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Body image

(6 Posts)
mrspear Sun 09-Oct-11 17:52:21


I was wondering if anyone can help me to help my SIL? She is pregnant with her first child (20 weeks) and appears to be very negative about her changing body.

The baby is measuring below average (according to scans).

When i said today how lovely she looked (i was looking her in the eye not the bump) she made a [sceptical] face and said "no i am fat"

Now before pregnancy she had issues with her tummy (she is a size 8 apple if that makes sense) and hardly ate (unless you count fruit) to try and shrink it but how we (i mean her dh and family) explain to her that she needs to eat and that to grow and put on weight (and don't mean loads i mean some) is normal?

Hotpotpie Sun 09-Oct-11 18:14:12

I think its a really hard time if your already feeling bad about your body, on top of my usual flab I now have greasy hair and spots and extra body hair and a line of stretch marks on my hips that look like a picket fence its bloody hard to feel positive about that! I think all you can do is be there for her, keep the reassurance coming and if you feel the problem is becoming unmanegable talk to her about confiding in her GP or midwife for some reassurance

I dont know if thats helpful or not but I just think some people find the changes of pregnancy harder and less positive than others especially when your confidence is low anyway

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Sun 09-Oct-11 18:21:38

I really don't think you're best placed to help. I have numerous, long standing body issues and it really doesn't help me to have my dp mentioning that I should be eating more, it just pees me off. The only thing her dh can do is make sure her midwife is aware of her issue. Many many women with body and eating issues have babies every year, it won't be something the midwife is unfamiliar with. My midwife just asks me how I am, never weighs me, and just checks that the baby is OK. It's not ideal, of course, but this is not something that can be fixed quickly. She may need long term support, I know I had terrible PND which I do accredit a bit to suddenly being very unhappy with my body. Measuring below average is just that, below average. Not great, but an average is an average, some will be above, some will be below. If there were any real concerns about her baby's welfare, she's be very aware of them.

mrspear Sun 09-Oct-11 18:29:38

Thank you for some honest answers, i will step back.

Oeisha Sun 09-Oct-11 18:59:43

Difficult one. Is her DH on board with trying to get her to see the issues? He might be the route in IYSWIM. Get him to talk to her first and express his concerns for HER. It shouldn't all be about baby as she might feel like she's being ignored in all this and he needs to make it clear that he's worried about her health as much as baby's. Him constantly 'nagging' however, won't help at all, as mentioned by others. He does have the right to tell her he's worried about her though, after all, he loves her. But one sit down and honest conversation might help.

If he wants to, he could make an appointment with his GP, or see if the MWs are willing to talk to him separatly so he can learn some tactics on how to handle this, (they may not even be aware there's an issue with food/body image), or they can at least reassure him that although LO is measuring small, there are systems in place to monitor everything etc. Ultimatly, at this point LO will take eveything it needs and it'll probably be your sister that 'suffers'.

I wouldn't be too worried about weightgain in itself, though this IS an indicator of issues, it doesn't always meas there IS an issue. I'm 25wks and have so far, not made it beyond my pre-pg weight. I just seriously don't want food, but am making myself eat healthily for LO. MW isn't worried so long as I'm eating healthily and no showing any ill effects (anemia etc). My only real issue is with tiredness, but it doesn't matter how much I's bad either way.

Anyway, as her waistline/body image is obviously an 'issue' and thus weight, maybe taking the 'eating healthily' route is a better route to go down than an 'eating more'/putting on weight route. It might encourage her to feel in control of the issue if you encourage her to plan meals for her and her partner? I know I found the whole you must eat x amounts of y thing utterly disheartening to begin with, but soon got over that after vommiting copiously from about 13wks to 21wks...holding anythign down felt like a small victory.

Trying to get her to graze might also make her take in more food than she's "realising" (even if it is "just" fruit/veg...try adding dips/homous etc to the apple or yogs to the fruit) try getting her DP graze throughout the evening, so it's not about her eating for baby, but THEM, but them doing 'normally'. Even if he initiates the eating whilst sat on the sofa together watching telly, you never know, she may join in?!

As for what you can do, other than being there for bro to vent on...well, I'm the kind of person that would respond with "no, you're pregnant, not fat and you DO look good" every time she came back with a negative. I personally don't like people "getting away" with making obviously negative statments about themselves...having been through pretty crippling depression, it's not always easy to spot how making little comments like that reinforce the negative feelings in my own discourage others from it where possible!

MistyMountainHop Sun 09-Oct-11 19:06:27

no real advice i'm afraid but i was like this with dc2 sad

i'm slim and small and really hated getting bigger in my first pregnancy with dc1 so when i got preg with dc i was determined to avoid getting "too big" and (to my shame) dieted and exercised, too much, to avoid gaining much weight. started the pregnancy (my heights five 2) 8 stone 2 and the day i had her i was only about 9 stone. dh used to get angry at me and upset that i wasn't eating much but it fell on def ears. and i used to love it when people commented that i had a small, neat bump etc.

i think body image issues in pg are getting more common these days, sadly.

hope sil is ok.

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