Pregnancy is a different experience for every woman, but one thing is the same: it changes your life in so many ways.
And just like how it changes your life, pregnancy changes your body, too.
It is clear why pregnancy changes the human body. Your body housed and grew a new human being inside it for 40 weeks. Your body worked double-time to give this human being all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Some of your organs got squished and moved around to make room for the growing baby.
Naturally, your body will undergo a lot of physical changes. You will experience weight gain, for starters, which is completely normal. But after pregnancy, is it normal to still look pregnant? After giving birth, is it normal to not immediately lose the pounds and bounce back to your pre-pregnancy body?
The answer is yes.
Your body is amazing. It worked so hard for forty weeks, sometimes more, just to give your growing baby the perfect home. Your body does not deserve to be criticized. It deserves to be honored.
Yet there is a huge pressure to look like you have not even given birth. Bodies that bounce back immediately after giving birth are celebrated, while bodies that look like most post-partum bodies are hidden. It’s as if looking like you did not just have a child is a badge of honor.
Pregnancy undeniably takes a huge toll on the body. It changes your body, sometimes permanently. But your body does not deserve to be loved only when it is lithe and youthful. Your body is a temple – a beautiful one – before, during, and after pregnancy.
Your body may not be the body you had before pregnancy. It may be all new and unfamiliar. But it is your body, the same strong body that did not fail you.
Embracing Your Postpartum Body
Being in love with your body may be like a radical concept, but it does not need to be. Here are 7 little ways to embrace your body after giving birth.
1. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
The mirror is not your foe! It is possible that you are gazing at yourself from the perspective of someone who is used to what society dictates is the acceptable appearance. But this is not the only true perspective.
Remove this bias and really take a good look at yourself in the mirror. You may find that the changes in your body are not as drastic as you have previously thought. Your body will be different, but you will realize that there is nothing wrong with you and you look as beautiful as you always did.
2. Know that what they show in the media is unrealistic.
Celebrities are keen to get their pre-pregnancy body back because the industry relies on them to look good. An entire crew of people are working hard to get one celebrity to be fit again right after giving birth.
And while there is nothing wrong with this, applying the same standard to yourself is unrealistic. Subjecting your body to this kind of pressure is not only unnecessary but also potentially harmful. Take it slowly – after all, your body just spent forty weeks growing a miracle.
3. Care for your body for the right reasons.
It is definitely necessary to live a healthy lifestyle, whether it’s before or after you give birth. It is vital to nourish your body with the right food choices. Exercising is also of the essence to help your body adapt to the physical challenges of being a new mom.
But you need to do these things for the right reasons. Instead of eating right and exercising for a slimmer body, do these to be stronger. Commit to being healthy for you and your family.
4. Understand why your body has changed.
It is easy to count the pounds that you have gained during the course of your pregnancy. It is also easy to feel the stretch marks that you have developed after giving birth. But it is a conscious choice to understand why they are there.
The weight you have gained is there because your body did its part to ensure a healthy gestation for your baby. The stretch marks are there because your skin has the ability to give way to this new human being. It’s very wonderful if you think about it!
5. Look for the things that changed in your body for the better.
Pregnancy changes your body in more ways than one. You become a completely different person after giving birth. Even if it seems like it’s all bad, the truth is pregnancy just might have changed your body for the better.
After pregnancy, you are going to gain new qualities like strength and grace. Your face will glow because you are filled with love. There will be a sparkle in your eyes that was not there before. There are so many good changes in your body if you take time to look for them.
6. Don’t be afraid to dress up.
You may not fit into your old clothes anymore, but it’s no reason to look drab. Shop for outfits that flatter your new body. Get accessories that bring out your attractive features. Get ready to show the world your new look!
Simply getting yourself a new dress may sound trivial, but it actually does wonders for your self-esteem. Try outfits that you have never worn before and have fun feeling good and pretty!
7. Pamper yourself and get more “me-time.”
You can never go wrong with having some “me-time.” Go to the salon, have a new haircut, and have your nails done! If getting out of the house is not an option, set up a foot spa at home and soak your tired feet.
Love yourself and take good care of yourself the way you love and take good care of your family. Your body deserves recognition for all the hard work that it does, and taking the time to pamper yourself is always worth it.
Your body is strong and beautiful, and it needs to be embraced, especially after giving birth. Whether you get your pre-pregnancy body or not, your postpartum body deserves nothing less than respect and admiration.