Why are we so hard on ourselves after we give birth?
Giving birth is a life-changing event and I found myself after having my daughter struggling big-time to accept my post-baby body.
When I was pregnant I had so many people telling me I could “bounce back” after baby faster if I bind my stomach right after giving birth. I remember my mom telling me that my Great Grandmother, who gave birth to 14 children and had a 22 inch waist. She would have her stomach wrapped right after giving birth to get rid of her post-baby belly.
So after my daughter was born I tried binding my stomach and that lasted for about 3 days. I just couldn’t do it. It was too uncomfortable and I knew that there was no way I was going to continue binding my stomach for most of the day and sacrifice my comfort. I had just given birth and I needed to give my body time to heal and not focus on “snapping back”.
Society gives new moms the message that you should be able to get your pre-baby body back in 6-8 weeks after giving birth. We put too much pressure on ourselves to meet societies expectations and get in shape instead of taking the time to heal both physically and mentally after giving birth.
We need to stop listening to social media, celebrities, friends or family and start giving ourselves and our bodies grace. Instead of putting so much value in our appearance immediately post-baby we need to cherish and love our bodies.
Learning to love and embrace my post-baby body has been anything but easy, however, there are steps that I have been taking to help me accept and love my post-baby body.
Stop Comparing Your Body To Others
Giving birth affects every woman’s body differently and comparison is really the thief of joy when we start looking at how others are recovering after their pregnancy. It’s human nature to sometimes compare ourselves to others.
When we compare ourselves to others it can lead to impractical expectations and not so positive thoughts about ourselves. We need to focus on ourselves and our needs instead of the “snap back” post-baby bodies of other women.
Our self worth is not tied into whether we have “perfect” post-baby bodies.
After giving birth, I hated the fact that I had stretch marks, a c-section scar and a belly pouch. Looking at myself in the mirror was not something I wanted to do and I was just ridiculously hard on my self.
I have come to embrace every part of my post-baby body. I mean, I did grow a human inside of me and carried her for 37 weeks and 5 days. That in itself is amazing.
My belly pouch and stretch marks or as some women call them “Tiger Stripes” are a reminder that my body grew and stretched to accommodate, shelter and protect my growing baby. I earned my stripes during pregnancy and I am proud of them.
My c-section scar is a reminder that my baby came out of a 4 inch incision healthy and ready to rule the world. The moment they pulled her out and I heard her cry, I went from being Ashley to Aubrey Ann’s Mom and it was the most amazing feeling in the world.
My scar is also a reminder of how resilient and strong I am because taking care of newborn and recovering from a c-section is some impressive shit.
We should always accept ourselves and appreciate our bodies and what they went through to get those little humans here. Our bodies are powerful.
Wear Clothes That Are Comfortable
I remember about a month after my daughter was born I tried squeezing into a pair a jeans that I wore pre-pregnancy. I actually laid on my bed and rolled around trying to zip my skinny jeans up and my husband walked in and asked what the hell was I doing.
He heard me groaning and grunting from the other room, LOL.
To this day I still can’t fit those jeans and guess what??
I DON’T CARE.
I wear a lot of leggings, tunics and maxi dresses. If one day I am able to get back into those skinny jeans then great, but if not it is what it is. My clothes are still cute and stylish but they are comfortable, especially having to run behind a 10 month old who moves fast like Speedy Gonzales.
Speak Positive Words To Yourself
Positive affirmations are a great way to get past the negative self-thinking when it comes to embracing our post-baby bodies.
On a daily basis I remind myself that I am important, strong and beautiful. By doing this daily it has made me much more aware of when I say negative things about myself or to myself.
Our bodies allowed us to grow a life inside of it and I want to make sure that I always express how grateful I am for that.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Having a great support system and leaning on them in times of need has been amazing for me. By being open and honest I’ve been able to meet so many mothers that experienced or were experiencing the same post-baby body feelings that I felt.
Knowing that you are not alone in motherhood and that other mothers can relate to your feelings post-birth is a great relief of the daily pressures that we put on ourselves as moms.
Getting support and guidance from ladies that know that post-baby care takes time and accepts you no matter what is something that all moms should do because it lets us know that we are not alone.
Becoming a mom has changed me, both physically and mentally. Embracing the changes has been a challenge at times but I will always be kind to myself and give myself grace and compassion. My “Tiger Stripes”, C-Section scar, and my belly pouch does not define. I’m an amazing mom who gave birth to an amazing little girl.
How do you embrace your postpartum body?