Monday, February 5, 2018

Truly Love Your Body After Child Birth

I am of the opinion that loving your body means a lot more than just accepting the way that your body looks.  I struggled big time with body image issues every time I had a kid and new stretch marks were added, and my bust didn't look the same, and there was some extra skin and extra weight and a lot of extra other stuff. Some of the things that change your body during and after pregnancy are not things you can change or control. Stretch marks happen for some women and don't for others and you can't get rid of them with fancy creams, they can fade in color but the stretch mark will always be there. That's something that you do just have to accept and that takes time.

But there are other things that you CAN change if you learn to love your body and yourself the right way.  Excepting that your body will never be the same after having a baby is 100% ok. It's what you need to do. But excepting those things and being comfortable with that idea doesn't mean you should give up on your body altogether or that it's not possible to get back to where you were, or even better than before.

Truly loving your body after childbirth means that you take care of your body after having a baby. Our bodies do so much for us that we don't even realize. It's important to take care of your body so that you can do even more with it in the future. So let's talk about how to take care of yourself for a little bit. I think this is something that we hear about a lot and we talk about a lot but not a lot of people know what it means or where to start. In order to take care of our bodies, we need to make sure that we are eating right and that we are moving!

Nutrition and exercise are hugely important to our bodies and minds and to be able to do the things we are able to do.  If we don't treat our bodies the right way, we won't have the energy to use them to take care of our families.  Making sure that you're getting the right nutrition and enough water (HERE is one of my favorite tools for making sure I get enough water a day It's a Blender Bottle that has time marks on it so that you know how much you need to drink by a certain time of day.) is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and for your health. I'm not a nutrition expert. But I know what's working for me and for my body and I can feel it when I'm off or when I haven't had enough good nutrients or drinking enough water for the day. Knowing what works for your body can get tricky, and if you need someone to tell you what to eat or how much of everything your body needs, then I'd suggest consulting a doctor or a nutritionist. I know that if I eat mostly good things (fruits, veggies, protein, good carbs...) then indulging in a milkshake or a cookie or something like that isn't going to be a big deal for me. But if I'm rushed all day and my meals are grabbing something as I head out the door to get my kids where they need to be, then I'm not going to feel good by dinner time and I'll pay for it for the next day or so.  When you eat mostly junk, you're going to mostly feel like junk.

This is the type of food I normally eat. It doesn't have to be a perfect diet, but it needs to be a balanced one.

Knowing your body and the things that you can change is important. You need to be able to feel comfortable and confident in your body. But, there's a big difference between standing in front of the mirror and nit-picking your body, and standing in front of a mirror and knowing what parts of your body you want to work on.  The difference is that when you find the thing you don't like, you focus on making a change (a change of habit or a change of attitude) instead of looking in the mirror and naming an endless list of things you don't like about your body.

Focus mostly on the things that you can change. You can change that you have extra fat on your stomach or in your face. You can change how toned your arms are. You can get your 6 pack back. You can change that it's much harder for you to walk up the stairs now without being out of breath now. You can change all those things by the way you treat your body. Sitting around on the couch, eating mostly junk food, not getting enough water or exercise...these are all ways that we are not taking care of, or loving, our bodies. When someone talks about body shaming, these are things I relate to that. Exercise, nutrition, hydration, vitamin D.  Those are all things that are important for our bodies and our minds. The more we move the better we are going to feel about ourselves and the more clearly our minds can think.

There are some things we can't change about our bodies after childbirth. And that's ok. Stretch marks are one of those things that will stick around forever. But instead of looking at them in disgust or embarrassment, think of them as a reminder of what your body can do! Your body grew a baby (or two, or three or more)! Your body carried that baby inside for 9 months. Your body stretched and made room for that baby to get bigger, healthier and then when you had that baby, you found that your body didn't only make room for the baby to grow but your heart grew and expanded to make room for the love that you have for that baby now. So when you see those stretch marks, let them be a reminder of the love that you have for your baby.

This is me after 3 babies. It's part of me now. Yes, I struggle with it. Somedays I wish it wasn't there. But it is what it is. And it's proof that my body carried those 3 babies. 

Dress the way you feel the most confident.  You're working on how your body looks, now work on the way you see yourself in the mirror.  What is your favorite feature of your body? Find an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable.  When you have sleepless nights, put a little extra make up on (like dark circle concealer). When you're struggling to find something you like about your self-image, do your hair differently.  Sometimes we have days that despite how hard we are working, something bothers us about ourselves. On those days, work a little harder to find some self-love.

For the things that you can change make a reachable, trackable goal.  Write a plan of action to reach that goal. For example, I have X amount of baby weight left that I'd like to lose in the next 6 weeks.  I'll make sure I'm eating well (notice I didn't say counting calories or eating less, I said eating well), I'll drink enough water, and I'll workout for at least 20 minutes a day. Find the time and energy to put the work in, track your progress and then make another goal. When it gets hard and you start to feel like you don't want to work for it anymore, remember that you're a mom and if you can do that, you can do anything! You might end up being surprised how your body can bounce back and then make progress from where you were before. (Also know that if accountability is something that drives you, you can always check in daily with me and let me know how your goals are going here or on Instagram or on Facebook. I'm always rooting for you).

 And you will be surprised how much more you love your body when you realize how much your body has done for you and how far you've come from all of it. Once you realize all of that, you'll never want to body shame yourself again. Instead, you will know how to fix what you want to be fixed and except and appreciate what you can't.


  1. I'm not a mom but I do deal with body self confidence issues. This was a great read. I need to appreciate myself more and not compare.

    1. You know, I think we are all harder than we need to be on our bodies! Even before being a mom, our bodies do really amazing things for us. Unfortunately, we tend to not treat our bodies great they way they treat us :). I hope you have a great day Annie!

  2. This is all so true! We need to appreciate ourselves & love our selves ! This is such a great read! I am going to share it with my sisters!

  3. Really any woman can relate with your words - the media make us all think we need to have these photo shopped perfect bodies and skin and its just not reality! The fact that our bodies function the way they do and even work is such a miracle - not to mention the fact we can grow tiny humans inside of us! Great article!