What’s Inside: Why your post baby body is amazing and how to feel stronger than ever before.
This Spring my daughter turns 3 years old. Her birth feels like a lifetime ago…and yesterday. Two big things are different since that day:
- our family now has a “missing link” that wasn’t there before our youngest daughter arrived
- my body
Editing photos yesterday I came across a shot of myself in a yoga pose. I had the striking realization: WOW, I couldn’t do this before I got pregnant! I am actually stronger than I was before!
But that is not how I usually view my post baby body.
More often I am hard on myself: how I look (a little “looser” in the belly), how I feel (tired), or how I think other people see me.
Today, however, I choose to view my post baby body with kindness and gratitude. And a little bit of awe. I wanted to share this for the days when you might forget how amazing yours is too.
Why your post baby body is amazing
Because even three years after giving birth, I still need the reminder sometimes! Whether it’s been a week or a decade, your post baby body deserves a moment of acknowledgement for all it’s done.
- You made a human being. I’m sure you’ve heard this one a million times, but you should hear it again. You MADE a human being. From your body. Built that little (or not so little now) one from scratch. It’s hard to even comprehend how incredible that is. But you did it.
- You brought that baby into the world. It doesn’t matter whether you did it naturally, induced, medicated, surgically. You birthed a baby. All by yourself. Of course you probably had a support team there of family, doctors, whoever. But YOU did the hard work. It’s ok to be proud of it!
- You bounced back. I don’t mean that you put on a bikini the next day…I mean that you got up and walked. (Which is quite the feat after some birth experiences!) Your body immediately got back to work healing and moving on to its next colossal task of nurturing its new creation. And months, years down the road your body will do things that maybe it wasn’t even capable of before.
How to feel stronger in your post baby body
But what about the weeks, months, and years after birth? When the memory of your delivery becomes less vivid, the scars fade, and life gets back to normal. Except that you still don’t quite feel normal…or look like the “normal” that was your body before baby.
Strength is not just a physical state of being — it’s a mindset. And if we change our thinking first, we can feel stronger immediately. The physical part will come, but it begins with the mind.
These are the four main things I did to feel stronger, and in turn strengthen my post baby body. Three years after birth, I still work on these things every day. It is a process! But it is never too late to start.
- Accept. Know that your body will be different than the pre-baby days. Your shape might change, your might feel different. But some of the changes will be awesome! If you’re breastfeeding, you might get to enjoy a more, a-hem, “curvier” shape for a while. You’ll also learn exactly what your body is capable of, whether it be nourishing a newborn or regenerating nerves cut from a cesarean. Truly miraculous.
- Care. Sometimes as a mother, we focus all our energy and attention on caring for others. Our children, our spouse, our family, our friends, our job…you get the picture. We must remember to listen to our own needs as well. Our postpartum bodies can do amazing things, but we have to take care of them.
- Push. Recovery is not a simple process. And it’s not easy. Healing and strengthening requires massive effort. Sometimes people I meet are surprised to know that I have kids — they see me now in the same size clothes I wore beforehand. What they don’t see are the months (more like a year really) of sweat and tears as I pushed my body to regain strength and shed the extra fat that protected my daughter inside my belly. (I know it was there for a reason, but seriously…it can go now!)
And this is the most important one:
- Stay. No matter how hard you push, no matter how much you will it with your mind, the process takes time. Allow yourself and your body the grace to take the time it needs to heal and rebuild. Stay the course. It may take months, it may take years. But one day you’ll have your “aha!” moment (like mine today) where you realize you’re already there.
Love yourself mama! No matter where you are in your journey, you are doing amazing things, and you’ll do even more.
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