If you’re pregnant or have had a baby any time in the past 6 months, then you probably can’t browse social media without seeing all kinds of pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and postpartum articles. As both a mom and doula, my Pinterest feed is about 80% baby articles. While there can be a lot of good in all of those articles (I LOVE researching different topics!), it can sometimes lead to us doubting ourselves and our abilities as both moms and women. Take, for example, the hundreds of articles on the postpartum body. No doubt you’ve seen them. Articles like: “1001 Exercises To Do When Baby is Sleeping” and “How To Lose All The Baby Weight in 3 Days!” Now, to my knowledge, these aren’t actual articles. But they may as well be, because when it comes to how we as a society view the postpartum body, it sounds a lot like this-a completely unreachable goal that’s going to leave me feeling inadequate. Is it good to want to be healthy and want to look good after having a baby? Of course!! But there are easier, more attainable ways of rocking that postpartum look.
1. Your Body is Amazing.
No seriously. Not only did your body grow a human being, but it is now sustaining that life. Yes, the skin is a little looser, there might be some extra pounds, or some stretch marks, but it’s simply a testament of the miracle your body created. Why would we want to hide the fact that we are mothers? Being a mother is one of the single greatest joys in life. Let’s embrace it-and our new bodies-not run from it.
2. Wear Clothes That Fit.
Wearing clothes that fit you well is going to go a long way in how you view yourself. For a lot of women, this means having an In-Between Wardrobe. Maternity clothes, while comfortable, are probably going to look saggy and frumpy on your no longer pregnant self. And, your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans are probably going to leave you unable to move or even breathe (assuming you can get them zipped). So do yourself a favor and buy a few articles of clothing for this in-between stage.
3. Do What You Can, But Give Yourself Grace.
Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Nourish your mind, soul and body. Exercise. But do it at your pace. Do what works for you-not some phantom blogger you’ve never met. And remember to give yourself grace, especially in the early weeks. Just as each pregnancy is different, so is each postpartum journey. Maybe you had a cesarean and can’t exercise as much as you were planning. Maybe you had a multiple birth and are now taking care of two or three babies. Maybe you just had you’re 5th baby, and between soccer games, piano recitals, PTA meetings and all the responsibilities of being a mom, fast food is all you can do right now. Maybe you’re a sleep-deprived Mombie who would rather take a nap than work out for an hour. As you can see, the postpartum journey is different for everyone. So find what works for you, and give yourself grace on the hard days.
4. Do It For The Right Reasons
Health is always important, but especially as a mom. Poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and no exercise is likely going to make you feel sluggish and tired during an already exhausting time. But trying to reach an unattainable goal while working through breastfeeding issues, sleep deprivation, and transitioning back to work isn’t good either. Find a balance. Exercise and eat right because you want to set a good example for your kids or you want to be able to keep up with them. Not because you think you need to look a certain way to impress society.
Above all, enjoy this time. Like every season, it’s hard when you’re in the middle of it, but something you’ll miss when it’s over. You’ve got this, friend.