Becoming a mom changes EVERYTHING for a woman. The fear of change is one of the things that almost kept me from going on the best journey of my life. Before I got pregnant with my first child I was in an all out war with my body. I hated it for as long as I can remember and the thought of it being “ruined” forever was enough to make me question motherhood all together. I had never talked to a mom who actually loved her body. It was always talks of diets and workouts they hated and wearing shorts and a t-shirt to the beach.
I was already living that life. Why would I want to make it even worse?! But a bigger fear of mine was regretting NOT having a child someday so I went for it. After a miscarriage and a year of trying, I became pregnant with my daughter. The food and body image struggle I had before was amplified times 1000 throughout my pregnancy and postpartum period. But I had to ask myself, why?? I was so grateful to have been able to carry a child and to have a healthy baby girl in my arms why couldn’t I be okay with the body that brought her to me?
What was the REAL reason I hated my postpartum body so much? Was it really because my stomach was loose and saggy? Or that I wasn’t walking out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans? Or that I wouldn’t look like JLo in a bikini?
It was definitely something more. There’s no way I could harbor that much hate for the body that brought me my biggest joy in life. The real reason I hated it so much was because I felt more out of control than ever before. My life was completely different and the one thing I wanted control over more than anything was my body. But that control was gone the minute I became pregnant and now I was left feeling more out of touch with myself than ever before.
I had always had big boobs but after giving birth and attempting to breastfeed, they were GIGANTIC and made me want to crawl out of my skin. I had spent my entire life uncomfortable and self-conscious about them, to the point that I was scheduled for breast reduction surgery before finding out I was pregnant. Between chronic dieting, punishing myself at the gym, and the never-ending desire to change my body I realized it was control over my body that I had always been seeking and never attaining. Not 6-pack abs or a thigh gap.
So what can you do if you find yourself struggling with the lack of control over your most personal asset as you navigate postpartum and motherhood?
You can start focusing on how you want to FEEL about your body and less about how you want your body to look. In your ideal world, what thoughts and feelings come up when you look in the mirror? How would you talk about your body to yourself and in front of others? How would you talk to your best friend if she was saying she needed to lose 20 pounds? How do you want your children to feel about their bodies? How would it feel to LOVE what you see in the mirror as you are right now and not when you change x,y,z?
Ask yourself these questions and allow yourself to really feel into it. Start saying your answers out loud to yourself in the mirror every single day even if you don’t believe it yet. You will. The only one stopping you from loving your postpartum “mom bod” is you and you have the power to change that. Give yourself grace, time and compassion and before you know it you’ll be having more body loving days than ever before.