Having a baby is such an amazing time in your life. It is filled with so many joyous moments that you will cherish as a mother forever. What no one really warns you about though is how difficult it can be to adjust to your postpartum body.
After nine months of nourishing and growing your baby, your body has gone through many changes. Once the baby is born and you are no longer pregnant, it can often be hard to even recognize the woman in the mirror.
This was a huge obstacle for me and something I found so difficult to deal with while I was postpartum. If this is you mama, just know those feelings are completely normal, and I am here to help you learn to love your postpartum body.
Before I get a lot of hate, please don’t think that I am body shaming anyone. I think women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. As you keep reading this post, please realize these are my personal experiences and thoughts on my own body.
It is okay to not like your postpartum body right away
Probably the most frustrating part of this journey to loving my body again after having my baby was everyone else’s opinions on the matter. Yes, I know people were likely just trying to help but telling me that my body “earned those stripes” or that I should love my body because it grew my baby were so hard to hear. It made me feel that I wasn’t allowed to have an adjustment period.
The fact that I had stretch marks, changes in my breasts, wider hips, a jiggly belly, etc., were hard for me to see. I am here to tell you mama, it is OKAY to not like those parts of your body right away. It is also okay to like those things if that is you. My point is that you don’t go through such a huge experience and not feel some type of way about yourself afterwards.
It takes time to get used to these changes in your body. Please take the time that you need. I felt SO MUCH BETTER once I stopped listening to everyone that told me how I was supposed to feel about it. This helped me to not crumble under others expectations and to eventually accept my new body.
It is okay to want to change your postpartum body
Once I stopped focusing on what others were saying, I started understanding how I really felt about my postpartum body. I realized there were things I needed to change for me. I wasn’t happy with my new body the way that it was. And even though it might sound shallow, I wasn’t going to be happy with how it looked if it stayed the way it was.
So, I made a plan to start eating healthy and exercise (under direction of my healthcare provider – please get clearance if you are postpartum before exercising). I worked hard to get my body to where I wanted it to be so that I could accept it. This wasn’t because I hated my body, I just felt that I was in mourning for my pre-pregnancy body. I wasn’t looking for perfection. Instead, I was trying to get to a place where I felt comfortable again in my own skin. Being pregnant and then not being pregnant anymore made me feel like I totally lost my identity. Making these changes helped me to find myself again.
It is okay to need to focus on you. To want to change something. To want to find YOU after having your baby. For nine months you were sharing your body with your baby. Now that you arn’t doing that anymore it is okay to feel the need to change. These feelings are all normal mama.
Realize that you might not get your body back to where you were pre-baby
Now a lot of women out there have the ability to bounce right back to their pre-pregnancy bodies pretty quickly. That was not me.
I don’t think I will ever get back to where I was before I got pregnant. But that is okay.
My body did a totally wonderful thing and gave me the best gift on the planet. I know I just said above that it is okay to want to change and it is. But don’t focus on going backwards.
You and I both know there is no way to get rid of 100% of the stretch marks or rotate your hips back in. Some things we can’t change. So, make realistic goals for yourself and accept that you may never get back to where you were before getting pregnant.
Sorry, but I like to keep it real on this page and that’s just the hard truth.
It is okay to take time for yourself postpartum
As mothers, we always put everyone else first. I think it is just ingrained in us to do so, but please make sure to take time for yourself. Make a point to take even just 10 minutes to shower or get changed or take a little “me time”. Whatever makes you feel good, take the time to do it.
I went through a phase postpartum where i just stayed in pjs 24/7, I would skip showers, throw my hair up in a bun and never put on any makeup. This started because I was simply exhausted and then for whatever reason it just continued. I completely stopped taking time to care for myself.
Then one day I had the realization that I needed to. I started to take a little time just to take care of me. I let my husband care for my daughter and I showered, did my nails and put on actual clothes.
You know what happened? I felt amazing. It was like a breath of fresh air. I felt like I found a part of myself that somehow got lost.
So, moral of the story? Even though you will feel overwhelmed and like there is no time when you have a new baby, take those 5 or 10 minutes a day and just do something small for yourself that you enjoy doing. It will make more of a difference than you know.
Don’t compare yourself to other mom’s
Trust me, every mother, regardless of how perfect they look or act, has their own struggles.
You can’t possibly know what is going on behind the scenes, so save yourself the stress and try not to compare yourself to anyone else.
Instead focus on that beautiful little baby right in front of you and just live in the present. Focus on being the best mom version of yourself.
It might take time but…
You will learn to be comfortable with your new body again mama. Be patient with yourself, it took nine whole months of growing and then birthing a baby to get to where you are now.
Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your feelings and know that they are valid. Self acceptance will come with time.
Do you have any other tips to learn to accept your new post baby body? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!