On accepting (and trying to love) my changing body shape

I think it’s one of life’s great ironies that the two periods in my adulthood when I have treated my body as a temple have been when my stomach has absolutely no chance of getting any flatter.

With this pregnancy, just as when I was pregnant with Frog, I’ve found myself eating more healthily, getting more exercise and making sure I go to bed at a reasonable hour. It seems I need the excuse of growing another human to take proper care of myself.

I’ve never been a massive health freak. I find the gym boring and conversations about diets dull. At university I joined the Yoga club and did three sessions of Yoga a week (the relaxation bit at the end was my favourite), along with enduring a regular visit to the gym to try and balance out my excessive student alcohol consumption. But that’s as far as it went.

I love swimming and riding my bike and going for long walks, but not because of the effect these activities have on my body. I just think they’re fun things to do. And, to be honest, give me the option of a long bike ride or a trip to the pub and I’d probably choose the latter (if I wasn’t pregnant).

I suppose I’m lucky, in that my weight has never been an issue. I’m not saying I’m naturally toned with a flat stomach and arms Cameron Diaz would envy. But I’ve never been larger than a size 12 and my weight has always stayed safely in that BMI chart thingy. Of course there are times of the year when I’ve been more wobbly than others (oh how I love Christmas), but it’s not something I’ve ever really obsessed over. I suppose I’ve always had more important things on my mind.

So I’ve been surprised at how I’ve felt about my changing body shape with this pregnancy.

Bump selfie

From eight weeks my favourite pair of jeans felt so snug I had to undo them when I sat down. Tights cut me in half and create a weird two-stomach look unless I pull them right up to my armpits Simon Cowell style, or roll them under my ever-growing belly. But rather than embrace the new curves I’ve felt, well, a bit crap.

I remember this in-between bump stage with Frog well. I spent much of my time sucking my stomach in to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes or puffing it out to fill out my expanding maternity wardrobe. I was terrified people would just think I had put on a load of weight, without realising I was pregnant. Which is weird, because like I said before, weight wasn’t something I’d obsessed over pre-pregnancy.

And now it’s happening all over again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good round bump. I enjoyed being pregnant with Frog and was blessed with a non-eventful pregnancy. From around five months I stopped having to suck in or puff out my belly and felt all glowy, revelling in the curves.

Baby bump

People tell me you can show earlier with your second child, because your muscles are already somewhat stretched. Or maybe they’re just saying that to make me feel better. Either way, I’m still waiting to hit that magic I Fit My Maternity Clothes Perfectly and Look Obviously Pregnant stage. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin at the moment and it’s a bit of a strange feeling.

I realise this may all sound terribly shallow. After all, the most important thing is that my baby is growing healthily. How I look while it gets bigger is of no consequence really. But there is something to be said in feeling comfy and confident – or at least NOT feeling like you want to hide in your house until you pass the in-between bump stage.

I’ll be honest and say this isn’t something I’d usually write about. Or talk about really. If you’ve made it this far then thank you for reading and please don’t think I’m not a) aware of how lucky I am to be pregnant with a planned baby and b) obsessed with the way I look.

And if you have any tips for ways I can stop feeling like a bloated whale until my baby bump is “proper” and start liking my body again then please do share.



  1. says

    I TOTALLY understand how you feel……being somewhat naturally podgy *ahem*, I spent a long time in ALL of my pregnancies with the strange “double bump” until I finally popped in the middle and the 2 became 1!!
    1st time round, I even dashed out and bought tops that said “mind the bump” & ” Baby on board” really early on because I was so paranoid people would simply think I’d eaten waaaay too many pies!
    Please believe me that you DO look pregnant, not podgy, and your bump is exactly the kind I envied from afar during all my pregnancies…….but the slogan tops definitely helped me, cheesy as they might be……

  2. says

    That in between stage is horrible, where you don’t look pregnant, just fatter (not YOU, you obv, just people in general!)
    It’s so much better when you have a proper bump. In fact pregnancy is the only time I’d where tighter jersey tops and dresses.
    You’ll have a proper bump soon.

    • says

      I have a tight jersey dress that I bought when pregnant with F and remember feeling great in it from around 6 months. No way I’d wear that style in my non-pregnancy days!

  3. Mummy Plum says

    I wore looser empire line non maternity in those initial stages and as the bump got bigger went tighter. I also found that buying some chunky necklaces / costume jewellery helped. Made me feel pretty and distracted from the not quite a firm bump yet look. Congratulations. Always so lovely to read about the joy of pregnancy.

  4. says

    i hated that in between bit… I’ve always been fairly slim, but i loved my pregnant body shape πŸ™‚ Though the second pregnancy it was only bump and I wore the same clothes all the way through that I normally wore.. not so with the first and third though!!

  5. says

    I hated that in-between phase where it just looks like you’ve eaten too many pies (not that you do! You look lovely!) – I can remember it being like that in the Summer when I was pregnant with Cherry and people were always staring at my tummy trying to work it out, it got on my nerves. I found I got bigger quickly and put on more weight 2nd time round but it slowly came back off again and now a year after I am back to my original size. You’ll be full-term before you even know it! x

  6. says

    First of all congrats on your second pregnancy and I remember finding it strange when I was pregnant and clothes didn’t fit anymore and being a big of a whale at the end, luckily I went back o my same size pretty quick and like you weight has never been too much of an issue but I wonder how I will feel second time round

    Laura x

    • says

      My husband tells me I felt this way with the first pregnancy too – it’s just a while ago now so I’ve probably blanked this inbetween stage out!

  7. says

    It’s so funny I can’t remember when I started to feel this way in my pregnancy, if anything I was really excited about getting fat, ha! πŸ˜‰ I ended up putting on three stone in the end but I think I might feel weird about it if/when the time comes again. I do find that shopping helps though, I loved my maternity clothes but did feel a bit crap trying to squeeze into normal clothes! xx

  8. says

    I want nothing more than to start a family one day but I know this will be a huge hurdle I have to overcome as and when the time comes. Maintaining a healthy weight has been a constant battle but one I’m finally coming off the back of and have bobbed around that happy size 12 coat hanger for several years now. I guess the key is to do as much as you can to make yourself look and feel wonderful – and it sounds like you’re off to a flying start with all your healthy efforts. I genuinely think you’re looking gorgeous at the moment Molly and can’t wait to see some snaps of you in those new H&M threads xxx

  9. says

    I really know what you mean, I was lucky to have a very neat bump with F so I fit into my normal clothes until my tummy popped and there was my pregnancy belly. With my second and third pregnancy each time my tummy looked huge straight from week 6, and I was terribly self conscious about the whole thing. Both of those pregnancies didn’t work out and then I had to work hard to try and get my shape back the way I was. It seems silly but I wanted my tummy to be as flat as possible afterwards, maybe to help the healing process. x

  10. says

    When I was in the in-between stage, I just ate a lot less. Your baby is the size of a bean for most of the first and part of the second trimester anyway, and requires very little in the way of calories. Extra calories just build unwanted fat stores on your hips and butt, and show a lack of commitment to looking the way a good woman should.

    • says

      Not sure what you mean by “looking the way a good woman should”? I’m really hoping you’re not suggesting that the only “good women” are those of a certain weight or build…

    • says

      Sorry – A good woman? WTF ! That’s a really offensive thing to say! Are you seriously suggesting that a good woman is a thin woman?

      Molly I totally understand what you mean, sadly no advice to help but revel in it and you look – as always – completely gorgeous! x x

    • says

      My mother told me that if I have nothing nice to say then to not bother. So my response to that post is in my head and starts with pile of expletives. I have never read such a pile of crap as that comment.

    • says

      A “good woman” looks after herself and her growing baby and that can involve needing to eat more at all stages of pregnancy – each individual is different after all. Medical advice is not to diet in any way whilst pregnant. I actually feel rather sorry for you if you felt under some strange pressure to eat less in order to “look the way a good woman should” and I hope you’re not being put under that pressure by someone else. It’s certainly not a view point that is kind of healthy to pass on to others.

    • says

      Looking the way a good woman should – I have always struggled with my weight, but do you know what. A good woman is a woman that looks after herself and her baby, a good woman is a woman that teaches her children that there’s more to life than your looks and that tolerance is an incredibly attractive character trait…

  11. says

    I remember being 8wks with my 2nd child and crying in the loos because my work trousers hurt so much. My bump appeared much sooner but didn’t grow that much bigger overall.

    I HATED the bit before you properly look pregnant when you feel puffy but don’t obviously look pregnant. Hope it passes quickly for you!

    You are doing fine and what matters is staying healthy, not dwelling on it and trying to enjoy your pregnancy. Marvel at what your body is doing and how it changes. You can work on ‘perfection’ (whatever that is) when you have a wonderful baby.


  12. says

    This reads so closely to my blog post about accepting my new body shape in pregnancy! It’s funny how much more we focus on being healthy when, as you said, we’re only going to get bigger! Have a wonderful pregnancy xx

  13. says

    Argh! Just the toughest stage EVER! I hated “the thickening” – almost as much as the phrase “the thickening”! πŸ˜‰ So tough when normal clothes don’t fit, but the preggers ones don’t either. I remember being on holiday with my OH during that phase – we were alone by a pool – until a group of nubiles from Brazil arrived and proceeded to take TOPLESS pics of each other poolside. Yup. Not even joking. Every pregnant woman’s dream, right?! I’m sure you’re looking amazing as every woman does when she’s GROWING A HUMAN BEING! It’s just tough because we’re SO programmed to panic when clothes start getting tight. I got really cross at society during BOTH pregnancies, that I could worry about weight gain at such an amazing time. Hugs to you beauty. Eyes on the prize! Oh – and to make jeans last longer I used to tie a hair band between the button hole and button xx

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