Loving Your Postpartum Body
Becoming a mother is a selfless act.You are somewhat prepared for the lifestyle changes that come with parenthood. Thanks to babywearing, grandparents, friends, and babysitters, you can still have a social life – maybe even a break once in a while.
What are you not prepared for?
Your ‘New’ Body.You may think you are prepared, but it will still surprise you. And each pregnancy, each baby will be different – trust me. I’m sitting here typing in my workout clothes because this ROCKSTAR body over here that has grown four beautiful babies is taking a bit longer to fit into anything that is not stretchy this time. I started running again (Hello Marine Corp Marathon 2016, I’m coming for you!) and I can feel the postpartum jiggle on my belly, butt, and thighs… and it just feels weird- almost foreign. Ya’ll – I only gained 20lbs with pregnancy #4 and stayed in killer shape the entire time. I completely thought I’d be back in my skinny jeans with my toned abs by 4-6 weeks postpartum like in the past. NOPE. I still have hope – and determination. I run daily and exercise during any free time. But instead of hating this period with my body, I have decided to embrace it (the best I can). I will not go crazy, but I will continue to exercise and tone this new body into its healthiest and strongest version. During pregnancy, the body changes in many ways. Our pelvis opens, we gain weight, breasts swell, and that’s just the foundation; many women experience other ailments that alter their bodies. Once the baby is born, the body must heal and contract back into shape. Sometimes this seems to happen overnight (I’m talking about my 26-year-old, first baby, 6 pack abs self who could wear her skinny jeans 5 days after birth… BITCH). Other times the body holds on to the weight and doesn’t bring the hips back together as quickly or at all (As in, this 33-year-old body may not have the same elasticity and vigor that my former self had. GET IT TOGETHER BODY.) Whether you are stretch marked, or loose-skinned, gigantic boob’d or have deflated balloons, you are a mother… and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. But I understand the insecurities. In my own journey to acceptance, I have found a few things that have helped while I continue to work toward my body goals.
(This is how I workout now)
How to Love Your Postpartum Body
Don’t let insecurities keep you from stripping naked and feeling confident.
- Know what is normal: It took 9 months to stretch and grow a baby. Your body will go through stages as it heals and adapts to life as a mother. You will still look pregnant following birth. For some women, this phase lasts longer than others (especially c-section recovery moms). This is normal.
- Look at yourself naked: I mean REALLY look. Stand in front of the mirror naked. Yes, you will want to start criticizing yourself; it’s been ingrained in us to do so – but try not to. Instead, see the beauty. Your body is incredible; it just grew a human being who will never see the flaws that you see.
- Have sex: You are a GODDESS!! You birthed a baby, let that confidence roll on into the bed with you… Nothing makes you feel good in your skin like good sex.
- Skip the scale: I am within 3lbs of my pre-baby weight, but none of my clothes fit. The scale is a crappy item that messes with your mind and can sabotage your hard work! Instead of stepping on it every day, choose one day a week and read the results with a grain of salt. (Engorged breasts are not your friend on a scale!) Or just pack the damn thing away until you are ready for it again.
- Wear clothes that flatter you: While I *can* get a pair of jeans buttoned, I am completely uncomfortable in them. They do not flatter my body at all. Wearing unflattering clothes will make you hate your body – period. There is no way around that. I am currently living in nice workout clothes (no one needs to know that I haven’t worked out yet today) or the one pair of skinny maternity jeans with the low cut belly band. You can’t tell they are maternity jeans, they make my butt look great, and they make me happy right now. If you have the means, splurge on a few pieces that flatter your body right now.
- Exercise: Besides being good for your health, exercise releases endorphins that make you happy. Get sweaty, join a gym, follow a DVD, use a pinterest workout plan, or just lace up your shoes and hit the pavement each day.
- Drink water: Drink LOTS of water. You will have brighter, firmer skin (not to mention all the other water-consumption benefits)!
- Look at your food choices: Eat whole, real foods and skip the processed crap that comes in a box. Make freezer meals so you know you have healthy dinners ready. Cut the dairy and gluten as they are inflammatory foods
- Set Goals: By actively working toward attainable goals, you will be able to see your body as transitional and not your new normal.
To all of you – know you are not alone. No one is judging you, only you are judging you. Look at this child that you created and let yourself love the body that grew him!