So, you’ve made it through nine months of pregnancy, the intensity of labor and a life-changing delivery (what a relief!) You’ve brought your beautiful baby into the world — and are likely looking at your “new” body with a whole mix of emotions.
Many women (myself included) put so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way, even right after having a baby. If you’re like me, you dream of fitting back into those pre-preggo jeans, and just don’t feel like wearing a nursing bra 24/7. In short, you want your “old” body back.
Give yourself a break, lady! As women, we need to change the conversation about our post-baby bodies and allow ourselves to feel gratitude for what they have accomplished. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel beautiful after giving birth.
As a new mama, I’ve compiled five tips that have helped me accept and feel great in my post-baby body.
1. Repeat to yourself, “My body is AMAZING!”
First things first, you just created a human being! Really let that soak in. If that doesn’t tell you how amazing a woman’s body is then I don’t know what will. Thank your body for being such a powerhouse. It kept you and your baby healthy for nine months, so show it some serious gratitude. You might look down at your sagging skin or the extra pounds you gained in judgement, but try to appreciate them instead. Feel beautiful in knowing what your body just accomplished.
2. Do a little something for you
I remember a day or two after I had my baby girl I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself. My face was so swollen from almost three hours of pushing and I looked beyond exhausted. So, I put on some blush, a little mascara, some lipliner and lipstick… and I immediately felt so much more “me.” This moment reminded me how important it was to consider my own needs amidst the chaos of caring for a newborn. If using makeup isn’t your thing, then take an aromatherapy bath, get your nails done or do some online shopping! Whatever makes you feel good. Allow yourself to take a few minutes out of your day for you.
3. Show your skin some TLC
Your skin has been through a lot in the past nine months! Post-baby is the time to start an ultra-moisturizing skincare regime to help repair the elasticity of your skin. Invest in specified skincare products or opt for natural oils, such as argan oil or coco butter, which can reduce the appearance of unwanted stretch marks. And, if you’re like me and love feeling tan, treat yourself to some self-tanning products to achieve a beautiful glow. Take care of your skin in ways that benefit you.
4. Allow your body the time to heal
Accept the fact that you can’t (or at least you shouldn’t) be heading to the gym right after having a baby. In fact, most doctors and midwives recommend waiting six weeks to exercise after giving birth. Whether you were a gym rat pre-baby or you never went to the gym a day in your life, enjoy having an excuse to rest. As much as I was itching to get back into the gym, I loved the walks I would go on with my daughter in her stroller each morning. Be okay with short walks and accept the fact that your body needs time to heal after going through something major.
5. Stay hydrated
Whether you’ve given birth or not, staying hydrated throughout the day is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. As simple as it sounds, drinking enough water is vital when your body is recouping from pregnancy and delivery. I’ve noticed that on the days I don’t drink enough water, I feel extra tired and irritated in my post-baby body. However, on the days I stay hydrated, I feel clear-minded, have more energy and genuinely feel good about myself.
Some days will be harder than others when it comes to loving your post-baby body. Whenever you feel frustrated with the changes, look at your miracle baby to remind yourself what your body has been through. Try to see those stretch marks and extra pounds as a part of the life you brought into this world; that in itself, is a true thing of beauty!
photo: Jenna Norman