I’m sorry I’ve been away for about a month. I’ve been writing and revising this post because post-baby body is a touchy subject. Getting my thoughts on paper hasn’t been easy. I do not feel like I have been living “confidelishly.” I try so hard to be a good example of what I believe in my heart: your appearance is not a reflection of your worth. But, sometimes I fail. Lately, I do not like the inner monologue I hear while looking in the mirror. One part of my brain says, “your new leg cellulite is gross; will those bags under your eyes ever go away; and this slight pouch in your stomach is embarrassing.”
My profession usually complicates these negative emotions. Stepping on the scale to see the number stalled at a spot much higher than I want is frustrating. As a Registered Dietitian getting back to my pre-baby weight should be simple, right? But, I know better than to beat myself up over the number on a scale. Mean Angie makes Regular Angie feel like a big fraud.
Part of the purpose of writing this blog is so that I can keep those kinds of mean thoughts in check. I know that a thinner me is not a better me. Yet, I’ve felt angry at my body for not looking like it did last May. I convinced myself that consistently working out during my pregnancy would mean after the baby arrived my abs would be back and better than ever. Magical thinking was clearly a hallmark of pregnant Angie.
Clearly, I needed some help sorting out these feelings. I decided to interview my friend, Amy, the inspirational woman/wife/mom/fitness instructor/advertising guru behind the body positive blog, Beloved Body. Since meeting her in college, I have always admired her dedication to fitness, positive attitude, and community involvement. Her blog is as incredible as she is! It is definitely a place to go when you need to be reminded why rocking a bikini isn’t the best reason to take care of your body.
I wanted to talk with her about how I could see my changing postpartum body in a more positive light. Her thoughts and advice really resonated strongly with me, but I needed some time to process and practice before I could finish up this post.
Amy’s Top Five Ways to Love Your Postpartum Body
- Everything that changed about your body should be seen as badge of honor. You just grew a person inside your body for 40 weeks! We should all be PROUD that we’ve delivered a baby. It’s normal and okay for your body to look like you had a baby.
- Set realistic expectations for your body. Give yourself a minimum of ten months to return to where you were. Whether that is clothing size, fitness level, or number on a scale, your body needs time to recover. Be kind and give it to yourself.
- Don’t feel bad about buying clothes in a bigger size. It’s hard for everyone to get dressed after pregnancy. None of us want to keep wearing maternity clothes. We all understand the discomfort and disappointment of being in a dressing room with a post-baby body that you don’t quite know yet. Don’t look at the size. Buy a few things that fit well and make you comfortable. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to a Celebrity! The media is skewing our view of the postpartum period, making current post-baby expectations are totally unrealistic. Don’t forget that many famous people have a lot of extra help-trainers, nannies, night nurses, prepared meals etc. Imagine what you could do with a good night’s sleep!
- Surround yourself with people who are going to be positive role models for you. This includes social media. I guess this means I’m going to unfollow Beyonce’ on Instagram. Seeing the recent headlines of her four-week post-baby body(2 babies, actually might not be what people who delivered babies in 2017 need to see right now.
How I’m Using These Strategies to Love My Post-Baby Body
As I mentioned, I had to practice these strategies and redefine success as something other than a number on a scale. I am certainly a work in progress. I am very thankful that Amy could help me talk through some of my issues! Here are some of the ways I am changing negative thoughts into more body positive messages. I took Amy’s advice and bought a few new, inexpensive pairs of shorts at Costco and Old Navy. I could feel bad that I’m 20 weeks postpartum and don’t fit into my old shorts, but I refuse to do it. I’m pretending to create a Capsule wadrobe (look it up-it seems like a good idea!). Today, I wore maternity dress pants to a meeting with a fun top. Cute outfits make you feel good, no matter if there is extra elastic in the waistband of the pants or not! I’m also trying to take care of my body by not pushing it too hard in fitness classes (due to some back pain), getting enough sleep, and making healthy food choices most of the time. Lastly, everyday I look at Baby C’s sweet smile and say a little thank you to my body for bringing her into the world. I know, without a doubt, she is worth every extra pound I have right now.