14 Women On How Pregnancy Forever Changed The Way They Saw Their Bodies

Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
Pregnancy is one of life's great miracles, but it can be tough to keep up with the changes your body goes through over the course of nine months and beyond. However, pregnancy can also be the time during which many women feel the healthiest and most beautiful.

This is something we were happy to notice after surveying 1,100 R29 readers. When we asked them to tell us about a time they felt super happy and confident about their bodies, even if it wasn't 100%, there was a running theme through many of these stories: pregnancy. According to our survey, many women felt their most confident about their bodies during pregnancy and after giving birth.

And why shouldn't they? A lot happens when you get pregnant. Your breasts begin to lactate to feed your baby, your body makes room to nurture life, and it's undeniable that labor is a feat in and of itself.

Read on for 14 women's stories on how pregnancy changed their body image.

It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Check out more #TakeBackTheBeach here.
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1 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"After giving birth, I thought I would hate my body more, but I actually feel better about my body than I thought I would. I love my stretch marks on my hips, my inner thighs, and calves. They show strength and endurance on what my body handled creating and giving birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy."
2 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I felt most confident and happy about my body when I gave birth. I always liked my body before that, but I had a happy, easy pregnancy and a good labor. I'm not as slim-hipped, perky-boobed, or lithe postpartum, but it's still a good body."
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3 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I gave birth to my first baby two weeks ago. When I was pregnant, I felt absolutely beautiful. I have always been very thin; more recently I struggled with being too thin and had difficulty gaining weight. I finally put on some weight while pregnant and felt — and still feel — very sexy and womanly for the first time."
4 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I'm very proud of my body for having birthed and breast-fed two healthy babies."
5 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I felt happy and confident about my body when I was pregnant and just after giving birth."
6 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"[I felt confident about my body] during child birth — the body is an amazing source of power."
7 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"The only time I've felt really happy about my body is when I was pregnant with my two kids. Before pregnancy, I worked out like a maniac and was hyper focused on a thin and lean body."
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8 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"When I was pregnant, I was the most accepting of my body I have ever been. My body was helping to create the most amazing thing of all: a life."
9 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"Right now, I'm pregnant and I feel pretty good about my body. I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I'm pleased that I have gained just the right amount of weight, and I think my body is in a good, healthy place."
10 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"[I felt confident about my body] when I was pregnant with my son. Being pregnant was the best thing that could have happened for my body image — it made me realize how amazing my body is: that it can grow and feed another human being!"
11 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I feel really good right now, because I am pregnant, healthy, and able to grow another human being."
12 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I loved being pregnant! It was a time when I felt that my body was powerful, and I was not at all self-conscious about weight issues."
13 of 13
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I felt confident when I was pregnant, because it was a freeing feeling to not be as concerned about the way I looked."
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