Hey there, curious souls and soon-to-be parents! Today, let’s embark on a journey of empowerment and self-discovery – because guess what? Pregnancy isn’t just about cravings and baby kicks. It’s also a time to step into your own power and advocate for yourself, and we at Big Fat Pregnancy believe this can be done all while embracing the Health at Every Size® (HAES®) perspective. So, grab a cozy blanket and a cup of soothing tea, and let’s dive into the art of self-advocacy during pregnancy!

The HAES® Approach: Embrace, Empower, Elevate

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Before we unravel tips for becoming your best advocate, let’s talk about HAES®.. This revolutionary mindset stands for embracing bodies of all shapes and sizes and advocating for holistic health that excludes the idea that numbers on the scale dictate how healthy we are.

And guess what?

That includes the miraculous journey of pregnancy.

1. Embrace Your Body: Pregnancy is a time of change, and your body is on a fascinating adventure. Embrace those changes, the growing bump, and the strength your body displays.

2. Empower Your Choices: From what you eat to the kind of care you receive, your choices matter. Don’t be afraid to voice your preferences and concerns.

3. Elevate Your Experience: HAES® elevates pregnancy from a medical checklist to an experience that encompasses emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It encourages a holistic approach to care.

Finding Your Perfect Provider: It’s Like Finding a Unicorn

Okay, so maybe finding a unicorn is a bit of a stretch, but finding the right healthcare provider for your pregnancy journey can feel just as magical. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Research, Research, Research:

Dive into the deep sea of reviews, recommendations, and online resources. Look for providers who align with your HAES® values and show compassion and respect for all bodies. You can start with the provider listing service on the ASDAH website, the Queer is Everywhere map, Mia O’Malley’s curated list and Fat Friendly Health Professionals List are two popular recommendations, as well as Plus Mommy’s Size-Friendly Directory

2. Interview Your Options:

Don’t be shy – set up meetings with potential providers to ask questions about their approach to pregnancy care. Ask about their stance on HAES® and how they honor diverse bodies. Check out our guide to finding a size inclusive pregnancy provider!

3. Trust Your Gut:

Your intuition is your best friend. If something doesn’t feel right or if you sense any kind of body shaming, it’s okay to move on. Your provider should be your ally, not a source of stress.

Postpartum Essentials - a line art drawing of a mother and father cradling each other and a newborn on the father's shoulder with a beige background with green water color circle and gold glitter accents

Resources for Self-Advocacy: Because You’ve Got This!

Congratulations, you’ve found your dream provider! Now, let’s equip you with some incredible resources to help you navigate the world of self-advocacy during pregnancy with a HAES® lens:

1. “The Body Positive Pregnancy” by Emily Long: This book is a treasure trove of wisdom for those seeking a HAES®-driven pregnancy journey. It’s like a gentle friend guiding you through the twists and turns of pregnancy with self-compassion.

2. “The Fourth Trimester Companion” by Jessica Zucker: While this book is technically about the postpartum period, it’s packed with insight on body positivity and self-advocacy during pregnancy too. After all, HAES® isn’t just a nine-month deal!

3. Online Communities: Connect with fellow parents-to-be who are embracing the HAES® perspective. Websites like Reddit and Facebook groups can be wonderful spaces to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from others. Check out our facebook group here!

4. Birth and Postpartum Doulas: These compassionate souls offer support during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Seek out doulas who are well-versed in HAES® and can provide personalized guidance tailored to your needs.

5. Mindfulness and Meditation Apps: Keeping your mental and emotional well-being in check is crucial during pregnancy. Apps like Headspace and Calm can guide you through mindfulness practices that promote self-compassion.

Your Advocacy Journey: A Compassionate Quest

As you embark on your self-advocacy journey during pregnancy with a HAES lens, remember that you are a magnificent force of nature. Your body is on an awe-inspiring voyage, and you have the power to make choices that honor and cherish it.

Surround yourself with supportive voices, educate yourself on the HAES® philosophy, and don’t hesitate to ask questions and voice your preferences. Remember, self-advocacy isn’t just about medical decisions; it’s about embracing your body, nurturing your spirit, and making choices that resonate with your heart.

So, my fellow adventurers, go forth with confidence, curiosity, and compassion. Your pregnancy journey is a story waiting to be written, and you are the pen that shapes every beautiful chapter. Onward, with love and empowerment! ????????

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