Author: Brittany Winfrey
There is no mistaking it, having a baby transforms you, and your body. It spent 9 months growing a human being, that’s a pretty intense ordeal. Once the baby is out, you may feel like a stranger in your own body or realize you’re stuck in this place between what you used to look like and what you want to look like. The fact is neither of which will actually be achievable.
Lets face it, postpartum bodies are soft and squishy – perfect to cuddle a newborn. They might have marks that weren’t there before. There’s a huge misconception that those pre-pregnancy jeans will be able to button up right away, along with enormous pressure for postpartum women to return to pre-pregnancy shape. This pressure comes from many sources including the media, family and your social sphere.
All this makes it way too easy to focus on critiquing your body, and not nearly enough time appreciating it, loving it or even using it to do the things that you love.
Here are some tips on how to practice embracing your postpartum body:
1. Realize your body is adjusting to a new norm
Your body changes constantly throughout your lifetime and pregnancy is a pretty good reason for your body to change. Hormones shifts, constant changes in bra sizes, wider hips, and this thing called “mom-brain” are now the new norm. It’s not about getting your body back, it’s about figuring out how to move through life in this NEW body that you’re in today. It’s the same body that grew a tiny human and yet it’s a different, and forever-changed, body.
2. Flip the script
Focus on what your body can do rather than what it looks like. You spent almost a year creating a new person. The stork didn’t just drop this kid off on your porch! You may be breastfeeding and making food for your baby. Even if you are not nursing you are your babies go-to person for comfort and nourishment . Be gentle with yourself. If you’re making progress towards your goals (internal and external), that is all that matters.
3. Focus on how you feel
When you start listening to how your body feels, instead of how it looks in the mirror, you’ll start feeling grateful for your body and make better choices to keep feeling healthy. Feed the body food that makes you feel good, instead of being on a diet that makes you feel hungry all day long. Move your body to boost endorphins, strengthen your muscles and improve your mental health.
4. Banish negative self-talk
Release the negative thoughts you have about yourself, and start to acknowledge your efforts and achievements. Look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself something you like about yourself. It may be hard to believe what you say at first, but for every day you do this, you’ll train your brain to be more positive and soon enough you’ll start believing what you say. It’s also helpful to start a gratitude journal and write down something you are thankful for each day.
5. Focus on you
Ask yourself what your body needs and do those things. Tune out all the pressures of society. Give yourself as much self-care as possible by getting enough rest, eating well and exercising gently. Try to not rush back into the swing of things, remember you have been through a lot and it’s ok to slow down for a little while. Be kind to yourself.