My body didn’t go anywhere and I don’t need to “Get it back”. So often as women, we are put under pressure to look a certain way as quickly as possible after having a child. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Whether you’ve had a child or not, you’ve seen the message plastered all over magazines, television, social media, etc. The message that implies that once you’ve had a child you need to “lose the baby weight” or “get your pre-pregnancy body back.” We need to stop thinking this way and stop putting pressure on mama’s to live up to these standards. Instead we need to encourage women to embrace their body and love every new curve. Stop popping new moms post partum bliss bubbles by making them think there is something wrong with their bodies now that they have had a child.
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When I had my daughter I was so mesmerized by her that I didn’t want to sleep. We spent a few days in the hospital after my delivery and I needed A LOT of help with her. I was stuck in bed for the first few days of her life and wasn’t even able to pick her up by myself. Poor Calvin would have to stay awake around the clock with me in case I needed help with her. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her though. I didn’t want to miss a single second! I was so in love with this tiny little human that I KNEW would grow so fast it would make my head spin, and boy did she ever! (She is climbing all over me as I type this.) I wanted to stay in this little oxytocin bubble forever.
I gave birth to my daughter all natural, with no medical interventions and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. When it was over I had this incredible sense of empowerment (I still do when I think about it!) I couldn’t believe that I did that! That MY BODY did that! I never felt stronger or more beautiful than I did when I was pregnant and in those first few post partum days. Mesh undies, leaking boobs, squishy belly and all! It was so magical and so beautiful to me.
And then that first message popped into my inbox. “Hey girl! I see you just had a baby, congratulations! I want to tell you about this..blah blah blah..that will help you get your body back!” I’m sorry, what?? Get my body back?? Where do you think it went? How dare you, a complete stranger, try to take away the high that I am feeling! How dare you make me question my worth based off of this image of what you THINK I should be.
I have been messaged countless times since that first message from people selling me the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. They promise me a product or a plan to “Get my body back” (you may have gotten a message or two like this yourself) and all I can think each time is “do you think my body is damaged?” I don’t see a damaged body that is lost and needs to be “found” when I look at myself. I see curves that exist because I created a life. I see stretchmarks and I am reminded of all the times I felt my child move from inside of me. I am reminded of the strength it took to carry and birth my baby and to me that is BEAUTIFUL.
My body is not ruined. My breasts will never be the same as they were before I breastfed a baby for 9 months (and counting) and that’s OK! My breasts have stretched beyond their limits to nourish my daughter. They have been filled and emptied over and over again. They have been scratched and slapped by a frustrated baby. They have been tugged and bit by a giggling baby trying to get my attention. They have provided comfort too many times to count. They have been used in the way they were designed to be used. My daughter did not ruin them.
Mama, if you are looking at yourself right now and worrying about the extra skin, the stretch marks, the saggy boobs, all of things we are told we should be worrying about. STOP IT! Stop the negative self talk! Trust me, I am guilty of saying some nasty stuff about myself. All it’s ever done is ruin my day and make me feel terrible. Don’t do that to yourself! Don’t give into this idea that you need to return to the way you were before. You will never have that body again, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. We are human, we are meant to change and evolve. That’s part of life whether you’ve had a child or not. Pregnancy just changes us a lot faster and in a lot more ways at once than simply growing older does. Our bodies were designed to grow and carry life inside of us. Those tiger stripes are just a part of that!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat healthy and exercise. (Of course you should be doing those things!) I’m also not saying that there is something wrong with wanting your body to look a certain way. Go ahead and set that goal for your body and work hard to achieve it! If that’s what you want and not what you think you should want. Just stop trying to live up to someone else’s standards. Love yourself. Appreciate your body. Protect your post partum. Your body is beautiful and perfect exactly the way it is in all of it’s many stages.
And if you are one of those people telling mom’s they need to get their body back, STOP IT! Let’s change the way we see and talk about post partum bodies.
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