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Your Postpartum Body: How to Care for it After Baby

Your postpartum body represents a love-hate relationship. This body gave birth to a beautiful gift that you adore but it’s hard to not loathe the frumpy form staring back at you in the mirror.

What do we do when the body that birthed the most beautiful babies doesn’t feel so beautiful?

Here are 5 things you can do to regain your body after baby.

# 1 Learn to love your body

A healthy self-image is very difficult to maintain before kids, so after having a baby it can be torture to stare back at the reflection in the mirror. Please remember this:

“You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIRV)

This verse is amazing. Consider how powerful it is now that you’ve given birth! God knit your sweet child together in your womb. God made your child wonderful. The act of growing your precious baby inside of you was a wonderful act of God. Your amazing body didn’t cease to be amazing once your child was born! Love your body where it is right now. 

This is honestly difficult for me as I approach 2 years postpartum carrying extra weight from my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies. I’m not talking vanity pounds, either. I’m working hard to get to a better place physically but having babies and getting older makes these changes quite a bit more challenging. I need to love my body as it is on my way to where I’d like it to be. I encourage you to do the same.

 

#2 Move your body

It’s hard to find time for yourself and to exercise with children around. It may take some creativity but you need to love yourself enough to make it a priority. 

This past summer, I would do a plank when I woke up and when I went to bed and, on my best days, take a 25 minute walk in our back yard while the kids played. I literally walked the fence line. It wasn’t glamorous and it was so monotonous but it got the job done!

Now I’m walking to pick up my son from school as often as I can. People probably think I’m crazy pushing the other two kids in the double stroller in the heat but I need to move my body and this is how I can make it happen in this season.  There are other options as well. Most gyms provide childcare and there are many mom meetup groups that walk the mall or local parks. I know a mom who does CrossFit first thing in the morning while her husband stays home with their sleeping children.  When she gets home, he leaves for his workout. That’s making it work!

#3 Eat better

Notice I didn’t say cut out certain foods or try this eating plan. Just eat better. Ask yourself each day: “Am I eating better today than I did yesterday?” This is hard for me. I’ve eaten the wrong things for so long that I am having to learn how to eat the right things again. I’ve invited friends to help me on this journey. As you learn to eat better, I encourage you invite people to help you on your journey as well.

#4 Don’t compare!

I know you know this but very few people go from their maternity clothes to their pre-pregnancy clothes in those first few weeks. Now some do and that is very awesome for them but most women take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to settle into a comfortable post-pregnancy weight. Notice I said comfortable. Sometimes the number on the scale is not the same, but a number on the scale or a tag size on a pair of jeans does not define your worth. Love yourself AND your postpartum body. This is your journey and the method and progress will look differently from woman to woman. 

#5 Count your blessings

Mine are Dom age 5, Charlee age 3 and Devin age 21 months.

What do you do when the body that birthed beautiful babies doesn't feel so beautiful? Here are five things you can do to love your postpartum body.

 

You Are Mom

The addition of children affects the way you take care of your body. Learn to love your body right where it is, take better care of it, don’t compare, and count the blessings that this body birthed. I’ll leave you with one final story.

We changed the sheets on our bed last night and tossed them in the laundry room. Our eldest jumped into them like a pile of leaves and sighed saying: “This blanket smells like mommy!!” It melted my heart. It also made me think of the many times as an adult I’ve caught the fragrance of my mom after an out of state visit. Whether it was on the seat belt in the car, on the couch cushions where she slept or in the sweater I loaned her, the feeling her scent evokes is just beautiful.  My thoughts toward my mom are sweet and so tender. I love her because she is my mom not because of a number on the bathroom scale. Please know that you are loved by your precious children and you are loved no less because of your size but loved all the more because you are MOM.

five things you can do to reclaim your postpartum body.

Your Turn! What are you doing to reclaim your body postpartum? What creative exercise regimens have you adopted during the little years? Are your kids older? Share some hope from the future! Comment below. 

You can read the series Introduction here! Bringing Home Baby, Again

You can read last week’s post here! Your Kids and Social Life

Next Week!

What do you do when the advice you’ve read here or been given from others doesn’t work? Join me next week for the final installment of this series as we hash through the tough seasons that no amount of advice can fix.

Your social life looked a lot different before kids. Before kids, a night at the movies was no problem. Stay out late? No big deal. Having kids brings the spontaneity and late nights to a screeching halt. Slowing down, however, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to friends and hanging out.It’s just looks a little different. Here are 5 Ways to Maintain a Social Life After Kids

Social Life: How to Have One After Baby

Your social life looked a lot different before kids. Before kids, a night at the movies was no problem. Stay out late? No big deal. Having kids brings the spontaneity and late nights to a screeching halt. And if they don’t stop, someone is paying for it. My husband and I learned the hard way. We tried to continue our work, volunteer, and social life at the same break-neck speed as before kids only to crash and burn. Our children were cranky, they were missing naps, they weren’t really on a schedule at all, and were acting out and whining all the time. We had to learn to slow down, say “no” more often, and create boundaries.  Slowing down, however, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to friends and hanging out. It’s just looks a little different.

Here are 5 Ways to Maintain a Social Life After Kids

# 1 Invite friends over after your kids are in bed

I recall early in our marriage (before kids were on the radar) having game nights with a couple in the neighborhood. They had an adorable 6 month old little girl. They would put her to bed and then we would play games late into the night. It was so much fun and it never really occurred to me that the location of our game playing was more out of convenience for this couple than anything. Now we are the ones inviting people over after our kids are in bed for game nights. We also started having friends over to watch movies. Our friends don’t seem to mind coming our way and we are able to have adult conversations and interactions without the interruptions of little ones.

# 2 Invite friends into your family time

I’ve mentioned that many of our friends are like family or framily so we are learning to invite our friends right in to the chaos. They become honorary uncles and aunts to our kids and we treasure the time with our friends and delight in seeing them interact with our brood. We’ve even invited friends to join us at Chuck E Cheese. Now that’s friendship right there, folks. Friends with no kids who willingly give up their Friday night to spend time with you and your kids and a mouse.

# 3 Playdates

One of the gifts and challenges of having kids is that when you’re raising littles your friends are often raising littles as well. Inviting them over after kids are in bed can be tricky. Find kid friendly environments in which to hang out. Enclosed playlands are golden. As you know, we spend way too much time at Chickfila but it’s a great place to feed the kids food you know they will eat (because the struggle is real) and then send them off to play while the moms catch up. Library storytimes and playgrounds are also great. I do want to mention that these are not the kind of social interactions where you pour your heart out to your BFF. This is a scattered social time. Diapers, pottytraining, dripping noses and runaway toddlers can make your time spent together very choppy and misaligned. It is still worth it, however, to get a few minutes with another human being who gets you. The time spent with someone who has been and always will be your friend is a treasure. Even if kids have changed the way it looks.

#4 Girls Night Out

It is so important to have that kid-free time with your friends especially if your friends are in the same stage of life as you: knee high in baby wipes and Doc McStuffins episodes. This one is probably the easiest in theory to practice. Dad stays home while you hang out with the girls. Something always seems to happen, though. The baby gets sick. You have a really crummy day. Dad gets home late from work. You didn’t get a shower. Please don’t let the unexpected chaos of the day keep you from having time with friends. It makes you a better mom and wife. Dad can handle a sick baby. Call your friends and update them on your delayed arrival and get that shower in. I’m an introvert. It’s hard for me to get time with friends simply because of my inward tendencies. It’s ten times harder with kids but I know I need it and try to make it happen. So from an introvert, please take time for you away from your kids to get out and be with your friends. 

#5 Invest in Babysitters

Friendship is important and this is one area where a babysitter here and there is worth the investment. About once or twice a year, our LifeGroup takes advantage of our church’s Parents’ Night Out and we eat out as couples. Our kids are well taken care of and we can enjoy each others company without the interruptions of little ones. We’ve also met up for a meal together near the Thanksgiving Holiday . Once kids came along, we started getting sitters so we could have time without the kids. Your friendships are worth it. You are worth it. Get a sitter and enjoy your friends. 

Kids and Friends, Friends and Kids

Kids make life interesting and they put a lot of things on hold but friendship should not be one of those things. You just have to learn to work the social life around the needs of little ones who need naps and require consistent bedtime routines*. And your friends? They are gracious and understand a lot better than you’d expect.

Your Turn! How have you found ways to keep your friendships strong while surviving the kid chaos? What challenges keep your friendships at bay? Comment below with your advice and challenges!

You can read the Introduction here: Bringing Home Baby, Again

You can read last week’s post here: Romance: How to Keep it Alive

Next Week!

The addition of children affects the way you take care of your body. It affects your body. Join me as we explore how to regain our bodies and find the grace to wear our birthing scars with pride. 

*I want to note that my kids still have meltdowns. We still push their limits at times because we need and crave time with other adults and that’s okay! 

A Gospel That Matters. Check out this review of A Mile Wide

A Gospel that Matters: A Mile Wide Book Review

A Gospel That Matters

In his new book, A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith, Brandon Hatmaker, uses an age old phrase “mile wide, inch deep”  to challenge all believers, and those exploring their faith, to go a little deeper. Just like the Platte River, from which we get this term, it is easy to get caught up in the expanse of our service as Christians instead of the depth of our relationship with Christ. We should be transformed by the gospel. He says, “We have to spend far more time nurturing what no one ever sees under the surface than worrying about what’s above the soil. Things like Scripture and prayer and community root us so deeply. They are the unglamorous, unfancy work of discipleship.”

Hatmaker fights for the Bride of Christ by calling back the disenfranchised and reminding those camping within the walls of the church of the true purpose of the gospel. The gospel transforms every part of our life. It moves us to live out this transforming experience in every day of the week. “True Christianity is lived along the way, between the church services and Bible studies.”

Community That Means Something

I was so inspired by Hatmaker’s stories and practical ideas for building authentic community. We need community at church, we need community with those we serve alongside, and we need community with those with whom we share common ground. A Mile Wide both inspires and provides practical tips on how to grow these authentic communities.  In addition, there are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which are great for a group bible study or for personal reflection.

Whether you are tired of the same old-same old, questioning if community as believers is even possible, or wondering if you should become a believer, I’ll leave you with these final words from Hatmaker: “A shallow religion survives from event to event and program to program. A deeper faith is rooted in trusting relationships where permission is granted to struggle, fail, and take risks. It’s a place where questions are welcomed and everyone is a learner again. Where the scabs of loneliness, emptiness, and false hope are ripped off and replaced with a concern for others, a place to be propped up, and a shared gospel worth living for.”

Let’s go deep together!

A Mile Wide releases September 13th but you can pre-order your copy of A Mile Wide here!

The Fine Print

****I was first introduced to the Hatmaker phenomenon 7 years ago when I participated in a summer women’s Bible study using Jen Hatmaker’s book: Road Trip: Five Adventures You’re Meant to Live.  Since that time, I’ve devoured Seven, Interrupted and most recently For the Love. As an avid fan of all things Hatmaker, I was very excited to review a book by Jen’s husband, Brandon Hatmaker.  Brandon is the pastor of Austin New Church and author of Barefoot Church. I received an advanced pdf version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.