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?
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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.
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.
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
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.