People often tell you how easy it is to love your baby once you’ve given birth, but they never tell you how hard it is to love your postpartum body and it is H-A-R-D. Trust me, I’ve been there, but I’ve also been able to cross over to the other side where I have learned to accept, appreciate and love my postpartum body.
Right after you give birth, you start the comparison game with other moms’ bodies and check to see how long it took them to ‘#bounce back’ or to #beatthemombod, two common hashtags used on Instagram referring to postpartum bodies; and to be honest this can be very dangerous. It’s a trigger that definitely puts a lot of pressure on us mothers (especially new moms) who have just been introduced into Motherhood and whose bodies have changed. Why do you think it’s okay to pressure yourself or let society pressure you into ‘bouncing back’? Why not instead honor this new body of yours- whatever it may look like?
You never step back to think that your body underwent a huge stress to nurture your baby or babies and not only that, but 9 months later, you conceive (whether it be natural delivery or C-section) and your body is a different one; it has transformed. And instead of looking into the mirror and appreciating and honoring your body, you shame it, you treat and speak to it unkindly. Why?
In order to embrace your new body, you need to have a mindset shift. You need to understand that it’s not about ‘bouncing back’ to your old body, it’s about realizing what you need to do to move through life in this new body of yours.
Your body gave it’s best for you and your baby so how can you give back to it? If you don’t know, that’s okay. I got you covered in 5 ways.
Here are 5 ways for you to give back to yourself and your body:
1. Admire your new body.
Every time you look in the mirror, admire your body. Admire your new stretch marks, spider veins, wobbly tummy and any other new features you see and be grateful. Be grateful for being able to grow a human inside your womb. Your body is strong and powerful. Give it love and kindness since it is healing from birth and your denial. Grab your favorite body cream and pamper yourself and your body with it.
2. Throw away your scale and find your mantras.
Stop hopping onto the scale every morning. This will only put more stress on your body which will make it harder for you to lose weight. Think of why you need to hop on the scale. You won’t find your worth on it. Your weight does not define your worth. Instead, find any mantra that resonates with you the most. As I like to see it, a mantra is a motivating chant that helps guide your thoughts into the right frame of mind to achieve your goal, which in this case will be the perception on your new body. Now that you have chosen your mantra, pick a place where you will see it every day such as your bathroom mirror, a post it-note on your computer, or a background picture on your phone. If you don’t know where to start it’s okay.
Here are a few options for you:
“I will not compare my postpartum body with any other mom’s”
“My motherhood journey and mom-bod is my own”
“I will not be ashamed of my postpartum body and I will wear clothes that make me feel confident and comfortable”
“I am so grateful my body created this beautiful baby”
“I honor my body and everything that it did during these months”
“I will be kind to my body everyday”
“I accept and love the body I live in”
“My weight does not define my worth”
“Slowly and naturally my body will lose weight”
3. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling.
It’s important for your partner to understand how you are feeling. If it’s not your partner, then find someone you can talk to because it’s important for you to feel supported. Whenever you feel depressed or sad, anxious, desperate, hopeless…. communicate with them this that you feel. Sometimes talking about our feelings will also make us feel a whole lot better. Yes, it’s sometimes as simple as that. I know it can be hard to ask for help but it is needed: for your wellbeing and your baby’s.
4. Meditate daily.
I promise you it’s worth it. The only thing you need to do is listen to a guided meditation in a comfortable position where you feel relaxed and just go with the flow. There is no wrong or right way to meditate, especially if it’s your first time. Find an app or Youtube meditation on anxiety, coping with postpartum or anything you are feeling that you need help with. This was truly a life saver for me when I was struggling, and it really did do the trick. It’s important not to forget that meditation is like going to the gym, if we want to see the results, we have to be consistent. Some meditation apps you might like are: headspace, Calm, Insight timer, Aura, Sattva and Inscape
5. Find ways that you love to move your body.
Whether it’s going out for a walk or run, hopping onto your stationary bike at home, going to a Zumba class at your gym, whatever floats your boat, go and move your body. Exercising increases endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine and endocannabinoid, in other words, the brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, less anxious or stressed, confident, capable increase and you well know this is a place you want to be.
Your body deserves to be honored and you deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel like a mother queen. Trust me, you will feel like a different person once you follow these 5 powerful ways.