Learning to love your pregnant body feels like it should be something that happens automatically, but for many moms-to-be, it can take a while. Expectant mothers tend to fall into one of two distinct camps: those who feel positively goddess-like from the moment the pregnancy test comes back positive and those who are more inclined to view the physical transformation of pregnancy as a necessary evil – the price to be paid for motherhood.

If you find yourself feeling somewhat less than Demi Moore-like these days (i.e. you’re more inclined to hide your pregnant body away in some tent-like maternity dress than to volunteer to be photographed in the buff!), perhaps it’s because you’ve yet to discover the unexpected perks that go along with your pregnant status. Here are six great reasons to fall in love with your pregnant body.

Tips for Learning to Love Your Pregnant Body

1.     Pregnancy is the ultimate disguise for virtually any “figure flaw” that Mother Nature may have thrown your way.

Here’s some good news if you’ve had a love-hate relationship with your body over the years: chances are you’ll be able to call a truce during the nine months of your pregnancy. The reason is simple: pregnancy is the ultimate disguise for any “figure flaw” that may be troubling you. Hips too big? Not to worry! They’ll look positively svelte in comparison to your blossoming belly. Breasts too small? Not for long! Just wait till those maternal hormones have a chance to work their magic. Carrying a bit of extra padding around your middle? No problem! Everyone will simply assume that you’re carrying an extra big baby. There’s just one small problem with this pregnancy “disguise”: you have to relinquish it nine months down the road. As much as being pregnant may suit you, you can’t be pregnant forever.

2.     The things that are likely to bother you most about your pregnant body aren’t likely to be particularly visible to your average guy (or gal) on the street.

Unless you’re in the habit of parading around in a bikini – and more power to you, if you continue with that particular mode of dress during pregnancy, by the way! – odds are you won’t be flaunting some of the less pretty pregnancy-related body changes to the world: things like stretch marks, the dreaded linea nigra (the brownish crayon-like mark that runs from your belly button to your pubic area), and your newly-popped belly button. And if the only people who’ll be able to view these particular changes to your bodily landscape are yourself, your partner, and your doctor or midwife, these things really aren’t worth obsessing about anyway, now are they?

3.     You may not have the body of Julia Roberts right now, but at least you can have her hair. Imagine nine months without a single bad hair day.

If that doesn’t do something positive for your self-esteem, frankly, I don’t know what will. When you’re pregnant, your body stops shedding hair at its usual rate of 100 hairs per day – something that results in a lush, full head of hair that could put any shampoo commercial model to shame. So instead of obsessing about the things about your pregnant body that you could live without, take a moment to appreciate the fact that – from the shoulders up at least – you could be Julia Roberts’ body double.

4.     The regular rules of fashion do not apply to pregnant women.

Pregnancy is your chance to be daring – to experiment with your own unique sense of style. It’s okay to have fun and look a little eccentric: to put together a one-of-a-kind look by pairing up thrift store finds and items snatched from your partner’s side of the closet. So rather than playing by the rules and wearing the same old boring denim jumper as every other pregnant woman in your prenatal class, celebrate your changing body by redefining your sense of fashion. Think “pregnancy chic!”

5.     Everyone loves a pregnant woman.

It doesn’t matter what you look like for the next nine months. You’re going to be the center of attention as it is. After all, the entire world loves a pregnant woman. So stop obsessing about whether you look “fat” or “pregnant” and vow to enjoy your new-found – and short lived – celebrity. (I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the spotlight will soon shift from you to your baby, so you might as well enjoy your star billing while it lasts.)

6.     Your body is busy performing a miracle.

And last but not least, we come to the most important reason for learning to love your pregnant body: because of what’s going on inside. It’s something to think about the next time you’re feeling badly about the fact that your waistline has gone AWOL, you seem to be sprouting a new stretch mark everyday, and you haven’t seen your feet in months. After all, how can you do anything but love your body when it’s busy performing a miracle?

How to Lose Your Postpartum Belly Fat

Learning to love your pregnant body is important. But, after you have your baby, you will probably be more than ready to lose your postpartum belly fat, and that is totally normal and fine. Just be sure you take the right approach. This is not the time to go to extremes, especially since you need to take amazing care of your own body in order to take care of your little one.

According to Popsugar, here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Be sure to receive approval to exercise from your ob-gyn after you have given birth, and once you are ready to start getting active again to slim down.
  • Instead of focusing on dieting, put your attention on properly nourishing your body with healthy foods that are naturally low in calories. Avoid fad diets and strong weight loss pills. Work on maintaining your energy and eating right for you and your baby.
  • Focus on working your core, but be sure to go slow and steady when it comes to your workout routine.

No matter what, learning to love your pregnant body, and losing weight after giving birth, both require patience. Love your body for all that it is capable of doing and embrace all of the changes that it goes through as it works on bringing new life into the world.