Everyone knows that your body changes during pregnancy. I mean it’s obvious that it’s going to have change to be able to fit a baby inside it. So for the most part it’s easy to accept the changes pregnancy brings. Maybe even embrace them.
But once the baby is born we start to watch our bodies with anticipation that they are going to miraculously spring back into shape. Erasing any sign that we’ve just given birth.
I can see why women think this is what is going to happen. We’ve all seen photos of celebrities in bikini’s 4 weeks after giving birth looking like they’ve just stepped off the catwalk. But this is not necessarily reality. Behind every celebrity who ‘bounces back’ immediately there is probably a personal trainer, chef, nanny and small army of people who helped her do it. Or she’s just bloody luck and won the genetic lottery.
The rest of us mere mortals have to accept that our post-baby body’s are going to take a while to get anywhere near where they were before and might never do so.
And this is normal! I can’t stress this enough. Your body simply cannot go back to the way it was before. Even if you manage to get back to your pre-baby weight or figure you might have loose skin, stretch marks, boobs that aren’t quite as pert as they were or varicose veins. You might even have been left with all of those.
So your post-baby body will be different and that might be hard for you to accept. Again, this is normal. Lots of women really struggle with their body image after a baby. They worry about their weight or are ashamed that their stomach still looks several months pregnant.
If this is you, don’t worry. You can learn to love your post-baby body and feel amazing about yourself again. It can feel a little overwhelming though so here are my top 3 tips on how you can embrace your body after a baby.
#1 – Ditch the scales
I’m pretty sure that all women jump on the scales after their baby is born to see how much they weigh. I also suspect that most of us are left pretty horrified by the number they see and completely disheartened by the thought of how many pounds we’d have to shift to get back to our pre-baby weight. Then, if you are anything like me, you probably end up ‘just checking’ your weight regularly to see if the pounds are melting away. Only to feel terrible if they aren’t.
Here’s my advice. Get rid of the scales. Now. Your weight is just a number. It shouldn’t, and doesn’t, define who you are. Your weight won’t tell you how good a mum you are. How loved you are by the people around you. It won’t show you how kind, caring or loving you are. Or how successful you are at what you do.
So stop weighing yourself and using it as a measure of whether your post-baby body is ‘good enough’ yet. Your body has created life. Grown it. Protected it. Birthed it and now gives you everything you need to be an amazing mum to your baby. I’d say that’s good enough.
#2 – Let go of the past
After we’ve had a baby we can get a little hung up on how things used to be. We want to be at our pre-baby weight. We want to wear our pre-baby clothes. Perhaps we want to be able to dress the same as we did before baby came along. Or maybe we just wish our stretch marks would disappear so our skin looked like it used to.
Time to be blunt – the more you hang on to the past, the more you stop yourself moving forward and loving the new you.
Your body is different now. It’s OK to need bigger clothes. It can be fun to find new styles of clothing that suit your new shape. Or just because you don’t feel comfortable in crop tops anymore doesn’t mean you can’t embrace low cut tops that show off your newly acquired cleavage. Embrace the body you’ve got now and stop worrying about trying to get back to what you had (because it’s unlikely to happen and do you really want to be miserable until it does?).
#3 – Detox your social media
Social media can play a huge part in how we feel about our post-baby body. Seeing posts of women who are celebrating being back into their pre-baby jeans before they’ve even left the hospital is going to make you feel pretty awful. Plus there are so many toxic messages on there about how to lose the baby weight fast or how you can get a fabulous ‘mom bod’ by just exercising like a crazy woman every time your baby naps (and spoiler alert – you already have a fabulous ‘mom bod’).
These posts can make you feel that your body should be different. They can make you feel guilty that you aren’t dieting or exercising. Or that it’s your fault you don’t have a toned stomach after a baby. They might make you feel like there is something wrong with you that you haven’t snapped back into shape. And often, they just make you feel really (really) bad about yourself.
So stop looking at them! Unfollow any accounts or hashtags with photos like this. Find body positive accounts instead (hint – follow me on Instagram @howtofeelsexyinbigknickers for a start). Choose to follow social media that will show you how to love your body. That will inspire you and encourage you to embrace the body you have now.
So there you have it. 3 tips to help you learn to love your post baby body. If you have any others just let me know in the comments below!
Love Kate x
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