I love Pinterest.
I use it pretty much every day for everything from recipes to travel inspiration.
But despite my Pinterest addiction, it has always bothered me that it’s become one more tool to reinforce unattainable standards for women.
One of the things that pissed me off the most during my pregnancy were all the pins that popped up about having a “belly-only pregnancy” and “shedding the baby weight FAST”.
It can be hard enough to cope with the changes in our body postpartum without being bombarded with media pressure to “get our body back”.
If you’re gung-ho to lose the baby weight, good for you — no judgment here. But if you want to get better at loving and accepting your body the way it is, keep reading! I hope you’ll find these tips helpful.
Tip #1: Stop comparing
The mom whose body bounced back in a week? Your 20-something-year-old cousin who’s never had kids? Yeah, just stop right there. We all wish our body could always be as tight as Jennifer Aniston’s, but the reality is we aren’t all genetically blessed like her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Jen works hard to maintain what she’s got, but what she’s got naturally is probably better than what 90% of us look like in the best shape of our life.
Sadly, most of us didn’t win the genetic lottery when it comes to having a smoking hot bod, but if you look around you — I mean really look — you’ll see you’re not alone. Most of us have average bodies (hence the term “average”) and there is nothing wrong with that, despite what the media would like you to think.
Comparison is the devil. I always feel good about myself until I see a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
Put down the magazine. Turn off the TV.
And remember — variety is the spice of life! If we all looked the same, had the same interests, ate the same food every day — life would be pretty boring.
Tip #2: Wear what makes you feel good
Newsflash: Most people aren’t all toned underneath our clothes! That’s the beauty of clothing — we can wear what makes us feel good, and use it to draw attention to our more flattering features and away from the places we’re self conscious about. I actually feel best in a pair of leggings and a chunky knit sweater. It’s cozy and cute, and the only person who can tell what my tummy looks like under there’s is me.
If you need to go shopping for some new clothes that fit you better, do it! Nothing will make you feel crappy like trying to squeeze into a pair of too-tight pre-pregnancy jeans. You’re a different size now, but luckily, a size is just a number and does not determine your worth. Just as your life is different now, so is the size of your waist and hips. Does anyone besides the tabloids really care what size Beyoncé is? Uh, no, cause she’s friggen beautiful and totally kickass. Also, Taylor Swift is probably a size 0. That doesn’t make her likeable. And Taylor, if you’re reading this, for the love of god, eat a hamburger!
Tip #3: Eat healthy
When you eat junk, you feel like junk.
I know it’s hard to eat healthy when you’re run off your feet taking care of a tiny human, but it will make such a difference.
When I’m eating healthy and working out, it doesn’t even matter if I lose weight — I automatically feel better about myself!
Fruit is a healthy snack that can be eaten on the go. Pick up pre chopped veggies at the grocery store (if you’re like me, if they aren’t prepped and ready to go, you won’t eat them). Ask your friends and family to make you some healthy freezer meals for days that are too busy for cooking.
Tip #4: Acknowledge what your body did
On my online baby group, one new mom wrote a post that struck me. She was only 5 or 6 weeks postpartum, and she was writing to share how crappy she felt about her new body — a sentiment I’m sure many mommas can relate to.
Here is what I wrote to her:
“Try not to be so hard on yourself! Think of what your body just did — the most amazing thing — it gave life! So love that belly! And remember this body is just a vessel, our worth shouldn’t be defined by what we look like. Change is the only constant — we won’t be young forever. Eventually we will also have wrinkles and grey hair. We have to learn to come to terms with these natural changes that our society makes us think are repugnant. It isn’t easy, but change is evidence of transformation. Think of how you’ve already transformed and all the other beautiful transformations to come as a mother! <3 xo”
I think it’s incredibly sad that as women, we don’t even tend to give ourselves credit for the amazing feat our body has accomplished by carrying a baby inside of us for nine months and then bringing him safely into the world. All we can focus on is our stretch marks, our tummy, our loose skin. Thanks, media.
Once my belly started to show, I was in awe of my body — something I’d never experienced before. I was blown away when I thought about the tiny person growing in my belly. As much as I joked about being “fat”, when I looked at my belly, I saw my baby, not a fat person.
Even now, postpartum, when I look at my belly and loose skin, I am not ashamed. I see a body that has created the miracle of life, a body that is nurturing a young soul.
And despite knowing I’m a rockstar for what my body did, I still have my moments when I wish I looked different. Once again — thanks, media.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, remind yourself that your body is miraculous. Every stretch mark, every roll, is there because you nourished a tiny life for 9 months. You’re not going to magically feel better about yourself overnight, but with consistent positive self talk, you will start to be more loving and accepting of your body.
How do you feel about your postpartum body? Is there anything you would add to this list to help yourself love your body more? Share in the comments below!