How I Learned to Love My Body: The Postpartum Series

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Face it ladies, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum can do a whole lot to your ego. In fact, there are so many changes that occur during the nine months of pregnancy.

I remember after I had my son I woke up the following morning and stared at myself in the mirror. I stood in front of that big bathroom mirror, shocked and overwhelmed. Tears streamed down my face and I locked the door, not wanting to leave that bathroom because that’s where I felt somewhat safe and sheltered. My body changed. Everything stretched out for nine months and now it went back down but not like before. My belly sagged and I couldn’t even hold my breath and suck it all in. There were stretch marks I didn’t see before.

The skin was lose. The belly hung. The boobs were massive and highly sensitive. Oh and I wore grownup diapers. The image was far from beautiful. I didn’t care about all those Instagram moms who boast about their postpartum body. I hated mine. The stretch marks didn’t make me proud. In fact, I didn’t want to accept this body.

The baby was great. Cute, easy, and I felt so much love for him. But my body? I hated it. I hid behind baggy clothes for weeks and avoided my dresser. There was no feeling of pride that I just birthed a 7lb baby. I hated the stretch marks, the overstretched skin, the swollen ankles, and the smell of breastmilk followed me everywhere.

There was no blissful postpartum moment for me.

 

You know, postpartum is a crazy thing. There is so much overwhelming love for this new human being that you can hardly contain it all. But at the same time you feel disconnected with yourself. It’s almost as if you lost the beauty inside of you and you feel 100% unhappy with the new you. You birthed a human being and on top of all the body changes, you don’t sleep and having time to eat a nutritious well balanced meal seems almost impossible at times. With my first I remember eating eggs right out of the pan, no fork, just my hands.

Motherhood really takes a toll on a woman. There is so much change, no sleep, and it’s so easy to fall into a pit of depression. The sunny days soon turn cloudy and eventually you feel as if you’re sitting underneath a rainy cloud for days and days. The rain lingers and sometimes lightning strikes. Y’all, motherhood is no joke. It’s tough.

I was blessed both times to not experience postpartum blues but I have friends who went through it. I’m not to say I have it easy. Gosh no. I had my second baby six weeks ago and dealing with two under two has its own stress. I can’t say there has been an easier day. But I can say there are many wonderful, sweet, and beautiful moments.

Postpartum is a real issue 

The tears are normal and so are the smiles. It is absolutely normal to feel like a monster is tearing you up from the inside out and for you to not even recognize the skin you are in. I remember dreading showers after I had my son. I hated undressing even in front of me. But in all honesty, I was hurting myself more than anyone and not to forget, my marriage as well. I hated my body. I loved the baby, but hated the body.

Ladies, hear me out. You don’t have to accept the body after birth. You don’t have to be okay with the wobbly belly, the saggy butt, and the feeling of being depressed. I know there are a ton of moms who accept and deal with this “mom life reality factor” but listen to me, if you’re not happy with that decision then why settle?

Don’t settle for less

Once you decide to settle you’ll have a real hard time telling yourself to reverse and go the complete opposite way. A super tiny portion of me wanted to settle. I wanted to believe that I didn’t have enough time in my day to stay fit and healthy and that it would be so much easier to just sit, watch TV, munch on potato chips and candy bars, and feel sorry for myself. But you know what kicked me in the butt? My son. I made a commitment to portray a good example so that he will grow up knowing the importance of healthy choices.

Forget the mom body

You don’t have to have the mom body in order to be the mom. Just because you are fit doesn’t mean you are a loser of a mom. It doesn’t mean you care more about yourself and less about your family. In fact it’s crazy important to care for you so you can be the best mom to your means. If you feel good about yourself then you can give 100% to your family. I want you to feel beautiful, mama. I want you to feel confident, strong, and valuable. You don’t have to settle for the jiggly belly, the muffin top hiding underneath your husband’s t-shirt, and the saggy butt covered up by the mom sweatpants. Get out, make yourself feel beautiful and care for your body.

Active is Key

After I had my son I made a commitment to workout a minimum of four times a week, five to six times would be a bonus. Since that commitment I have stayed true to my word. Let me be honest with you, my living room is my gym. I have weights, bands, and no excuses come in my way. I incorporate my children in my workout if I have to. Your children will copy your habits. What habits do you have that you portray in front of your kids? They are like sponges. Choose wisely.

You Matter and How YOU Feel Matters

You know the saying if momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy? That’s the darn right truth ladies. I make sure to fit in a 30 minute workout every morning. I also make sure I’m on top with my nutrition. Oh and I stopped comparing myself to other moms long time ago. Feel proud of who you are, what you are capable of, and give yourself credit.

Just because you birthed a baby doesn’t mean you have to stop right there. You took so much consideration the past nine months and cared for this tiny human’s health. Now it’s your turn to take care of you. Postpartum is really difficult. The changes are unasked for. But you don’t have to accept all of it.

Kick postpartum in the butt!

Number One Best Part:

Don’t worry too much. Seriously, that might sound so hard to do but eventually your body will go back. Kinda. Don’t feel overwhelmed with everything I talked about. Begin a light exercise routine and carry a mindset that doesn’t care what others think. If you absolutely love your body from the git-go, then heck, all the power to you. But if you’re more like me (someone with a healthy lifestyle, full of exercise and fitness), push yourself to another extreme. You don’t have to settle if you’re not happy. But please remember to love yourself regardless. You birthed a human. That’s a superpower, woman!

What’s one thing you struggled most with your postpartum journey?

And don’t forget to check out last’s week’s post here!

22 thoughts on “How I Learned to Love My Body: The Postpartum Series

  1. Love this! It’s so important to feel good and strong after baby! 30 minutes is all you need. And the mental impact far outweighs the physical! Thanks for sharing your journey!

    1. Kim, thanks for stopping by! You’re so right. The mental aspect definitely outweighs the physical. I’ve been determined to stop criticizing my body (my April challenge) and it has been huge to me!

  2. I have three kids, ages almost 14, 8 and 1. The first two, the weight melted off and I was back in my regular clothes at 6 weeks. The last baby, well, I’m a lot older this time around and I’ve been carrying an extra 15-20 lbs. since that pregnancy. I was blessed that I never got stretch marks, but I have a bit of a belly and I still don’t fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes. I gave myself a lot of grace the first year (well, actually, she’s almost two now!). I got comfortable with what I looked like and accepted my body for the amazing gifts it bore. It even got to the point where I was no longer uncomfortable being intimate with my extra bits of skin and slightly larger thighs, which was a good thing for my marriage. However, a couple weeks ago, I fainted unexpectedly and broke my nose and ended up with a concussion. Something about that was a wake-up call for me. I stopped eating all the processed food, stopped ordering takeout, went grocery shopping and bought nutritious, clean food. I’ve been eating better for two weeks now and feel so much better. I cannot workout for 6 weeks following my concussion, but I’m going to start doing yoga when I’m able. I decided that I don’t have to be comfortable with those extra pounds, I can do something to help myself feel better. And set a good example for my children as well!

    1. Jen, you are such an inspiration and incredible! Way to go, mama! I am so proud of you for making a difference and not accepting the weight. You are definitely on the right path. Stick to it and you will see results! I’m excited for your fitness/weight loss journey. I hope you have a fast recovery and glad you are already doing better! <3

  3. Postpartum anything is tough! I lost my baby weight but NOTHING is the same. So even though I am back to my pre baby size, it just is not the same. Boobs are smaller, butt is different, my face is skinnier…I can either be happy or be miserable. Much easier when you accept the changes and move on. Good for you for sticking to your goals and getting happy!

    1. Carrie, agree! It’s not easy though and there are many times throughout the day when I have to remind myself that my body has birthed two babies and it is beautifully made. My mind likes to play tricks on me unfortunately.

  4. It is so interesting to me how some MOMs are so happy and hung-ho post baby delivery and some are the complete opposite. It kind of scares me as to what I might turn out being!

    1. It’s all up to you, girl! You are in control of your own emotions! I stay fit because of me, honestly. I feel beautiful and accomplished when I get a workout in and knowing that also makes for a happy marriage! Do what’s best for you.

  5. While I truly have grown to love every stretch mark that created my babies (after all, they are tangible proof I was blessed enough to carry these miracles after wondering if I ever would with my fertility issues-PCOS), those first moments postpartum in front of a mirror have been shocking for me both times. It honestly creeps me out to see my loose belly soon after birth, like in a phobic kind of way- feeling your organs shift back into place is just truly frightening to me! It feels impossible in those moments that the newly deflated belly will ever feel less vulnerable again. Postpartum is definitely horribly overlooked and it makes me so sad that society as a whole doesn’t do more to embrace mothers after birth.

    1. Sarah, absolutely! In fact, I feel like postpartum is pushed under the carpet and ignored so much. So many moms are vulnerable and hurt and this topic needs to be in the open more. I am so thankful you have your babies and that you love every single stretch mark. Same here! I didn’t get any with my second but my first brought them all on. However, he was also my rainbow baby so I treasure every mark! You’re beautiful mama! <3

  6. I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel about my postpartum body. I love that you say that it’s OKAY to feel all the feelings, but that it’s also okay to want to do something about it. We can still get back into shape and not feel vain, right??

    1. Absolutely, Ashley! You are taking care of the body God gave you! You are fearfully and wonderfully made and taking care of our body shows our gratitude to Him. It’s all about priorities and not going to an extreme that will make you sick and anxious. Enjoy life and be happy in your skin!

    1. I totally relate to you! Even though I’m thinner now than before kids, my belly wrinkles and that bothers me from time to time. I am learning to be thankful for it because it’s a reminder that I have beautiful, healthy babies!

  7. I have had 3 c sections, along with some complications that required additional surgery, so my biggest struggle with postpartum is always that I have to limit my activity a lot, and can’t do a ton of super active stuff for quite a while. I also found that any time I started to really lose the baby weight, my milk supply tanked, so it all became a big balancing act.

    1. You’re listening to your body and that is key! I am so glad you know your limits and you are more concerned with your babies than yourself. You’re a mama and an amazing one at that! 🙂

  8. I’m so glad I read this! I started exercising this week and I want to start dieting and this was just what I. Ended to hear!

  9. Wonderful words! So important to feel good about yourself as a mom. We try to stay as active as possible, so that helps with releasing energy and also getting some exercise in. I’ve learned to worry less and love myself for just being me.

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