So, you’ve had a baby. Like most new mums, you were probably super ready for the new arrival. You prepped the nursery, you read all the books, you even prepared yourself for the lack of sleep and thought you knew all about the affect it would have on your relationship with your partner. You thought you had this whole new mum thing in the bag. But then something took you by surprise. You didn’t realise how it would affect your self-esteem. You didn’t factor in the toll it would take on your body and the resentment you might feel now that things have changed.
If you’re struggling with the physical changes in your body post baby, here are some (no BS) ways to learn to love your body again, after baby.
1. Your Body After Baby – Stop trying to “think positive”
If you thought this was going to be the kind of article that would tell you to “be grateful for your baby,” “remember how lucky you are,” “so you might have a few more stretch marks, but you brought this miracle into the world!” think again. You’re allowed to have negative thoughts. You might resent your child for changing your body. You might resent your partner for not understanding what you’re going through. You may resent other mums who seem to bounce back so quickly. And that’s ok.
But realise right now that you don’t always have to believe your thoughts. Instead of blocking out bad thoughts, just ask yourself if what you’re thinking is really true. Usually, it’s nothing more than a fleeting internal comment that has no basis in reality.
2. Your Body After Baby – Be open about how you’re feeling
As women, we’re always trying to hold everything together and we’re so scared to admit we’re failing, out of our depth or lost. Speak up. Tell your partner exactly how you’re feeling. When he reaches for you and you pull away because you are ashamed about how you look, don’t keep it quiet. Tell him, openly and honestly. Let him reassure you. The same thing with your friends and family – don’t hide how you’re feeling. Share with other women so they know they are not alone in feeling this way.
3. Your Body After Baby – Lower your expectations
Let’s get real. Yes, you may be able to lose weight after having a baby, but no your body might not go back to how it was before you had a baby. If you’ve got your sights set on fitting into your pre pregnancy jeans, or getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight within a certain timeframe, you may be setting yourself up for failure. The best thing that you can do for yourself right now is accept that things have changed. But, they’ve changed for the better because now you’re a mum! Instead of trying to lose weight, focus on taking care of yourself so you can be the best mum you can be.
You may not be doing things the way you thought you would post-pregnancy, but appreciate the things you are doing. Forgive yourself for not reaching those unrealistic expectations you set for yourself before having a baby.
4. Your Body After Baby – Set a good example
Notice how you are speaking to yourself. What tone do you use? Would you want your child to speak to themselves that way? Would you wish for your child to be feeling that sort of resentment towards their own bodies? Set an example from the very beginning. Show them what it means to love themselves, flaws and all. Don’t show them the struggle of striving for body perfection (which can be impossible), but show them that appreciating what we have is what really counts.
5. Your Body After Baby – Don’t forget to look after yourself
You deserve to feel good. You don’t need to feel guilty about taking time out for you, you deserve it! It’s ok to indulge in treats every now and then, and make sure you truly enjoy it when you do! But looking after yourself is about also eating the right foods to nourish your body and give it what it needs. Here are some top tips on postnatal nutrition and some ways to balance your weight without having to resort to restrictive dieting. Remember, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s survival.
JOIN OUR FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP FOR MUMS OVER AT FIND YOUR VILLAGE – GET ACCESS TO OUR EXPERTS FOR ADVICE, JOIN OUR DAILY THREADS AND FIND TONS OF SUPPORT!
Catherine Nelson-Williams is the author of this article and founder of The Nursery Collective. She is a mum of two and juggles being a WAHM with blogging and running The Nursery Collective – a haven for mamas navigating the early years of motherhood, where you can find unique boutiques and services for Mum, Baby & Kids all in the one place.