I remember the one thing I told myself when I had my son. I will do my best to stay healthy, I don’t want stretch marks, and I will NOT have a C-section. All the things I told myself because I didn’t want to “lose” the body I had grown to be so comfortable in. However, as new moms, we really don’t get the choice of what we look like post- baby.
I was waking up in the OR after having Chase. We had to have an emergency C-section due to some complications. I felt relieved to have my baby, but I knew I had been cut open and feared what my scar would look like.
- Will I ever feel the same?
- Will I ever get to wear a bikini again or to look “normal” again?
- Will my body “bounce back” or be less squishy?
Some women give birth, and they immediately look like nothing happened. I can tell you that that was not my experience, nor is it the experience of most. While I was very healthy before delivery, my body had been through Hell. I looked like I had been mowed over back a Mack truck. I couldn’t bend because of my stitches or use the bathroom. I was pretty stationary for a while. I longed to hold my new son, but I also longed to be “me” again.
I think this issue of loving our bodies goes deeper than the scale. You’ve been in your body for a long time, you’ve grown comfortable in your own skin. Until pregnancy comes, and everything changes. Suddenly you’re forced to make peace with a whole new body.
These are my tips to trying to love your body again, after your baby:
- First, take the necessary time to heal. Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle. Enjoy a cup of tea when you feel weepy — your hormones have been all over the place and it’s completely understandable that you may feel “off” for a while. Enjoy some Netflix and quiet times with your baby. Focus on healing — that’s first.
- Once you feel yourself again and heal (and have doctor approval), try to start walking your baby with the stroller. It usually feels impossible to leave the house at the beginning, there’s just so. much. stuff. But invest in a great walking/jogging stroller.
- Accept the things that are different and love the things that make you proud. I know when I had Chase my stomach line separated a little, diastasis recti. Even when I lost most of the weight, I noticed my stomachs width was wider. But I also got very strong arms. I carry a baby and his essentials and I became so strong. And so have you, and so will you.
- Give yourself permission to feel less than perfect.
- Once you’re ready to lose the weight, and have talked to your doctor, refer to my pots on Losing the Baby Weight.
While facing that your body isn’t quite the same, it’s also true that it’s not “destroyed”. By eating right and exercising, a lot of the changes, they disappear over time. The platitude that “you’re awesome and just gave life” didn’t really work for me. I wanted to love myself and my son. So I focused on what I could control and how I could feel good about myself again. And so can you.
It is possible to love your body again, in time.