Learning to love your body after baby is hard, but it is such an important part of loving ourselves! Here are six suggestions to help you love your mom bod, exactly the way it is right now!
One thing that makes me uncomfortable is when other women talk about losing weight. I never know if I should smile and nod or deny that they do or agree that I need to, too. It makes me sad to hear other women talking about being unhappy with their bodies.
I understand where they’re coming from, having spent years battling eating disorders and body image issues. It’s easy to compare your body to another. It’s easy to talk negatively about your body and take healthy eating and exercise to an extreme.
I also fully understand that there’s a lot of pressure from the media and from our society to look a certain way. From a very early age, we’re taught that the ideal picture of beauty is tall and skinny, with big boobs, a thigh gap, and a toned butt, even if we rarely see all of those things naturally on one person.
Having grown up with that mindset, it makes sense that after having a baby, women stress about their bodies and getting back down to their “pre-pregnancy weight.”
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, and want to emphasize how truly, painfully unhealthy it is to promote a culture where we use the term “baby weight” and encourage women to “get their bodies back” after childbirth. It’s unhealthy for new moms, it’s unhealthy for daughters quietly watching their moms, and it’s unhealthy for women watching each other. Nobody is winning.
Mamas, our bodies are freaking incredible. They heal themselves, they create tiny people, they feel, taste, smell, hear, and see, they grow and stretch with us throughout our lives, and I genuinely think they are a gift unlike any other.
Tomorrow I turn 30, and I have never been so happy with my body exactly the way it is. That’s not because I’m at my thinnest or at my lowest weight, but because I have finally come to a place where I appreciate and respect my body. I am comfortable, content, and grateful. I love every stretch mark on my thighs and belly, my farmer’s tan, and how when I bend over, my stomach flaps over like jello spilling out of a bowl. It’s my body, and I love it.
Again, it took me years to get to this place. I struggled throughout high school and college and after my first two kids were born. I was self-conscious about the way I looked in my clothes, I got on the scale multiple times a week, and I had a horrible relationship with food. I promise I know what it’s like.
After finally getting to a place where I’m at peace with my body and I don’t worry about how much I weigh or if I lose or gain weight, I want to help other mamas get to this place, too. Think about the impact we could have on our families, friends, even society, if we all loved our bodies exactly the way they are right now.
Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.
I mean honestly, we could change the world.
And yes, it’s easier said than done. Loving your body doesn’t happen overnight and it’s definitely a journey with a lot of ups and downs. So why wait any longer? I propose starting today and using these six suggestions to help you work on loving your mom bod exactly the way it is right now.
How to Love Your Mom Bod
Look at yourself through your kids’ eyes.
Our kids think we are amazing. They don’t care whether we have makeup on and our hair is done, whether we have flabby arms, a round belly, or even if we are missing a leg. They just love us unconditionally. Physical appearance definitely doesn’t matter, or even cross their minds. So look at yourself through your kids’ eyes. There’s so much more to you than just the way you look, and you are incredible regardless of what you look like.
Ask yourself if you would want your child to say to themselves the things you say to yourself.
This one’s a biggie. You would never tell your daughter she was fat, so why do you say it to yourself? You would never tell your daughter that she needed to eat less or lose ten pounds, so why do you tell yourself those things? Some of the things we say to ourselves we would never say to our children (or anyone but ourselves). Give yourself a break and stop saying them to yourself!
Ask yourself what you want your children to know.
If you could ensure that there was one thing they’d believe and know about their bodies as your children grew up, what would it be? I absolutely would want my kids to love their bodies, no matter what. When you love something, you take care of it, you treat it well, and you are kind to it. And if that’s what we want our kids to know, we need to start internalizing it ourselves so they can see that we believe and know it and learn from us.
Think about all your body can do.
Our bodies breathe on their own, pump blood on their own, heal themselves without us having to think about it, and experience the world through incredible, beautiful senses. Not to mention that as women, we have the ability to grow and birth new, sweet little human beings, and then create milk to feed them! Sure, sometimes our bodies don’t work exactly the way they’re supposed to and we may not be able to have our own children or nurse our babies as long as we want, but we can still do so much more than that. Our bodies are freaking incredible, exactly the way they are right now. Your body is incredible, exactly as it is right now.
Recognize that you won’t be happy with your body unless you decide to be happy with it.
One of my favorite lady bosses is Alison Faulkner. On her podcast, she often says “It will never be enough until we decide it’s enough. Enough is a decision, not amount.” I absolutely think this applies to happiness with our bodies, too. We won’t ever be happy with our bodies unless we decide to be happy with them. If completely relaxing and letting go sounds hard, just start by trying it for a week. Don’t count calories or stress about exercise or even go shopping. Just eat in moderation, stay active, and be happy with where you are at. I’m not saying that you’ll lose or gain weight by doing this, but I am saying that you’ll feel healthier and won’t stress about what you’re eating or how many times you went to the gym last week. It’s freeing to decide that you are happy with your body, and it makes a huge difference in your mood, stress level, how you interact with people, and how you treat others and yourself.
Our bodies, my body, YOUR BODY is amazing. We are all different and beautiful and wonderful and we are alive, creating, living, and enjoying life right now. Loving your mom body is a tough thing to do, no matter if you’re pregnant, a week postpartum, or five years postpartum. We’re all at different, wonderful stages and our bodies are all different shapes and sizes.
As I was working on this blog post, I was all fired up and I asked on Instagram if I should make a hashtag for people to join in. I don’t think it will really turn into a movement, but I’d love to share the message of this post and inspire other mamas to show off why they love their mom bod exactly the way it is right now!
If you want to join, post on Instagram using the hashtag #WhyILoveMyMomBod and share duh, why you love your mom bod! I’d love to highlight people and share as many as I can, so if you want to help spread positivity around body image, please join in!
You’ve got this, beautiful mamas!