Loving That Postpartum Body
Life with a newbornYou’ve just had your baby. The moment you’ve been waiting for, all these months. And while you loved your growing belly, there was definitely the excitement of getting your body back to normal after your bundle of joy arrived. Looking like yourself again. Putting on those amazing jeans and all the other clothes that you missed. Your foot swelling going away, indigestion leaving, and life just getting back to what it was. Sounds great right?
Except that no one really told you, that after you have your baby, you will still look pregnant. And then, your milk will come in and it will be so painful. Never mind how sore you will be, especially if you needed an incision. And, if you had a C-section it will take you weeks to recover. Despite the cute IG posts of the small percentage of women that pop out a baby and go directly back to regular life, looking like a supermodel – that’s not really the story for most women. In reality, it’s literally going to take weeks for you to start to feel like yourself again, and your body will keep changing. It might never go back to what it was.
And guess what? That’s ok.
Accept your postpartum bodyIt’s easy to be really hard on yourself after you’ve had a baby. The collective struggles of women with body image is something that has been a part of life forever. It’s worse for those postpartum women coming to grips with new body changes that they never expected. But what if we all decided to love ourselves exactly as we are? What if we didn’t place our value solely on our size, and stopped comparing ourselves to others? How about we just accept our bodies. All women, but especially those who have just given birth to a child.
Be patient, and give yourself some grace. It’s a process that you have to go through, so instead of looking at yourself and your progress with distain – rest and let your body heal and recover. Feed it well, take care of yourself, and do what you need to do in this new season. Love what you see when you look into the mirror, turn off social media if you need to, and embrace whatever stage your body is at.
Your body did an amazing thingSo hello. You just grew another HUMAN BEING inside of you. Stop and think about that for a minute. It’s called the miracle of life for a reason. So, cut yourself a break. You grew a baby, now you are equipped to feed a baby with your body, if you so choose, and now you have to care for that baby. So, who really cares if you can’t zip your jeans up right away? This is the time for you to live your best comfy life.
Get out your sweats and live in the coziest clothes you have, and park yourself of the couch. Let your body rest and heal. It’s pretty amazing, and it deserves your praise. When you feel stronger, start moving around and exercising when you can. Look to that healthy lifestyle because that will make you feel better physically and mentally. But remember the amazing thing your body just did (making another person), and let it take a little vacation from the pressure you want to put on it.
It’s only a seasonThe first few days after giving birth are generally challenging. You’re not getting sleep, your body is still adjusting, you’re figuring out a new schedule with a newborn and everything in your world has changed. But remember, it won’t be like this forever. You will learn what to do, and before you know it, you will start to feel like yourself again. You’ll get the feeding on track, your body will adjust to getting up in the night, your hormones will settle down and you will get into a whole new groove. Post-partum is only a season. Your body is amazingly created and intricate and it will get back on track.
Eat healthy, sleep when you can, and get outside in the fresh air with your baby stroller and breathe in deep. Your body will thank you. You may even fit into those jeans again too, but if you don’t – that’s ok. Loving your body is not about size, it’s about care. And, if you do keep struggling, especially emotionally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Taking care of yourself in physically and mentally is so important. You will get through this season.
Focus on loving the little human you createdYour new little baby love doesn’t care if you can do 100 squats a days. Or, if you have a flat tummy, and if everyone you meet tells you, “you don’t even look like you had a baby.” Don’t stop caring about your health, but don’t let it consume you. You get to hold a precious gift in your arms each day, and that little human doesn’t care that your pants have an elastic waist, or that your nursing bra is getting a little ratty. You are mom. MOM. The most glorious and wonderful person in their life. The one who cared for them both inside and outside the womb. That’s what matters. Love yourself, because you have created a new life, who loves you exactly the way that you are. If you can be given that unconditional love, then treat yourself with it too. So offer that love, back to yourself.
Embracing the SeasonNo one ever said that having a baby would be easy. They DO say that life will never be the same. And that’s true! You now have the amazing responsibility of bringing a child up, what a wonderful job! Everything is now divided into seasons, for the rest of your life. So embrace each one, even the ones that feel hard, and keeping rocking your new motherhood life.
Love yourself, and all that motherhood has made you!