Becoming a mother is a beautiful and life altering experience. It also comes with physical baggage.
Some women struggle to drop the extra weight of carrying a child and feel embarrassed by their stretch marks, sags, and bags. Other women carry it as a badge of honor. The balance between celebrating what your body has done, and becoming acclimated to your new self, can be a difficult one. As you gaze through fashion magazines, you notice pages full of women who seem to snap back almost instantly after having a baby. This can create feelings of jealousy, doubt, and frustration. If you find yourself having negative feelings about your postpartum body, here are a few tips to get out of the slump:
Give yourself some grace
I remember the feelings I felt when I couldn’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes a month after giving birth. My mother reminded me that it took 9 months to grow a baby, and I needed to cut myself some slack as I worked to get my weight down. I took her advice and began enjoying my maternity leave and stopped getting angry with myself when I didn’t snap back immediately. It takes time mommas!
Work on being healthy instead of skinny
When you can, take a walk around the park. Take a Zumba or Yoga class. Eat healthy snacks. Drink lots of water. Caring for a newborn can zap the life out of any new mom. Those tired feelings are intensified the more children you add to the equation. Don’t guilt yourself into thinking that you have to be a certain weight or size. Concentrate on bonding with your child(ren) and being healthy. Your goal weight/size will come.
Embrace your new body
After having 2 kids, I found myself with curves in different places. I’ve always been thin, so I was excited to finally have more curves! Sometimes the post pregnancy body leaves you with a curvier shape than you’ve had before. Embrace it!
Find comfort in moms like you
One of the most encouraging pictures I’ve ever seen of a new mom is Princess Kate. It was so refreshing to see her post-baby pooch and smiling face. In that moment, I related to her! After I had my second child, I left the hospital looking like I was still pregnant. To date, this is one of my favorite pictures of my family. Looking at that pictures brings back feelings of euphoria and excitement. And one day it will bring comfort to my girls when they see my postpartum tummy.
Most women do not have flat stomachs immediately after birth. They have bags under their eyes, and at times haven’t showered in days. Know that you aren’t alone. Make connections with other moms and celebrate together.
Ignore the haters
The older you get, the harder it can become to lose weight. Life happens and you may have gained all the weight you had lost. Friends and family look at you and make jokes about your size.It hurts.
For example, a few weeks ago, I went for a bridesmaid fitting at David’s Bridal. As the consultant put the measuring tape around my midsection, she commented that I had a belly and asked if I was pregnant.
I was mortified. I haven’t seen the bride in four years, and since then I’ve had 2 kids. I was skinnier after having both kids, but since then, life happened. Before I knew it, I had burst into tears. I wore a flowy dress that day in hopes I could hide whatever weight I hadn’t lost, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. One of my insecurities was exposed.
After telling the associate how inappropriate her comment was, I wiped my tears and decided to have a good day. After this experience, I decided to not let another’s opinions of me, determine my value. I thought I was a pretty tough person, but her comment exposed my vulnerability.