Look dudes, I know a lot of people both in real life and on here who have gone through a lot of mental turmoil about their bodies after being pregnant, so please don't feel obliged to respond to this, or read it if it's going to trigger bad things for you.
As I tend to mention all the fucking time (since I can't talk about it IRL), my head is in a place where I am often thinking about babies. Last night I dreamt I was wandering around a massive building site with shit loads of baby animals everywhere, and it was amazing.
Anyway I digress. Although I would *love* to have babies soon (ish) I've started to think about the vanity aspects of "losing my figure" and stuff like that, and I don't even know if that's some old wive's tale that gets banded around to scare women. Like most women in the developed world, I am hugely conscious of my body. All it's flaws, the stuff I don't like, if I gain weight, etc.
I've looked on pregnancy websites about how your body changes after having children and it's super fucking wishy washy. It's all like "yesyourbodywillprobablychange BUT OH MY GOD! MOTHERHOOD!" which irritates me, as I would prefer that people were more honest about what to expect after having kids.
I know part of it will depend on genetics - I have a friend who could fit into her pre pregnancy jeans two weeks after giving birth, and has never, ever, made any particular efforts with her diet and exercise. I have other friends who gained quite a lot of weight in pregnancy, and is still trying to lose it. Or some people who had to work like hell to lose some/lots of weight.
But mostly what's surprised me isn't necessarily the change in weight per se, but the changing shape of the body. One of my friends said she was going to wait before choosing her wedding dress "to see how her body changed" after her second child. I was like "? Your body is going to change? As in, you will have some kind of different shape afterwards even if you go back to your pre pregnancy weight? Or do you mean something else?".
Bodies changing after pregnancy seems to be a taboo subject of discussion amongst mothers I know, for perhaps obvious reasons that it can be upsetting to some people, so it's probably best avoided. But this does mean that I think a lot of women don't know what to expect when they first get pregnant, which makes it all the more upsetting, since you're going in blind.
I know that unless there are specific medical circumstances, it's recommended to exercise during pregnancy (and it can lead to a less painful labour...but I have side eye on that). Obviously during pregnancy you should try to eat healthy, nutritious food. You shouldn't under eat, but you shouldn't over eat either (note: does anyone ever manage that fucking minefield?). But whilst I know that there is a recommended amount of weight for a woman to gain during pregnancy, I have no idea whether that is determined purely due to the baby, the extra blood, the boob milk, the placenta, the fluid, etc, or whether that is also encompassing weight you gain through what you actually eat when you're pregnant. I know you build up fat storage when pregnant - but does your body just do that with the calories you normally give it, or are you supposed to eat more for it to do that?
So if people are comfortable talking about it (and if not I'd understand), I'd be really interested to hear your experiences. Did your body "change" in some definitive way? Does pregnancy mean that your body changes forever afterwards? Are there things you can do before getting pregnant to minimise these changes? for example, I've heard that having a very strong core can prevent your abs from ripping during pregnancy, but I have no idea if it's true.
I really wish that resources were more open about this kind of stuff.
Sorry if some of these questions are super fucking ignorant. My mother had severe fertility problems and it took her over ten years to get pregnant (she started trying young, luckily) - she also lost lots of weight whilst pregnant and had to be hospitalised, so I don't feel it's something I can ask her.