postpartum body image

You spent nine months growing your baby, waiting in anticipation and analyzing everything in your pregnancy. And finally the day came that changed your life forever: your baby’s arrival. You can only read so much to prepare yourself about pregnancy and after birth, but a certain grey area often forgotten is the toll pregnancy can take on your body and self-esteem.

Your new body may look unfamiliar. Mine did, and I had a hard time learning to accept my body after birth. I felt very alone and I know women are very hard on themselves (I am one of them); we are surrounded by a lot of high expectations in the media often depicting an unrealistic post-birth recovery. I remember seeing so many women on Instagram just bounce back after having their babies and I assumed that would be me.

In most cases, though, that just isn’t a reality. Let’s start focusing on honest beauty instead of striving to live up to those high expectations.

Next time you look in the mirror, lift yourself up with these words of encouragement:

1. Your body is a hero’s body.

To love the new you postpartum, you need to be proud of yourself and what you’ve just accomplished. Giving birth is a superhero power. And after giving birth you need to give yourself time to heal. Your stretch marks are your beauty marks and worth everything. Try focusing on your happiness and what is positive in your life at that moment. Meeting new mothers that are experiencing the same vulnerability is also very helpful.

2. Your little miracle made those changes worthwhile.

Remember this truth: You are now a mother. Soak in those newborn moments. Your new beauty marks are a gentle reminder of your strength. What your baby needs is his or her mother and your body is now their safe haven.

3. Your features deserve love.

When we look in the mirror, we tend to become our worst critics. We believe that the criticism we give ourselves is simply the truth. But, truly, we are causing our own unwarranted and harsh judgment.

Boost your mood and focus on your beautiful points like your smile, your hair or your eyes. We are so great at focusing on our shortcomings instead of our strengths, so find something you like about yourself when you look in the mirror and focus on that or speak a mantra. For example, the next time you look in the mirror tell yourself, “I just created life. My scars are an accomplishment. I am only human and I am doing the best I can to be a great mother.”

“I just created life. My scars are an accomplishment. I am only human and I am doing the best I can to be a great mother.”

4. You don’t need to be so hard on yourself.

Accept that we judge ourselves more harshly than others do. No one is expecting you to look perfect. Recognize that even if you don’t go back to your pre-baby weight, it’s not the end of the world. You aren’t the only one and you get to share these newfound characteristics with many mothers around the world.

At the end of the day, don’t let your body affect your happiness and confidence. Once you have children you learn what’s really deserving of your time and focus. Your imperfections are to be celebrated and most of the time those imperfections are only ones you can see.

Did you have a hard time with your postpartum self? What helped?

Image via Dakota Corbin

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5 comments

  1. Shereen, as a mother of two I just want to thank you so much for starting this conversation. Advertising and celebrities target new moms with unrealistic expectations. Recovering in the post -partum period after baby 2 was a huge learning curve for me. I love both my babies and I’m learning to love this new body too.

    Hannah
    https://www.theblessedlittlelife.com/

  2. Thank you for bringing this topic to light. My son is almost two and I still haven’t lost the weight! I had postpartum depression for months before I even realized it. Being a new mom is tough, but so worth it! I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!!

  3. This article is incredible. I think about this constantly, that new mothers in our society feel ashamed instead of joyous and insecure instead of proud. Im just happy we are opening up the discussion as women to not feel alone in child barring and birth. We need to be seeing it as you said, a “super power”, because it is!

    Thank you <3

  4. I totally agree with this– it’s all how we think about it. I had my second baby two months the ago and while I get frustrated sometimes with my body, I try and tell myself that the weight will come off in time and I do not want to miss out on the joys of this time being sad about something so temporary. Babies grow so fast and every moment should be savored!

  5. Every time I read about the effects of pregnancy on a woman’s body, both physical and emotional, I get so anxious about it and it really has me on the edge about ever having a baby. I just can’t imagine going through the feelings you get after birth! I seriously applaud all mothers out there who have made it through the tough ride of loving yourself again!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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