instead of worrying about what people think about how you look, focus on how you make them feel.  That helps me put things into perspective big time.  Buying maternity clothing that fits makes all of the changes so much easier too.  Putting on clothing that doesn’t fit and is uncomfortable makes me think about my body all day long, wearing stuff that fits correctly and that is comfortable helps me to not even think about it at all.  Running has also helped me a lot with this because getting outside, moving my body and feeling strong does wonders for me mentally.  I think overall I definitely had a harder time with my body image when I was pregnant with Brooke because it really isn’t a thing for me right now BUT I think the hard part for me this pregnancy has been my self-image.

PS I hope this doesn’t come across as complaining, I’ll do anything to get to be the mom of another little girl… I just want to be real about my experiences mentally this pregnancy.  I’ve prayed to have this experience for years but I just want to be honest about how these hormones have affected me emotionally…

This pregnancy I just have not felt like myself mentally… others experience this way more extreme than me but this has been something I have been working on the most during pregnancy.  In the mornings I do more than any other time of day but with each hour after that I just feel less like me and I think that has been the hardest part on my brain with this pregnancy.  I normally feel like the energizer bunny and like I want to be social all of the time and out doing things at night but with pregnancy, I feel the opposite after about 2 in the afternoon (unless I take a killer nap which I plan on doing today because I’ve got a baby shower tonight:).  I start feeling more and more sick and down and washing my face at night almost makes me want to cry because it seems like too big of a task.  I usually get in most of my work before then, write most of my post, run and try to do something fun with the kids but from then on… put me in bed and I’d be happy;)  There is definitely some guilt that comes with that too because I feel like my energy levels are dragging down everyone around me.  Especially because Andrew and I really haven’t been married that long (I’ve been pregnant more than not pregnant during our marriage) and I just don’t feel very nice/fun/exciting when I’m pregnant (poor guy).   So, self-image is what I’ve had to work on the most with this pregnancy.  Reminding myself that this is just a season of life and that I will feel normal again helps me the most!   Pushing stop on everything (if I can) and just relaxing when I start feeling not great always helps and I’ve found that fresh air (even just sitting on a park bench while the kids play) helps my mood a lot too.

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Why am I sharing any of this?  Because if you are feeling like you are not yourself at all during pregnancy, I am right there with you (and I wouldn’t hate others reminding me too that I’ll feel normal again soon because I forget sometimes;).  It’s hard but beyond worth it of course.  Just know you aren’t alone with feeling like this!  I’m excited to have my normal energy and normal personality back again, that will be fun (for everyone in this house… even Beretta:)

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What about you… during pregnancy do you struggle with your body-image or your self-image?   

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67 comments

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Yes. YES YES YES. I’ve been pregnant five times and the one thing that I learned is that once the baby comes out, I still don’t get my Self back… yet. I mean, we never truly get ourselves back, exactly and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. With each pregnancy, birth, postpartum time and actually with each and every other tough, exhausting, emotionally taxing life experience while it’s really REALLY hard being in the middle of it, I come out the other end refined and stronger than I could ever have imagined.

I could write forever about this! Even if I just picked running (or sports)… I’d have to say that pregnancy and childbirth have given me the tools on my belt to use when I’m doing a marathon tempo workout, or at mile 20 of the marathon, when I feel like I can’t go on, I remember those dark, lonely nights with a colicky baby, or a husband in the hospital, or newly divorced, or my child diagnosed, and I draw strength from those experiences and pull through that workout or that race like the tough mother runner that I am.

Bring on the stretch marks. Bring on the scars. They just make for some kickass finish line photos.

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You are so right Suzy… I didn’t even think about that ha… postpartum time = not feeling quite like your self too! I love what you said about the tough stuff refining me and that is just the perspective I needed! Thank you for sharing with me Suzy and thank you for being my mama coach… seriously, you have helped me in so many ways already!

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Yeah, it’s called the fourth trimester! I personally think it’s HARDER than being pregnant because there’s this pressure for everything to get back to normal but it doesn’t feel normal AT ALL. Jesse is 8 weeks old and I STILL feel pregnant, but without the belly, if that makes sense. Breastfeeding, especially, is crazy because we’re actually keeping another human alive and growing OUTSIDE of our body. Like, whaaaaat?!?! Amazing.

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That is so so true!!! Oh the things we do for these cuties… we are so lucky and we grow so much from all of this!

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Oh janae, I’m so grateful for your openness about what you’ve been going through. I’m sorry it’s been tough. I have yet to be pregnant but I am drinking in all of this for when I do get pregnant. I remember my sister talking about not feeling like herself when she was pregnant. It’s so encouraging to know that you’re not alone. Thanks for being real about pregnancy!

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Dawn, thank you so much for your sweet comment! You are the best! Keep me updated with how you are doing and thanks for sharing what your sister felt like too… it’s always good to hear when you aren’t alone!

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Hi! I’m currently 16w pregnant and though I’m wearing my regular running clothes, I can see my tops and bottoms not fitting well in the near future. Did you buy special maternity running gear or did you just size up from your regular stuff? I’d love to see some recommendations on tops and bottoms that worked well for you in a future post! Thank you.

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Sonia! CONGRATS on your pregnancy! In my next pregnancy post I am going to include all of the links for my favorite running gear that I’ve used this pregnancy and also maternity clothes (and then ask for recommendations in the comments)! So, look for that post next Wednesday! Congrats again!

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Thank you! Looking forward to it!

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Hey! What booster seats do you have? My sister is pregnant with her 3rd and can’t get a new car because they lease so she needs to find a way to get a baby carrier and 2 boosters or convertibles in the backseat. Thanks!

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HEY MELISSA!! So currently we have these ones:
https://www.amazon.com/Graco-Affix-Booster-System-Atomic/dp/B00AHVR7ZI/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1508971052&sr=8-3&keywords=graco%2Bbooster%2Bseat%2Bhigh%2Bback&th=1

The three fit in our car! We also only have Knox half the time so they will have a little bit more breathing room half the time:) Tell your sister congrats for me!

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Thank you for this post! I am 14 weeks, almost 15 weeks, pregnant and am in the I just look like I’ve gained weight stage. I have to dress up for work everyday, so those pants are getting tighter and its definitely time to get some comfortable clothes so that I am comfortable! I love that I’m growing a little human, so don’t like that I associate something negative with it in worrying about how I look. I was worried in the beginning about having a bump, but now I’m like just get here already so I don’t have to try to hide what looks like some extra weight. Thank you!

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CONGRATULATIONS HEATHER!! Oh I am so happy for your pregnancy. That is exactly when the tough stage of clothing is for me and with work clothes… that is even harder! You are doing an amazing job and you are not alone in how you feel! For the next one (…. yes, I just said that;) I will be starting to wear maternity clothes (especially pants) even earlier because they just made me feel so much better. Being uncomfortable is the worst!

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I am not pregnant but so much of this resonated with me. I’ve been dealing with depression the past year or so. I am finally feeling more like myself after seeing a therapist, but for a while, I barely recognized myself. My boyfriend of 2.5 years has been endlessly supportive though all of this. He helped me summon the courage to make that first appointment with my therapist, and would consistently remind me, “Sarah, this is just a phase, the way you feel right now is not permanent, you will feel better, I promise.” Sometimes I can’t help but feel so crappy and ashamed and guilty about forcing him to be with such a broken person for a whole year. But one thing the experience helped me to realize is how much we do for the people they love. Lately I am trying to take those bad feelings inside me and turn them into gratitude for him and the other people in my life who have been there for me and held my hand through all of this. Anyway, thanks for the open post, Janae. Reading your posts always feel like hanging out with a good friend! :)

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Sarah, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry about everything you have been going through. I love how supportive your boyfriend is, that makes the world of difference. It gave me the chills to read that you are feeling more like yourself finally. You are a strong woman. Sure wish we could go out to eat and talk all about everything together!

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Hormones are VERY real in making it feel as though someone else is in the drivers seat of your own mind. It SUCKS! And one of the things that makes it SUCK is no matter how understanding a husband or a woman who is not effected this way is they will NEVER understand the power. It is not willpower, it is not grit……..it is chemical. period.
Hugs my friend. You will even out at some point, but do not give your self the expectation of birth………just repeat this is not forever.

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Oh I love what you said about feeling like someone else is in the drivers seat of your own mind… that is exactly how I feel sometimes. THANK YOU Erica, I appreciate you so much! Just wish you lived next door… doesn’t Chris want to live in Utah?!

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I think this was my biggest challenge with pregnancy. Especially with my last 2. With the first one everything is all exciting and new and you get excited about getting the bump and everything. After having my oldest the self image issues started. I got stretch marks SO BAD! And I realized that it was just part of me now. That was really hard to accept. Then when I got pregnant with my other two I was so self conscious about how big I was getting. And then for a while after having the baby I would be impatient with losing the weight. I’m just telling you that so you know that it’s very normal and it will probably take some work to feel back to normal. That’s ok. It’s normal. I’m still not super confident in my body but certain things can be fixed if you need that for confidence ;) in my case that’s going to have to be an option lol!!

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Jenny, thank you so much for sharing! I am so sorry about how you felt during these times! Thank you for telling me this, I appreciate it a lot!

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Thank you for writing this, Janae! I’ll be 20 weeks on Friday with my first, and while physically I have felt pretty amazing so far (not even any nausea AT ALL), mentally has been an entirely different ball game. I was not prepared for how awful my mood can be at times (thankfully not 100% of the time) and how negative some of my thoughts have been- I truly have not felt like my brain is mine! Luckily I have a great doctor and a very supportive husband, but it’s making me realize how important it is to have discussions like these to share that pregnancy is a wonderful thing and a blessing, but can come with very significant challenges.

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I have really struggled with this and felt like I was the only one. I didn’t know I was pregnant until 20 weeks and even then I thought I was only about 8….it wasn’t until I went to the doctor and found out I was 22 weeks. I really wasn’t showing and really still don’t look almost 31 weeks pregnant in my belly- or at least not all the time. The last six years, I have trained and raced Ironmans and marathons and half-Ironmans. My training has stayed fairly consistent thus far because I feel really good. I have a hard time bringing myself to get into the pool because I feel very self conscious. And I feel like I have gained weight in areas I have never been big in- like with running over the weekend, I had chafing issues in between my thighs, which has never been a problem. So of course, I had an emotional meltdown because I feel like I look so fat and just not me!
I am truly elated to be pregnant and so grateful as I never thought I would have this experience. I just never thought the hardest part of pregnancy for me would be the mental part of gaining weight or looking fatter than normal…stressing over whether I would ever return to my old size or would I have to buy a whole new wardrobe?
To be fair, I have battled an eating disorder before and body image issues my whole life, which have started to rear up again while pregnant.
Any good advice or encouragement, especially for things like clothing are greatly appreciated. (I truly never knew that you could carry a baby in your butt.)

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I felt like being pregnant taught me how to listen to my body for the first time ever. After I was done being pregnant and done nursing I didn’t feel back to my normal self, I felt better and more intuned with myself.
Hormonally though? I was tired and there were a few teary arguments that ended in “do you want to cry or eat?” The answer was both… always both.

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I absolutely understand “not feeling like yourself”. I felt this way with both my first and second pregnancy, but it was much worse with my second. On top of feeling sad, totally not motivated and at times just barely present, I carried so much guilt about being a “downer” around my husband and toddler. My husband never complained (probably out of fear!), but I so wanted to be fun.

Everyone around me who was or had been pregnant loved it or at least dealt with the hormones better. My husband and I joke (probably in bad taste) that our marriage couldn’t handle a third pregnancy, a third baby would be fine, but not a pregnancy! :)

I don’t have any sage advice. You seem fully aware that this is a phase of life that doesn’t last forever even when there are days when you think it will never end. Just know, that so much is out of your control and you will feel like YOU soon.

I will close this by telling you what my husband said to me the first time I laughed after delivering our second child (about 10 days postpartum). “It is so good to have you back!”

It happens, I promise.

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I just wanted to comment and say that what I went through is pretty much exactly like what you wrote. I too have 2 kids, and although I had postpartum with my first, it was worse with my 2nd too. In fact, the time after my 2nd was born was the darkest time in my life. And that’s not to say I didn’t love my baby, I so did and still do, but it was awful being so unlike myself and knowing that I was feeling awful and “wasting” those precious moments with my newborn. I remember not having the energy to do anything, I felt like all I could do was the basics…change her diaper, feed her, but that took all I had. I remember one day crying while sitting on the bed, just sobbing my eyes out, and my oldest came in the room and saw me. Thank goodness she is too little to remember it, but I felt terrible that she saw me in such a state. It was then my husband and I decided that 2 kids were enough. I just couldn’t do it again. That being said – time passes and you do get back to feeling better. I don’t feel guilt towards myself about having that dark cloud over the time when my girls were newborns, I just wish I had been better prepared to deal with those feelings. No one ever really warned me about it. That experience gave me an understanding of what moms with postpartum are going through. It made me much more empathetic. Hugs and blessings to anyone dealing with it – be sure to talk with someone – keeping it inside is the worst thing you could do. Sorry for the downer comment – I feel like every time I talk about my experience it helps me heal more. :) Have a good day, Elizabeth.

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You are so great for sharing all this. Although I’m not pregnant and never have been, my one fear when I do get pregnant centers around body image. I worked so hard to get over an eating disorder and I’m worried that when my body changes so much, some of those thoughts may come back. I’m with you – I want a baby more than anything! But it’s just something I want to be aware and intentional about now so I can handle it if it does happen.

P.S. I think you are an adorable pregnant woman if that counts for anything at all, and I also think you are doing a great job giving the energy that you can to the kids and Andrew :)

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Thanks for your honesty! I have a 1.5 year old and I very much remember many of those feelings while pregnant. I remember right around 32 weeks, I was feeling so tired and overwhelmed and not my best self. I had to take a step back and look at what I valued and put my energy into. One thing I figured out (that was hard in the moment but a great help after about a week) was that I needed to change up and cut back on my exercise, or at least the length and intensity of it. I still made sure to get workouts in, since I had been active already my whole pregnancy, but I shortened workouts, started swimming instead of boot camp, and listened to my body when I felt tired – if I needed to move I’d walk, but I gave myself permission to take more rest days. It helped in lots of facets, which really surprised me…mostly because I had more energy to give to others. Have you ever thought about cutting back your running in the next 51 days? It seems like there are many things about running that are great for you, but maybe shorter runs or another rest day would give you more afternoon energy sometimes. You know your body and yourself best, so trust yourself…just wanted to share something that worked for me. And now, 20 months later, I’ve been able to work more intense/focused exercise back in, and in some ways I’m even better off because of it since I learned to trust my body more and be more efficient with the time I do have. Best of luck!

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Yes! So Andrew and I were actually talking about this this weekend! I do think it is time to start cutting back (and I did this morning too:). I guess it’s just hard because running is when I feel most like myself but maybe the shorter runs will still be great because I can still get some time feeling like myself mentally and physically each morning while not feeling as drained… I don’t know, worth a try! Thank you SO much for sharing what worked for you… I hope it does the same for me that it did for you! I think walking is going to be more of a thing in the next few weeks for me too! Seriously, thanks for taking the time to share Sarah, it means a lot to me!

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It took about a week for me to feel ok with the exercise shift, so give yourself time to see changes. And I think you still deserve time to get to be by yourself and get to feel like yourself-now might be a really great way to figure out some other things besides running that make you feel like you! They could be super helpful strategies/practices for those first 6 weeks with your new girl, too, when you’re taking some time off. Good luck with everything. And if you’re feeling down about body image-you are growing an entire HUMAN BEING inside of you. It’s a miraculous thing!

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Janae,
Tina Muir and Tawnee Prazak did a podcast last friday about pregnancy on “Endurance Planet”. They were talking about how it’s ridiculous to be running so many miles when pregnant. You are running nearly 7 or 8 miles daily. You’ve said multiple times that you are tired in the morning but get yourself up out of bed to run because you know you’ll feel better later….true, but you’re also napping half of your day away. Why don’t you listen to your body in this period and sleep in longer if you need, go for a walk or a walk/run instead of feeling like you have to hit a certain # of miles. There is something going on there. I understand you are a runner and an athlete and determined to get back to your times – but many people have to/do take time off and still come back fine. I’ve had 6 months off of injury with no running period, not even walking, but biking and pool. Yeah, it was rough, but that’s part of training.

Relax, Sleep in a little bit longer in the mornings. Go for a beautiful walk on a trail. Try some yoga. Run, sure, but don’t feel like you have to run 7 or 8 miles everyday, outside and inside.

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Jenn you are saying probably what most of us are thinking. Are you running so much because you are afraid of gaining weight? You are tired all the time and you are running more miles than I am and I’m training for a marathon. If you do the math it doesn’t add up.

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I wish we could all support each other, you know? Rather than nitpick and criticize people, especially pregnant ones, who are “growing an ENTIRE HUMAN BEING inside of (them),” why can’t we focus on something positive to say? Like, “Hey Janae, you’re doing amazing! Life isn’t easy, but we’re in your corner!”

Math was never my strong subject, but I know first hand that the number of miles I run in a week, whether I’m pregnant or not, 115lb or 183lb, short hair or long hair, spinach stuck in my teeth, if I’m wearing purple polkadot socks, NONE OF IT MATTERS, if at the end of the day, I’m bring people down rather than building them up.

*buttsmacks and high fives all around*

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Well she constantly complains about being tired. Janae puts this out there herself.

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Why do you insist on running 7 miles almost every day if you are so tired?? I know you say it makes you feel better and gives you more energy, but you also say you are tired over and over in every blog post. Why not cut down to a 3-4 mile run, which would give you a burst of energy but not zap you got the rest of the day?

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Hey Becca! Thanks for taking the time to comment! So this is something Andrew and I have been talking about lately and this morning I went a bit shorter and plan on doing that again too! I guess running is just the time that I feel most like myself and so it is hard to give up that time where I feel my mood pep up and get in some ‘me time.’ I look forward to my runs because I get that time to feel kind of normal again! I’ll definitely keep you guys posted with how the shorter runs effect me (weirdly I feel just as tired on my rest days though… so not sure what that is all about) but I do hope it helps!

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I totally did. I think the first few months are the worst when you just look and feel bloated and no one else knows why you’re gaining weight. Then finally you get bigger and it’s fine. I remember a male coworker of mine repeatedly telling me how his wife was back in her regular clothes when she came home from the hospital and feeling like I must be such a failure because there was no way that was happening for me. So I agree, worrying about what you look like to people gets you nowhere. I love the approach of worrying about how you make them feel. Much better!

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Oh how I understand! 40 weeks today and even tho I have wanted this for years and i haven’t had anything to really complain about it’s been hardddddd. I can not wait to be back to my old self, at the same time I’m terrified that I’ll give birth and be fat forever. Hiking and going to the pool has been a life safer for me, feeling this way almost makes me feel a little ungrateful at times but then I think to my self who and how could it ever feel comfortable to have your body change this much this fast. Anyways, I sure won’t be the type missing my bump …. literally counting the minutes to wear what I like to call “human” clothes again. As always such a pleasure to follow your blog <3

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You are AMAZING!! Thank you so much for all of your beautiful sharings :) Even though I am not pregnant, they resonate deeply with me. I am so happy for you and your family!
Hugs,
Amanda

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Thank you for sharing!!! I’m at 12.5 weeks and not quite ready to share the news with the whole world yet and you’re spot on with the first trimester feelings. The weight gain/all around bloat and cushiness is hard to deal with when everyone doesn’t know. But just think what this all brings ?. You’re so close to meeting your little girl!

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Thank you about being honest and open about your pregnancy experience. No need to sugarcoat feelings! I’m wishing you and a baby Baron a continued safe pregnancy.

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Well done on this blog post and your honesty Janae. If we all talked like this more, a lot less of us would struggle, especially new moms. Also, men need to hear this and really take it on board. Expectations from guys need to be massively lowered and they really need to fulfil their roles of support at this time. They just need to know we cannot be there for them like we were and accept it really only is for a short time. Great post!!

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All of this. The last trimester is hard. Really hard. It is hard because your body is in overdrive from growing a human these last 8-9 months and it is also preparing itself to give birth. The things that happen to your body are somewhat scary.

I struggled with not feeling myself during pregnancy as well. I would have days where I would just be “down in a slump” for no reason at all. I would just feel so blah but then the next day I would be fine. I have just learned that you just have bad days at times and its okay to throw yourself a pity party! Lord knows I did!

On a lighter note – What is it with smoothies?!?! I literally had to have one EVERY morning on my way to work during the third trimester. I also made them sometimes when I got home. They were sooooo good! Literally tasted like melted ice cream even though they were “healthy” smoothies!

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I didn’t struggle with this during my actual pregnancy but got hit hard with it after the baby came (just had my first). The amount of “you” time you lose, and all the changes to your life, body, and schedule left me feeling completely lost as a person. Hearing other people talk about it though makes it so much better when you are going through it! To know you aren’t the only one going crazy!

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I just had my first baby, a little girl who is now 15 days old. I am so in love with her and even more in love with my husband seeing him as a dad, but I don’t feel like myself yet. I’m sure that’s sleep deprivation plus constantly breastfeeding a tiny human. But I’m looking forward to feeling like me again. It’s been a while! About seven months into pregnancy I stopped feeling like myself, I was super tired and felt odd. Holding my new baby girl helps me worry less about when I’ll feel like me again. And I’m hoping being cleared to run and CrossFit helps too. I’ve got some time before then, so I’ll just keep loving on Harper.

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Yes! Thank you for sharing! I’ve struggled with low energy and no motivation this pregnancy. I feel so guilty for rarely making dinner and barely getting my school assignments done. Also, I’ve got major stretch marks that are kind of hard to accept (and I hate looking at pregnancy pics on Instagram because apparently I’m the only one with stretch marks?!). But I keep reminding myself that this is all worth it, especially when I get to meet my little guy soon!

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Thanks so much for posting about this — I think I needed to hear that I wasn’t the only one feeling like I’d taken a vacation from my normal self since getting pregnant. I’m only at 11 weeks but pregnant with twins, which has meant been double the hormones, nausea, and tiredness. I haven’t yet experienced weight gain — I’ve actually lost weight because I have a lot of trouble keeping food down these days, which causes a different kind of stress (so many books insist you must gain at least 10 lbs your first trimester when pregnant with twins. I’ve lost 10 lbs).
The hardest part of early pregnancy so far (aside from the constant nausea) has been feeling really helpless, unable to complete many of my normal tasks, from stuff at work to laundry to dog-walking and cooking. Thank goodness my husband has stepped up and picked up all of my slack without any judgment or criticism. But it’s been harder to silence my own inner critic, and hard to stay away from thoughts that I am being lazy, am losing my “edge” professionally, will find it impossible to become active again after being so inactive, etc… Probably the fact that we haven’t yet shared our news widely is making this worse, because I worry that others think I am lazy or unhealthy because of how tired and slow I am these days.
I’ve been drawing *huge* inspiration from seeing how active you’ve been throughout your pregnancy, not in terms of number of miles run, but just the frequency with which you manage to get outside, get some fresh air, get out for a run or walk, is truly inspiring. I know that once I’m past the first trimester (and past some physically unsettling symptoms like occasional spotting/cramping that make me scared to do anything too physical right now), I’m going to make outdoor-time a part of my daily routine. Running and walking have always been my best daily “medicine” and your blog reminds me of that daily, so thanks for that!

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Dear Janae,

Thank you for your honesty. It is so important for people to know they are not alone. Many women experience exactly what your are describing during pregnancy. Please know that while some of the feelings you describe are within the normal spectrum of hormonal changes during and after pregnancy, extreme feelings of sadness, despair and feeling “unlike” yourself are symptoms of a severe anxiety/depression disorder often associated with pregnancy. I would urge you and others to get help if these feelings are severe. I would hate for a woman to read here and think that ALL women feel this. Not all women do and it is not necessary to suffer with anxiety/depression during and after pregnancy. There is medical help available. You can feel joyful !!

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I can so relate. This is my second pregnancy as well, my first daughter is 5 and I don’t know if it’s the age difference (in me) or just the fact that it’s a different pregnancy, but this one has been really tough. I’m well into my second trimester now and my energy has not increased by much and I still get nauseous often enough that I dread brushing my teeth! Between the growing belly, breast tenderness/pain, ill-fitting clothes, exhaustion… I just feel crabby and sad about 99% of the time. Anxiety has also been an issue for me this time, so I feel like someone completely different. Unfortunately, not a better version of me, but a grumpier, chubbier version! LOL I feel guilty often for not doing or being able to do the things I *should* be doing (which oftentimes is even basic self-care). I can fall easily into negative self-talk (“You can’t handle the pregnancy, what are you going to do with a newborn and 5 y/o?!”) – I try to catch myself, but sometimes it feels good to dive into those little, hidden fears and have a good cry. Then, I wipe my face and rejoice that I am blessed to have this opportunity again. I’ve been through tough stuff before and this hasn’t been easy and it may not get easier for a long while, but I know I can handle it because I wanted, hoped, dreamed, and prayed for this child… And although I don’t feel great a lot of the time, appreciating my body for caring the most precious gift and finding some self love and gratitude. It’s a full-circle ride of emotions for me.

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Thanks for being so real; it helps so many people! Also, you look so beautiful; that’s exactly what I thought when I saw that first bathroom selfie. Your shape looks so cute! I always think pregnant women look so beautiful! I went through the same thing as you. I had twins so my co-workers knew I was pregnant before I even announced it. It was a high risk pregnancy and it was quite a journey to even get pregnant so the whole time, we were terrified of losing them, so we waited until after 12 weeks to share the news. I was a lot bigger since I was carrying two and boy people do not hesitate to tell you how “big” you are. It really bothered me at the time, because they just didn’t stop and we’re highly emotional during pregnancy as it is. I ended up going on strict bedrest for 10 weeks and had them at 36 weeks. I had to stop working out earlier on due to complications and that was super hard since I love working out. I remember thinking how nice it would be just to be able to jump again. The babies were around 4.5 lbs each and were preemies so all I focused on was them so I definitely didn’t feel like myself and didn’t start working out again until they were about 8-9 months even. Going off on a tangent now but yes I do know what you mean by not feeling yourself, but oh are they worth it! :)

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Thanks for sharing. I haven’t been pregnant yet and I know everyone has a variation of different experiences. I wonder what mine will be like, but it helps reading others experiences as well when they are truthful about how you feel some days. I’m a morning person so I have that energizer bunny energy in the mornings, even on weekends. I think my most productive hours are between 6-11am and after that I seem to be less focused in the afternoons at work.

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Oh, it’s so tough, but you definitely forget when you look back! Personally, I think the older your body gets the harder it is too. I’m contemplating one more (I have 2!), but am almost 40 and nervous of how that could be physically. Do you know anyone that was 40 (or close) who had 3rd or 4th babies? Just wondering how the pregnancy part was!
Hang in there, you are doing great! Rest when you can, and I think your attitude to ‘keep moving while you can’ will make you feel better now and postpartum :)

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I feel so gross when I am pregnant that a negative body image is just part of the package. During my 2nd pregnancy I told my husband I looked like a sumo wrestler and he said that is just silly because sumo wrestlers are athletes… He loves to be a little snarky and make me laugh because he knows that is the best thing to get me out of my grumpiness. I also find it hard to believe that he could find me attractive when I’m pregnant because I absolutely don’t FEEL attractive, but he is always telling me how great I look and how cute I am… Again, I don’t believe him, but it is greatly appreciated. ;)

On another note! I just had my fourth (AND LAST) baby exactly two weeks ago at 36 weeks! It was an emergency c-section and quite unexpected. But I feel SO AMAZING now that the baby is out and we’re all home and happy. After a c-section you can retain A LOT of the IV fluids and my ankles and feet are currently HUGE! Like, so huge I can only wear my husband’s flip flops and his crocks. Not super flattering, but this too shall pass! Good luck to you on your last weeks!

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I can totally relate. At first you’re so excited, but then you start gaining and just feeling off. Maternity clothes don’t fit yet, but normal clothes don’t either and you just feel awkward. I had two babies in two years and my body never really had a chance to recover. I never even stopped wearing maternity pants in between they were that fast. Now when I look in the mirror I think, wow who is that!? But like you said, it’s a stage of our lives. I struggled with PPD badly after each little one and the thing that I found best to center me was to get outside and get fresh air, and to exercise or do something that was just mine. I started making soaps and body products and just that time alone, to be creative really made me feel like my own person again, not just someone’s wife or someone’s Mom.

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I’m not pregnant, nor have I ever been (I just like to read pregnancy posts and live vicariously through others, haha!), but I can completely empathize with your struggles with self image. I have been dealing with a serious illness in my abdomen for about a year now that caused me to gain weight to look pregnant and it has also caused me to be sick and sleep several hours every afternoon. I don’t feel like myself at any time, except during one part of my job where I have to present and interact with people a few times a week (and sometimes that’s a stretch). It’s so hard to deal with when I know this isn’t “me”, if that makes sense. I too feel like I let the people around me down because I’m just not always up for going out or even talking sometimes. I also don’t want people to see me and say, “are you pregnant?” (I cannot have children) or think that I’ve gained a ton of weight, which stems from some body image issues from when I was younger and dealing with an eating disorder. I hope you get some relief soon. I’ve started therapy to help pull me out of this hole. It’s helping a bit, but I’ll always be a work in progress. :)

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Ali,
I am so incredibly sorry about everything you are going through. It breaks my heart. I hope that therapy is able to help and that you feel more and more like yourself again (and feel some major relief). I’m thinking about you and will you please keep me updated with how you are doing?

Much Love,
Janae

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Pregnancy is so hard! My four little ones are here, so our family is complete, but man…it was hard. I had 2 babies before age 30 and 2 babies after. For me, it was that number 30 that was the difference. My last 2 pregnancies were MUCH harder than the first 2 both mentally, emotionally and physically. I attribute it to age 30. But SO worth the 9 months of all the yucky stuff. Hang in there! You’re so close. She’ll be here before you know it! Hugs from Spanish Fork ?

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This was an AMAZING post! Thank you for being so honest and speaking from the heart on this topic. I struggled with gaining weight when I was pregnant and how it affected me physically and mentally. It’s so hard sometimes to get over the number. To help I focused on making sure I made it to the gym for spin and TRX to keep me active and happy to see my gym friends. I think this helped with a quick recovery and getting back to at least walking right away. Although, next time around I think I might slow down a bit more and enjoy those newborn snuggles a bit more :)

So happy for your family! Christmas will be extra special this year :)

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YES!! I hate to ever complain about being pregnant, because we’ve been trying for #2 for more then 2 years, and so many other people struggle too. I really wanted to embrace it this time, BUT I have a very hard time recognizing myself in the mirror and with the weight gain! I’m used to feeling very fit and in shape and when I’m pregnant I feel like I lose that side of myself, despite working out! It is better the second time around to know that I WILL get back to my normal self again and I will feel like me once I have the baby, I know now that I did it after the first and I can do it again after the second! Thank you for sharing and to see so many others post that they feel/felt the same way! Pregnancy is hard work!!

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I have a 7 month old and just found out I’m 4 weeks pregnant again. I will have two babies 15 months apart. It’s both terrifying and exciting. I suffered from diastais recti with my last pregnancy and it’s scary to think my belly is going to expand again. I may never get my body back but I’m okay with that because I look like a Mom because I am one :)

Only 51 days for you! Congratulations. Home stretch :)

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I’m definitely struggling with this. I’m only 7 weeks pregnant with my third and I’ve been really down on myself feeling like such a crappy mom because I just have no energy. I’m a teacher and just getting through the work day feels like a monumental task right now. I’ve barely seen my husband because I go to bed immediately after my one year old at 7pm. I know it’s a short season but why does pregnancy feel so long?

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I didn’t struggle with my body image when I was pregnant or right after – I struggle sometimes with the long term body changes, though. Not everyone springs back down to their previous waist and size and although I am not overweight, it is sometimes a struggle to ignore the “flubby” areas that apparently won’t go away for me. But, like Laura above, I try really hard to either ignore all those parts or to remind myself that I *am* strong and healthy and I have “mom” parts to my body because I am a mom – a squishy waist just shouldn’t matter.

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I have never been pregnant but struggle with depression and what you describe sounds similar to my experience. I am so grateful to you for writing about it openly and hope you feel free to ask for all the help that you need from healthcare providers. The worst part of depression is we feel guilty for being depressed- it is a vicious cycle.

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I always love your honesty!!! :) Thank you for sharing!!

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I relate to this so much!! We got married and 6 weeks later found out we were preggers. I didn’t want kids for like 3-4 years….I had never liked babies or wanted to even hold one! AND I just started my last year of pharmacy school….we wanted to start paying off my massive student loans before kiddos. I was miserable! I was sick every day (not just first trimester) and cried all the time and was not excited about having a baby. I used to run everyday but I didn’t run one the whole time I was preggers. My poor hubby never complained and was so awesome for having such a sad start to our married life. First time I saw her though everything changed and I had that magic moment of love! She is the best thing that has happened to us. I have lotsssss of stretch marks now and have a such a hard time trying to be a wife/mom/pharmacist, stay in shape (I want to start running again SO BAD!….treadmill for Christmas maybe ;) and all I want to do is stay home with her which is so hard….because with my loans I can’t. Anyways! Thank you for this!

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10 weeks right now sick all the time and feeling fat and bloated. Thank you for being so open and honest about your feelings. It makes me realize I’m not alone. I love this little one with all my heart but don’t love at all how I’m feeling. Your consistency with running has so inspired me that no matter how terrible I feel I need to stay active.

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Hi Janae, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way (as unsolicited/unwanted advice), but switching from running to walking, or even lowering your mileage significantly may help you feel more like yourself the rest of the day. I cut running out completely at 34 weeks, and switched to walking 0-4 miles per day. I’m still getting outside and moving, but I noticed a HUGE upswing in my energy level after I did that. I was able to concentrate again and even though I never had time for naps anyway, I still felt like I didn’t need one. I mean, yes, we’re runners and our bodies are used to all that, but running is still a huge physical endeavor. That, combined with being pregnant understandably leads to massive fatigue — especially running 40+ miles/week. Just think, you’re not training for anything right now, and you’ll want to stop running for 6 or more weeks after giving birth, anyway. Maybe give it a try and see how you feel?

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I rarely comment but I just had to on this post! It’s so great! I appreciate your honesty! I also agree with what some others have said–I significantly cut back on exercise (the amount of time, and type) during pregnancy and after, as well. I realized that I only needed 30 minutes to feel like myself and to release those endorphins. I NEVER ran during pregnancy (and was a huge runner before). I was just scared to run during pregnancy–to each their own! :) . This was hard for me, as I felt I relied on running as my crutch for so many other things, but I realized I wouldn’t become this huge blimp without running. I got into swimming, but would only swim for about thirty minutes. I was SO tired during pregnancy, too. I was a teacher during that time and literally would sleep in my driveway once I got home from school because I was too tired to go inside. True story. Those 30 minutes rejuvenated me, though, and made me feel more like myself, without making me more exhausted. The same went for after pregnancy, just because I didn’t have the time to go run for an hour to an hour and a half like I did pre-pregnancy. I honestly felt selfish wanting to be away from my baby for that long. At first I was really scared I wouldn’t lose the baby weight or get my stamina back up, but I was wrong. I am actually thinner now than I was when I was running so much. I’m so much happier not letting exercise control my life. I now workout for the mental aspects; not because I’m trying to be skinny. It’s rejuvenating feeling like I only have to dedicate 25-30 minutes a day to exercising for my health. I look forward to it and no longer dread it like I used to. I’d try cutting back. It may help you overall. You may be pushing it too much and while it’s normal to feel exhausted, maybe you aren’t doing yourself any favors by pushing your body to run that long each and every day. Gentle walks can do amazing things for your body, as well. Just my unsolicited $.02 but for what it’s worth… I was there… and you don’t have to feel this way!! You are in control. Don’t let the need to clock those milages suck the life out of you. :) Hugs and prayers for a continued healthy pregnancy.

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Body image is such a challenge for me in all stages of life. I liked the honest tone and honesty of your post.

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