Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Pregnancy

I’m the first to admit that I’m a Sally Sad Pants for the majority of my pregnancies. It’s not just the physical aspect of major discomfort, but the mental damage a seemingly exponentially growing body can have on my psyche.

The pinched pubic bone nerve is legit now. With mini Gwinn, I used ice packs, support girdles, yoga- anything I could do to alleviate the pain, I tried. My doctor didn’t have much advice to give on the issue, and it’s not exactly like you can get a massage to help this. It’s back full swing, and taking a toll on my day to day. When I roll over in my sleep, or get out of bed, or out of a car, go up and down stairs- pretty much any movement where your legs move at all- I feel shooting pain. Good times, right? Really, if it was just the physical stuff that I was combating (you know, the growing belly, the bizarrely curving spine to accommodate the baby ‘bump’, swollen feet, etc), I could probably manage this second go around the block.

But, like I’ve written about long ago on this blog, I also have body dysmorphic disorder. It’s not a commonly known mental disorder because it’s one enveloped in shame. Those of us that have been diagnosed with it (and those that haven’t) don’t want to talk about it. It’s an obsessive mental disorder that focuses on a few flaws, perceived or real, in one’s appearance. For me, those flaws that I’m neurotic about are my face and my weight. Since I’m prone to acne, particularly while pregnant and postpartum, my skin looks like a topographical map. And my weight? Well, I’m not one of those fortunate goddesses who only gains 13 pounds while pregnant. I think my boobs weigh that much now.

Is it sacrilegious to buy a burka and niqab?

Any way. I try to keep my mouth shut about it. When polite inquirers ask how I’m feeling, I refrain from saying, “Fat.” But this little corner of the interwebs is my sound board, so I’m telling you. When someone tells me to cheer up or shut up or “just think about your baby!”, it’s like telling someone with depression to “just feel better”. Do you tell someone with a broken leg to just feel better? No? That’s because it’s a “real”, physical issue. Mental disorders aren’t perceived as “real” to many. But the fact is that BDD has been crippling in many instances in my life. I’m embarrassed to be seen in public, dreading to even go to my doctor’s office tomorrow. And the last thing I need is to be shamed for feeling ashamed. Except for maybe another pinched nerve. That’s probably the actual last thing I need.




About mombieconfessions

I am a sarcastic mom, tried and true INTJ, my DISC profile has a high D and C with low I and S, and I'm a quirky geek (love me some Star Wars, BSG, Firefly, Dr, Who and comic books!). When I grow up I want to be an Amazon warrior with super powers and an awesome costume. Music and literature are passions, cooking and baking are hobbies, and writing a blog (such as this one) is both a cathartic release and documentation of the growth of my family and myself. View all posts by mombieconfessions

6 responses to “Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Pregnancy

  • eparkperry

    I’m so sorry to hear that you are experiencing so much discomfort! I’m pregnant too, and once I started feeling awful in my body all I wanted to do was completely disconnect! I have found some relief in yoga and meditation. I hope you don’t have much longer to go. Good luck on your pregnancy!

    • mombieconfessions

      I can relate! I did a lot of prenatal yoga while I was pregnant with my first, until the pinched nerve made most of the poses to painful. Hopefully you have a wonderful remainder of your pregnancy! Thanks for reading.

  • Mary Sue

    Aw, girl. I wish I could say something to make you feel better. Something about what a wonderful thing you’re doing, and ‘this too shall pass’ and all the comforting things my Mom tried to tell me when I was one heartbeat away from ripping someone’s head off during my 9th month. I don’t battle BDD, but as a woman in American society, I have a few teensy weensy issues with body image and weight. While I don’t think I can fully appreciate the experience of BDD, I can appreciate that this is hard and painful for you on several levels besides just the strain of your little passenger.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re wonderful. And I hope that somewhere in all the hormonal changes of pregnancy, you get reminded of that often. By your own brain. Cause you’re awesome.

    • mombieconfessions

      That was probably the most uplifting thing anyone could say. Thank you! You brought a smile to my face and it means so much for you to say it. You’re awesome. And thank you for having the presence of mind to empathize. That alone is huge. Thank you mama!

  • Chris

    I randomly came accross your blog and realized that I had met you a couple of times in a meetupgroup last year. I too am on pregnancy #2 and am having a hard time with nerve pain and just walking around. I am 26 weeks and have probably gained more than 1#/week so far if not more which puts me way over where I should be. While I cant say anything about BDD I can say that I took accutane years ago for cyctic acne. 6 months and then again for another 3 months. It gets better it just takes time. Even after I was off for a while it came back for a few months and then went away on its own. I think it is a cycle. I have a read a good bit of your blogs I am so intrigued by the honesty in your posts. You put into writting what many of us think but would never vocalize.

    • mombieconfessions

      How crazy! I’m so glad you found this blog and hope that you’re weathering the toddler storm while pregnant with your second. My doc recommended a chiropractor that specializes in pregnant patients if you’d like me to send you the information! I’m so sorry to hear you’re in pain as well, and I know nothing I say can make it better. But you’ve got support via the internet from me, if nothing else! Thank you for reading and for the compliment- I do try to keep it honest. 😀 Have a happy holiday, and put your feet up when you can!

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