It’s been five months since I gave birth to my daughter, Catalina Rose. I want to share my truth about postpartum body image and how I’m navigating it. I don’t care what size you are . . . this is something that affects every new mom.
My biggest fear about getting pregnant was body image. How would my body change during and after pregnancy? I have the body type that can look at food and gain weight. I can’t “just” learn how to eat intuitively. I tried that once. I gained weight. I’ve always been overweight with a curvy body. I will always have to eat healthy and exercise unless I want to be morbidly obese. I knew that getting pregnant would wreck my current weight loss goals. I knew that I would gain more than the “medically recommended” amount of weight. I knew that all these changes would be a total mind fuck.
Postpartum Body Image – How To Feel Irresistible?
It wasn’t as bad as I built it up in my head. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I was fat and depressed way before I even thought about pregnancy. Going through those dark times prepared me for this chapter of my life. That said, I know how devastating it feels to not recognize your body. I know how hopeless it seems. I know that pit of your stomach dark feeling. I also know that it doesn’t have to feel that way. I’ve been on both sides and I want to share my tips for how to feel irresistible about your postpartum body image.
1. Forget the “Recommended Weight Ranges”
When I found out I was pregnant, I was determined to keep eating healthy and to maintain my active lifestyle. I did both. I still gained 70 lbs. That’s way more than the recommend amount but guess what? My baby came out perfect and healthy. My high weight gain had ZERO impact on my daughter.
Every single body is different and some bodies need to gain more weight than others. Yes, you will gain weight because you’re supposed to. Don’t stress about the number or the recommended weight ranges. As long as you and baby are healthy, that’s all that matters.
Read This: Dear Pregnant Fat Girl
2. Drop the Unrealistic Deadlines
There is a lot of societal pressure put on new moms to bounce back and lose the weight ASAP. I’m sure celebs and Instagram culture have nothing to do with that. (That’s sarcasm in case you needed a hint.)
I was 267 lbs the day I delivered my daughter. At my two week incision checkup, I was 243 lbs. I was ecstatic that I had lost 25 lbs in two weeks without even trying! I continued to not “actively” try for the next month. Then, at my six week checkup, I was 243.5 lbs. Yup, I actually managed to gain weight. Of course I would. It’s me we’re talking about here!
I was devastated. I left that appointment in tears. I looked at my husband before we got on the elevator and said, “Mark my words. I will be 143 lbs the next time I step foot in this office next year.”
It was a slap in the face reminder of what I already knew before getting pregnant. I will ALWAYS have to work at my weight. I’m not one of the lucky ones that magically drops the baby weight without trying.
The rest of the weight has been a struggle. It’s like starting all over again with my weight loss journey. That is so frustrating because I’VE ALREADY LOST THIS WEIGHT BEFORE!!!
It’s the end of March and I’m only down to 230 lbs. I thought by June of this year, I’d be back to ‘’onederland.” Is that even possible? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it an unrealistic deadline?
I have to admit, life with a baby and working full-time has been enough of an adjustment. Then, trying to lose weight on top of that? Sure, I could be doing better. But this is where I’m at. Right now. This is MY journey and I’m doing what works for me right now. I will get there.
The best advice I can give you is don’t put a deadline on your postpartum body image goals. You have enough to figure out with a new baby. Take things one day at a time.
3. Accept That Your Body Will Never Be The Same Again?
When I was pregnant and desperately trying to find information about body image, everything I read said “Accept the fact that your body will never be the same again!” That made me feel so hopeless and defeated before the game even started.
I can’t believe real life people also felt the need to tell me this. Like WTF? Don’t ever say that to a pregnant woman or a new mom. You’re not helping.
From the moment I heard that statement, I refused to believe it. Yea, your body may change but you don’t have to accept defeat. If you want to make changes, make them . . . not because you hate yourself but because you love yourself and want to set a good example for your kids.
[clickToTweet tweet=”My postpartum body won’t be the same again. It will be better. ” quote=”My body won’t be the same again. You’re right. It will be better.”]
I’m determined to be in better shape postpartum than I was the first 35 years of my life. I’m going to set a great example for my daughter. I want her to know what healthy eating looks like. I want her to know what it’s like to live an active lifestyle. I also want her to live a life where her weight and body image are not an obsession. So to all those haters, thank you. My body will never be the same again . . . it will be a million times better!
4. Take Care of Yourself & Get Glam
Reading those pregnancy forums at 2 in the morning, I noticed a theme. So many women said things like:
- Enjoy your time alone now.
- You’ll never shower again.
- You’ll never sleep again!
- You won’t have time for your full face of makeup.
- Don’t bother dressing up because you’ll just be covered in drool and puke.
I even had a nurse ask me when I was planning to give up my high heels.
The so-called “advice” was so depressing and downright infuriating. I’m becoming a mom. Why does that need to be synonymous with a sloppy, disheveled, scatter brained woman? I’m supposed to give up my girly girl ways because I have a baby? Why does there need to be a trade off? Why do I need to sacrifice my sanity? I’m supposed to stop taking care of myself as if that’s some sort of badge of honor?
I made a promise to myself that I would not become “that” mother that hasn’t showered in three days, rushing around with stains on her clothes. NO way. Besides, what kind of example is that for my daughter?
There’s nothing heroic about putting yourself last. NOTHING.
When I look good, I feel good. Wearing a full face of makeup makes me feel irresistible. I don’t do it for my husband. I don’t do it for anyone else but myself. I love how it makes me feel.
If your struggling to love your postpartum body, take care of yourself in other ways. Get in the shower . . . every single day. Put on some makeup, do your hair, and wear something cute. Fake it til you make it.
I hate sharing this photo but this was me on New Years Eve 2016, just 2 months after my daughter was born. I was hating my body at the time. Everything was still swollen, fat had shifted into places it had no business in, and my c section incision was still sore. Nothing fit me. BUT, I said eff it and dressed up and got glam anyways. That’s who I am at 267 or 150 lbs.
5. Ignore the Size Of Your Clothes
I get it. Those first few weeks after the baby is born your body is swollen, painful, and in recovery. It’s perfectly ok to live in leggings and comfy sweaters. I had a c section so the thought of getting into actual jeans? No. Just no.
Comfy clothes are great but they can make you too comfortable. I once went an entire winter wearing nothing but leggings. When I tried on jeans in the spring they wouldn’t even budge over my thighs. I couldn’t believe it. That’s the trickery of wearing leggings 24/7.
It took about two months before I could wear my normal, non-maternity jeans. Yes, they were tight as hell but it felt amazing. I felt like a human again! Even though I could fit into them, I still bought myself a pair one size bigger that aren’t as tight. They are my transition jeans.
I know your clothing size might be bigger than normal right now. You may not want to spend a money on new clothes that will probably be too big in a few months. BUT, invest in a couple of transition pieces to get you through the postpartum period. Nobody else is going to know the size. When you wear things that flatter your body you look better. When you look better, you feel better.
6. Be in the Moment
I’ve wasted so much time in my life putting things on hold until I lose the next 50 lbs. Do you know how fast life flies by once you have a baby? It seriously goes by in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to miss any of it by waiting for the weight.
When I started my journey to create an irresistible life, I realized that I needed to practice being in the moment. Life is happening right now . . . not 50 lbs from now. The best thing I can do is enjoy the journey while working towards my goals.
I don’t want to miss out on Catalina’s first year because I’m depressed about my postpartum body. Am I physically where I want to be? No! Am I letting that stop me from living the life I deserve? Hell no!
7. Practice Gratitude For Your Body
Your body changes so much while pregnant and after having a baby. It can be so easy to go to that dark place of self hatred and shame. I want you to put things into perspective. Creating and delivering your baby is a miracle. There are so many people in the world that will never get to experience this. Consider yourself grateful. You have your body to thank for this little miracle.
Practice gratitude each and every day with a gratitude journal. Whenever you hear those negative thoughts creeping into your mind, remind yourself that your body is irresistible, strong, and beautiful.
As cliché as it sounds, this baby girl, my Catalina Rose, makes it ALL worth it.
Join the Discussion
What are your postpartum body image fears? Do you have any tips for new moms? Comment down below and join the discussion.
Are you ready to create your irresistible life? I highly recommend downloading my free quick-start workbook, How To Create an Irresistible Life.
MORE PREGNANCY/BODY IMAGE RELATED POSTS
- Thank God I Was Fat & Depressed Before I Was Pregnant
- Dear Pregnant Fat Girl
- Does This Baby Make Me Look Like a Mom Blogger?
- Losing Control . . . Lessons from Mother Nature & Motherhood
- Maternity Fashion for Plus Size & Curvy Mamas
- Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone at BlogPaws
- Embracing My Pregnancy Body Image Fears
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