Society and the media often view our postpartum bodies as weak and flabby. It is not only expected that we WILL “get our bodies back” but it is also expected that we want to get our pre-baby bodies back right NOW. Lifestyle magazines devote entire editions to watching and tracking new celebrity moms for weight loss and speculate how quickly they will return to their pre-baby body. If any celebrity mom should take a little too long to get back into screen-worthy shape after childbirth it becomes headline news. I want you to see your body as more valuable than a commodity and front-page fodder.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 200 pounds or 130 pounds–bodies are beautiful, strong and multifaceted. I’ve always had body issues, but been very confident on the outside. After children, I felt like I had completely let myself go. It’s very hard to make yourself a priority when you have kids. With my daughter I was induced on my due date and labored for 47 hours and 41 minutes before she finally arrived. With my son I labored for 60 hours. I kept begging the midwife to let me go a little longer… a little longer… a little longer. She let me go another 10 hours and at 6 am on his birthday, she said I had to go for the C-section. Best thing we ever did. I was very impressed with my body! However, while not making it a priority, I let it go. Now, it’s my turn for rebirth! –Amy, mother to two ages 6 and 4.
Every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and turn the other way or you hide out from the camera, I want you to remember your body is a powerhouse. Embrace it. Don’t ignore the newness of it–how it looks and feels. This is the skin you are in now. You aren’t who you were last week. Let the camera capture where your child came from. Show how much you loved them with your whole body, not just your heart.
I didn’t gain too much weight while pregnant. I was active the whole time doing yoga and walking and went back to my pre weight almost right away. I’m 41 and in a great place in my life where I don’t care much what other people think. I have one boy, born three days early. It was a fast labor—he was in a hurry and still is. He was walking at 10 months. Some heart distress at birth and there was talk of an emergency C-section but in the end he came out on the third set of pushes with suction. I love my body after childbirth. It was the first home of this incredible little person—it made him and fed him. I have new respect for it and will never abuse it again, only nurture it. –Linda, mother of one age 1 year.
Use kind words to describe your body. Not just in front of your kids, but to yourself. In that early morning hour before you step into the shower and you look down, please think loving thoughts about what you see. Remember to be grateful to those powerful legs that helped you carry the extra weight as your body grew. Give thanks for the way your hips shifted to make more room. Nothing and everything may look the same. Your child is a part of the beautiful body that created it. Would you ever look at your child and say or think they are less than gorgeous? Please don’t think that about yourself.
Being photographed “naturally” scares me. My inner critic feels ashamed that I haven’t kept up the shape I had two to three years ago. So my thoughts of myself get pretty wicked: “stop eating so much”; “your arms look awful in those pictures”; “need liposuction on those thighs of yours”; “if only you didn’t like food so much”.
I have boy/girl twins. They are our miracle IVF babies. My husband and I went through a lot and we were finally blessed with my son and daughter. After hating my body and being so heartbroken and devastated at not getting pregnant, I totally fell in love with my pregnancy. I was so healthy and happy while pregnant. I know it’s vital that I show inward and outward love for my body because I have a daughter. I don’t want her to see or hear me getting down on myself. I want her to always feel beautiful and confident and I know that starts at home. –Melissa, mother to twins age 3.
I want to show my children and myself how amazing the female body is–also to view my body in a different way. [I felt] pressure to get back into shape quickly. Though it took nine months to gain weight, I should be more gentle with myself. [It’s] pretty amazing how your body can swell, organs move, ligaments become stretched and loosen all to accommodate a life and create a placenta and cord to feed it. Only to return to a somewhat normal version again after birth–and multiple times! Also, to provide nourishment, protection and antibodies for months afterward is amazing. My body is pretty strong, capable and amazing. -A.S., mother of two boys ages 3 and 8 months.
If we can see the power within ourselves, perhaps it will start a movement. Maybe together we can shift the perception of the mom bod from being a flabby, worn-out body to an intrinsically competent being. If we can celebrate in awe the amazing feat of childbirth and what our bodies can do then perhaps our children will look at their own bodies with awe and wonderment. And thus starts the movement.
The Whatever Mom
Body Beautiful Part I
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.
Beautifully written. It’s essential to bmbrace your own body, post-partum or not!
I love this post! I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I need to remind myself from time to time about how much my body ahs done for me. Giving birth to three incredible human beings, completed 70.3 triathlons, swam form Alcatraz. It has been strong – but yet there is always the extra weight. My goal this year has focused on self-care. I am getting there.
Those are all amazing accomplishments! You don’t need a picture perfect physique for your body to be healthy, strong and capable! You’ve completed 70 triathlons?? What? That’s amazing!
Love this post. It can be difficult to accept our bodies based on the images we are always being shown by the media defining beauty. I love your movement to take back our bodies and celebrate them in every shape and form!
Thanks for reading and for the support!! <3
I love this. There is too emphasis on how we are “expected” to look. I am proud of what my body has done and I have battle scars that I embrace.
I love this! As mothers, our bodies go through so much! I can’t think of anything more incredible than growing another human inside of our body. It is definitely not anything to be ashamed of. While I think health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential, I also know that my body has not been the same since having my 2 kids, and I choose to embrace it rather than be ashamed of it.
I have a pretty healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise, but there are things that have changed about my body brought on by motherhood. I can’t change them without major surgery, so I feel like accepting them is my best choice. 😉
what a lovely post one that is full of pride of who you are. Good for you
come see us at http;//shopannies.blogspot.com
It’s so important to spread the self love message! We need to realize that we are more than the aesthetic body. What goes on inside our head is much more important.
Great post. We, as women, need to stop hating our bodies based on what others define as normal. Our bodies are beautiful, post partum or not
I agree!! Our standards for beauty have gotten out of control!
Aw, I LOVE this post! So much empowering insight. I definitely have a new appreciation for my body after having my son!
wow – such a great message & I must admit, I am not very nice to myself most of the time. I am intentially trying to make a change but it can be so hard but I am trying & that’s what counts! Especially since I would never want my daughter to say anything negative about herself.
What a beautiful post, just like the women in it. Embracing your body is so so important!
Such an important message. Naturally, as we age our bodies change. It can be a rough transition but no matter what, I’m still me and we all need to be as happy with ourselves on the outside as we are with the inside!
What a powerful expression of reclaiming the power that was stolen from you. Society degrades women because they are afraid of the power that we wield and consequently will do anything to make us feel inferior in comparison. Love yourself better than others love you and be happy in your own skin. Your children are powerful reminders of the strength that you had inside you to raise them as warriors x
<3 I LOVE this! You're totally right that ALL bodies are beautiful!!!
I love this project! Amazing!
Beautiful article for the mum and to-be mums but also for anyone finding it difficult to embrace their body. Love yourself media doesn’t matter
Thanks for sharing:)
It was hard post-baby to see celebs bouncing back in like 2 weeks… wouldnt it be nice to have a trainer come to you or want to take time away from your newborn? thats frustrating! you gotta be real about the time it takes to feel your best after you have a child and be okay with it!!! i feel better now than i ever have and every woman will get there.
Such a lovely post!!! Always love yourself!!! Makes life go so much easier if you just love you!
Such a beautiful post with a powerful message. I like that you incorporated other people’s thoughts.
This is a beautiful series! It’s so important that we learn to love ourselves.
Love this! The stories are so motivating and the pictures are gorgeous. 🙂
What beautiful words and a wonderful message. Self-love is so important.