During pregnancy I was not at all bothered by the weight I had gained. I ate well and though I didn’t have an exercise routine I completed every day I stayed fairly active. After I delivered August I was actually dropping the weight pretty easily and feeing pretty good, but after a trip to the ER I came back bloated and stressed leading me to become irrationally concerned about my body and the changes that had taken place.
I had all the normal joys brought on by pregnancy- stretch marks, flabby tummy, weight in places I had never carried it before, tarring- and all of a sudden it just seemed like too much. My husband finally just had to tel me to stop expecting so much from myself. I had to take a step back and put it all into perspective.
My body had just created and delivered a human being. For some Momma’s this is enough to accept the changes, and while I would not trade my little man for anything, I couldn’t cut myself a break. I wanted to see instant results, to be a Instagram success story. Instead I have a gap in my abs and can’t get rid of those last few pounds. I have really had to work with myself to get to a more positive frame of mind.
When I asked my husband to take some photos after baby’s bath he said that he told me that he had gotten some great ones. Then I saw this. Squishy tummy. I almost asked him to redo them, then I realized that that is the whole point of this post. It’s not about creating a more perfected version of yourself, it’s about accepting yourself and learning to love the way that you are. Stretch marks, squishy bellies, and all.
Seeing myself from my husbands perspective…
During pregnancy I had a delusion that I would fit back into at least some of my pre-pregnancy jeans. What I discovered is that I had gone up three pants sizes. Three. And trust me this more than just extra weight, my bone structure had completely changed. I could only get my jeans to my knees- I was horrified. Then one day while trying to find something to wear my husband told me how he thought my new body shape was sexy and actually suited me better. You see before pregnancy I was a stick, no boobs and no butt. Now I had some curves and quite the booty- what I had been seeing as a personal failure my husband thought was beautiful. We have to get past what we are expecting or wanting and learn to see ourselves from someone else’s view.
Now instead of trying to work against my body and trying to slim down my thighs and butt I am working on toning them. Weighted squats have become my friend- if I’m gonna have a booty then it will be looking fine. Accepting and choosing to look at it differently has completely changed how I felt about myself.
Know that it’s not forever.
if your anything like me you have a really hard time sometimes seeing past the right here and now. Something that I had to force myself to accept is that this is not forever for me. Stretch marks will fade. My diastasis is in my own hands- I can heal it. The little extra jiggle can be toned. It won’t be instant results, but it’s not permanent either!
Give yourself a break.
You are already superwoman level as a new mom. You created life, you are caring for life. You will get your head back on straight, you can make time to work on yourself, you are doing enough. Cut out the negative thoughts and start acknowledging all you are accomplishing. A healthy body start with a healthy mind and heart.
Do what you can.
There is a mindframe that if a mom takes the time to take care of herself then she is selfish. This is so opposite of true that it hurts. Moms who practice self love are more confident in themselves and not only have a better mental and emotional health (which obviously leads to being a better person for your little one), but they are physically healthier as well- what mom doesn’t want to be able to keep up with a rambunctious toddler?! There can be a time though that in practicing self care we go too far and end up beating ourselves up more.
I tried to commit to a certain amount of exercise a day and I failed. I was constantly kicking myself for not doing “enough”. Every time I tried to work out he wouldn’t go down for a nap or her needed to eat, etc. I finally just told myself that whatever I could fit in would be enough. Twenty-five squats while brushing my teeth is enough. Engaging my core while lifting my baby above my head to hear his giggles is enough. Practicing abdominal breaths while pumping at work is enough. When I adapted this attitude I not only became more content, but I actually fit in more physical activity then I had optimally tried to block off time for.
My body will never be the same, but I have grown into appreciating that fact. I used to see posts about moms who proudly showed off there postpartum body and I would think how? But I am begging to get to the place where I am proud of what I have done, and I am even more proud of how I have committed to making myself a priority. There are still days I feel like I’ll never make any progress. On those days I just have to take a breath and choose to allow myself some grace.