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How to boost your confidence as a mom


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I remember having coffee with a particularly glam friend while she was pregnant. The most stylish out of our little group, she is one of those people who start wearing interesting labels and clothes a whole two seasons before they come in. She’s petite with the best legs I’ve ever seen – and this build runs in her family. Known for her sky high designer heels and classy Zimmerman mini dresses, she is by far and away the last person I would have thought to have body issues.

“I’m really struggling. I hate my body.”

I never thought I’d hear these words come from her. Honestly? Part of me was a little angry. Even if she doubled in size, she would still have the best figure of just about anyone I knew, whereas I had battled most of my life to keep a balance between healthy and overweight. But the anger quickly subsided as I heard just how tough a place she was in. She could barely look at her body in the mirror, was going many hours without eating and was wearing long, baggy dresses to hide what she thought were fat thighs and the belly that two healthy boys had left on her tiny frame.

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can also be a time of profound self-doubt and insecurity for many women. And this insecurity takes no prisoners, with even the most glamorous of us, like my best friend, finding themselves grappling with a warped self-image and a plummeting confidence level.

Why do all mothers seem to feel this way?

Pregnancy brings about numerous physical changes and for some, these changes can trigger feelings of unattractiveness and low self-esteem. It’s a time when many women find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster thanks to hormones, illness, exhaustion, questioning their body image more intensely than ever before. We’re no longer living in the era where women are expected to stay home and stay pregnant. Our identities include many activities, vocations, careers and experiences. The physical, visual and visceral aspects of being a mother can feel misaligned with these other identities in a way that adds to the discomfort.

I know runners and gym junkies whose identities are tightly aligned with their sports, who, when carrying an extra 9kg no longer feel themselves. While corporate mothers, used to high heels and smart clothing, find themselves struggling with what to wear and turning up to work in clothes they’d never normally wear.

For women who have spent time curating their appearance, the physical changes of pregnancy can feel overwhelming. Weight gain, changes in skin condition, and alterations in body shape can feel like a loss of control over one’s body, which can be particularly challenging for those who have faced body image issues or eating disorders in the past.

The agony of social media

Social media and societal standards often exacerbate these feelings, presenting an idealised image of maternity that many find difficult to live up to.

The constant comparison with others and the pressure to maintain a ‘perfect’ appearance during pregnancy only add to the stress. It’s common to see curated images of pregnant celebrities and influencers who seem to effortlessly embody perfection, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and feelings of inadequacy. It’s important to remember that models and influencers are paid to wear clothes for promotional purposes. We don’t get to see what they are really going through behind the scenes.

Building confidence when you don’t feel like yourself

Building confidence during pregnancy isn’t about denying these feelings but managing them constructively. Therapy, as many in our community discuss, can be a valuable tool for addressing deep-seated issues related to body image. Discussing these feelings openly with a therapist or in support groups can help women understand and navigate their emotions better.

Another helpful strategy is focusing on the positive aspects of pregnancy, such as the development and health of the baby. Redirecting the focus from appearance to the miracle of life growing inside can be a powerful way to cultivate positivity and acceptance.

Lastly, embracing a supportive community, whether online or in real life, can provide the reassurance and understanding many pregnant women need. Knowing you’re not alone in your feelings can be incredibly comforting.

What the Mama Style community says

We asked the Mama Style community what helped them through difficult body issues during and after pregnancy. Here are some pearls of wisdom.

  1. If you can’t embrace, then accept. “You’re on a journey and it will all pay off. While nature is doing its thing, you can’t do very much – your body will change. It’s all very well for people to tell you to embrace your body but it can be hard to do in practise. In the meantime, you can help perk yourself up by finding style that help boost your confidence and keep you comfortable, whether you’re out and about or working out. For me that was leaning in to comfy linen sets and cool sneakers, but making them a little bit fancy so I felt like I was treating myself.”
  2. Prioritize Comfort: “I felt like everything I wore post-baby felt lazy. But it also felt so good. As much as I tried to dress up, given the inevitable food splash or spit up. I invested Invest in comfortable yet stylish staples that transition with you through different stages, from soft fabrics to stretchy waistbands. A pair of go-to black downtime pants and a soft neutral knit helps me feel put together even when I’m not.
  3. Choose Quality: Opt for well-made pieces that last and provide versatility. Spend on timeless essentials like a crisp white t-shirt, a pair of jeans that fit just right, a versatile trench coat, an elegant black evening dress, a sharp blazer, a cozy grey jumper, and a breezy white linen dress. It seems there’s a shift happening, maybe it’s just part of growing older, where we’re opting for quality pieces over a closet full of fleeting trends.
  4. Discover Your Style: “While I still have a soft spot for my favorite styles, these days, it’s all about feeling good rather than keeping up with trends. I pick pieces that complement my shape and make me feel confident without any doubts. Becoming a mom is like hitting the reset button on style—it’s all about discovering what works for this new chapter of life.”
  5. Have fun mixing and matching : “Start by decluttering your wardrobe, removing old or stained items. Invest in a few high-quality, comfortable pieces that are both polished and versatile. Clear out what you no longer wear to create space for what you love. Aim for 70% wardrobe staples like jeans and sneakers, and 30% statement pieces. Mix price points and add accessories. “Take your time with purchases to ensure they fit your vision.”
  6. Make a real effort to stay fit or get back into the active life: “I started back at the gym very gently. I bought myself a brand new pair of trainers, a forgiving size up in leggings and a nice sweat top to make the whole thing more palatable. I took all the pressure off myself, and just focused on the time I had to myself. It feels great to be back.”

You’re not alone

If you are a mama struggling with pregnancy-related confidence issues, remember you are not alone. Many women are sharing this journey with you, each with their own fears and challenges. Together, by supporting and uplifting each other, overcoming these obstacles becomes a little easier.

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