How to Conquer Postpartum Body Image Struggles
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Accepting our postpartum body image a struggle many of us moms are far too familiar with. We’re always “waiting for our old body to come back” or “trying to lose the baby weight”, but what if we stopped to appreciate the miracle of life it created? This post will help you do just that.
The act of giving birth is probably one of the hardest things, physically, any woman will have to do in her lifetime. A close second is learning to love and accept your postpartum body image!
Why is it so hard?
Why do we get so caught up in wishing our tummies didn’t have stretch marks?
How come we get so self-conscious about how tired we look when we technically are being sleep-deprived?
Turns out, this common challenge has been long in the works. From mom after mom, we all carry on this framework of thinking our bodies need to “go back to normal”.
Today, I’m going to help you break that cycle of thinking.
Because guess what? Your body IS normal. It IS beautiful. And it SHOULD be accepted.
How does motherhood change your body after baby?
Understanding how motherhood changes your body — from pregnant all the way to postpartum might help you see why it deserves much more credit than you may be giving it.
Yes, your body may develop stretch marks, loose skin, saggy breasts, swollen feet, achy joints, urinary incontinence, skin changes, and more!
With all that loose skin was a home — a home that nourished your baby and kept him or her safe.
With those saggy breasts — came the food created just for your baby, by you.
With all those achy joints and incontinence — was a body that literally carried you and your baby for months on end safely so that one day you could unite, skin-to-skin, together.
But it isn’t just our physical selves that we struggle with, it’s also the deeper emotional shifts causing rough ground.
Be aware of these common postpartum body changes that occur:
Often times part of the reason moms go through such a rough identity shift in relation to their bodies is because they’re simply unaware of the changes they could face after birth.
These changes can include:
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)
- Swollen legs and feet (typically resolves over a few days after birth)
- Lingering back pain (sometimes linked to pelvic floor weakness)
- Weight gain
- Loose or wrinkly skin
- Stretch Marks
How to Conquer Your Postpartum Body Image Struggles
Now that you have a better understanding of what goes into the body changes you could be faced with after birth, now we can work on reframing that mindset about how it needs to get back to “normal”.
Instead of viewing postpartum as a time to eventually “return to a previous state” think of it as a time to “build upon and improve your current state”.
Use Positive Body Image Affirmations
Affirmations are like little cheerleaders on paper in your pocket.
You read one, you feel uplifted and it can really brighten your day.
Over time, practicing these positive affirmations consistently may just help you start to kick those negative views about your body image to the curb.
- I am strong and I am Beautiful — I am a Mother.
- I deserve to feel happy in my skin.
- My baby doesn’t need a perfect mom, my baby just needs me.
- I accept my imperfections as they do not define who I am.
- My baby is the most precious gift, brought into this world by my body.
- I choose health, happiness, and love for my body & my family.
- I created a life, a beautiful being within my body.
- I can withstand any obstacles life throws at me.
Address any postpartum body changes that are common, but not normal
I mentioned it above, but changes like leaking urine with you sneeze is common, but it sure isn’t normal.
If living with these changes is what’s causing you to feel so detached from your body, I have great news! You can fix them!
A little rehabilitation work with a physical therapist (one who specializes in pelvic floor work of course) can help you.
If you are unable to locate a local therapist or afford the help of one, I always suggest The Mutu System to postpartum moms.
It’s an online pelvic floor rehabiliation program that can be done from the comfort of your own home!
Their step-by-step instructional videos make it easy to follow, plus if you ever need extra help, they have an online support group where you can get all your questions answered.
In addition, the program is designed so well that you don’t have to worry about carving out a ton of time in the day to fit in the work.
The creators understand mom life comes first right now which is why they’ve broken the program down into smaller sections. So if Mutu System sounds like the program you need, make sure to check it out now!
Wear clothing that flatters your body
You don’t have to fall into the whole “live in your pajamas all day” trend after becoming a mom.
And your wardrobe does not need to consist of old baggy maternity clothing either.
Instead, freshen up that closet with some flattering outfits!
I know it can be a little tricky if you’re often nursing of pumping for your baby, but there’s options out there.
For instance, here are a few affordable, cute, and flattering nursing tops:
You can also find some cute postpartum pants and leggings here that won’t cost a fortune:
Looking for more postpartum support and advice? Check these out:
Did you or are you currently struggling with your postpartum body image? Share your experience in the comments below!