Mums Share How They Really Felt About Their Bodies During Pregnancy

The changes to your body can bring conflicting feelings.

Some women love being pregnant, while for others it’s nine months of purgatory waiting for the baby and hoping to reclaim their bodies. Here, women share their honest accounts of how pregnancy affected them physically - from their hair to their feet - and how they felt about their dramatically changing bodies.

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”I loved my pregnant belly and especially my glossy hair and dewy skin (which both, sadly, went back to being greasy within half an hour of childbirth). But I didn’t love the constant attention from strangers. About two days after my daughter was born, I went for a walk around Waitrose (in a pair of high heels for the first time in months). I didn’t need any shopping, I just wanted to experience the joys of anonymity again.” Emma

“I’ve never dressed as well as I did when I was pregnant – it seemed so easy to find really gorgeous, flattering clothes that fitted well, and I LOVED wearing maternity jeans - oh, the comfort of that giant stretchy panel. At 28, with my first, I was happy to ‘flaunt’ my bump and welcomed the attention and fuss but with my third, at 37, I felt conscious of being an ‘older’ mum and wanted to hide a bit.” Heidi

“I felt queasy all day every day and was super sensitive to smells - sharing lift space with people was horrific and I work on the 21st floor. I ‘bloomed’ for about a month in the second trimester and in the last two months I felt fat, greasy, spotty and bored stupid of my cutting costs pregno-uniform of leggings and a big shirt. My feet were so swollen I wore shambolic looking slip-on loafers and I had to take my rings off my sausage fingers. I could not wait for my baby to be born.” Kerry

“I felt powerful and vulnerable in equal measure.” Rachel

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”I adored my bump and didn’t care that I looked all porky and sticky-outy. It was liberating in every way and I went out of my way to wear things that accentuated my bump. Post pregnancy, though, my body felt alien to me in every way, as if my head had been grafted onto someone else’s torso. I didn’t hate my body (I felt proud of what it had done) but I no longer recognised it. It took a few years for me to feel as if I physically understood myself again.” Cath

“So far I hate the changes - but I have struggled with eating problems for a lot of my life. It also doesn’t really feel like ‘me’; I feel quite out of control of my body so I don’t have the proud feeling yet.” Clare

“I loved my pregnant body - huge boobs, nice taut tummy skin and loads of attention.” Catherine

“I found it way easier to dress my pregnant body than my usual hourglass shape, so I felt pretty gorgeous. I also loved that I could eat as much as I wanted and not have to hold my stomach in. Bliss.” Lisa

“I loved the attention but I hated total strangers thinking they could lay their hands on my stomach. I loved my big belly but I was freaked out by the linea nigra (the dark line that develops on your tummy that looks like a ‘cut me here’ line) and my breasts veined like blue cheese with scarily huge nipples. One time I was in the bath, when my baby turned - it was like a horror movie scene with a tidal wave of water and this spine rearing up under my skin.” Sally

“I loved how my big bump made the rest of me look smaller. But post baby my deflated balloon stomach, Spaniel ear breasts and rhino haunches seem like the pay-back. Lucky my son’s worth it.” Nicki

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“I had a very small bump and it pissed me off that everybody - colleagues, friends, family, people I’d never clapped eyes on before - would pass judgement on me. I felt like I wasn’t pregnant enough to please people.” Gia

“It was weirdly unsettling to look down at my body and find that my nipples had been swapped for someone else’s overnight. I still mourn the loss of their pre baby pinkness.” Lisa

“Pregnancy was traumatic for me. I felt like I had always been A Person before and suddenly I was undeniably A Female - I did not realise how much I had internalised societal crap about the weakness of femininity until I felt I was undeniably female. I really thought I’d enjoy the strength of being a woman and the power of creating but it seemed to be happening ‘to’ me. I couldn’t feel proud - I was not in control. I missed running, bending, lying on my back... all the things that had helped me enjoy my body before.” Ellie

“I hated everything about being pregnant - all three times. I looked like a ship in full sail, lost a third of my hair, got puffy ankles and was put on display for student doctors. During my third pregnancy I had a severe sinus infection and caught nits from one of my kids. Total misery. That said, I loved giving birth.” Sara

“I never thought you could get varicose veins ‘there’!” Sonja

“I hated being pregnant. I felt gross and SPD [pain in the pelvic joints] meant I lumbered along at a snail’s pace when by nature I’m a marcher. With my first pregnancy I put on 5 stone. After my first daughter was born I thought, ‘Ah well, I’ve had 28 years of being good looking.’ My third daughter was 10lb 4oz and RUINED me! Seven years on and my back is still bad. Luckily my daughters were totally worth it.” Ali

“Being pregnant was the first time in my adult life that I didn’t feel self-conscious about my body. My shape was made of baby rather than food so I didn’t spend all my time beating myself up.” Kirstin

“The only thing I liked was being able to wear a skin-tight dress and have a nice firm bump, with no lumps or wobbles. I didn’t feel it was my body during that time. I didn’t feel in control of it. “ Hilary

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”This might sound annoying but I loved my body (firmer body all over and I felt very sexy) but I was lucky not to have the host of issues pregnant women can get; my sister was never separated from her bottle of Gaviscon. I’m not a vain person so I look back on those days fondly!” Jo

“I felt really good when I was pregnant. It made me look at my body in a whole different way; I was amazed that it had been able to grow a human being.” Edie

“Some of the changes were quite shocking - bleeding gums when I brushed my teeth, a hairbrush full of hair and being physically incapable, from shortness of breath and back pain, to walk to my normal bus stop.” Tania