"You’ve had your baby and are struggling with feeling confident, comfortable and happy in your new body. It’s okay — remember that you’re not alone, and it’s truly not your fault you feel this way. But it is your responsibility — for you and your baby — to take the necessary steps to feel better.
The following tips, many of which come from our expert, Michelle, can help you begin to love, honor and respect your new body today.
Ditch the scale.
Michelle tells all her clients to throw away the scale. “The only reason you need a scale is to weigh luggage,” she says. “And no one’s going anywhere these days anyway!” Your medical provider will weigh you at your postnatal visits, and if there’s a problem, he/she will tell you.
Stop body checking.
“Cover up the mirror if you have to,” urges Michelle. Spending time in front of the mirror judging and berating yourself is a huge waste of time and energy.
Toss out the magazines.
Open any magazine and you’ll see distorted and unrealistic presentations of women. Michelle wants people to keep in mind that celebrities have access to services, such as fitness trainers, in-home chefs, healthy meal delivery, round-the-clock childcare etc., that the average person doesn’t.
It’s not helpful or fair to compare yourself to them and feel badly that your postpartum body doesn’t look like theirs. Not to mention, they also may be doing things to lose weight that aren’t healthy — skipping meals, taking diet pills, etc. If you want to change your body, do it to be healthier, feel stronger, and have a better mindset mentally and physically. “Skinny doesn’t equal healthy,” reminds Michelle.
Quit the Social Media Comparison Game (or just quit social media!).
Social media is a tricky platform that really complicates the issue: on the one hand, many moms and influencers claim to portray a more “realistic” representation of motherhood and of what the postpartum body looks like.
As women share their postpartum journey, Instagram, for instance, becomes a space where women can relate, feel less alone in their struggles, and build a strong sense of community with fellow new moms. But on the other hand, it can be difficult to differentiate sponsored content from “regular” content, and the “realistic” portrayal of motherhood is still often curated, filtered and beautified. Not to mention, in most cases, it doesn’t quite reflect the experience most of us have in those early days/weeks/months of postpartum, which is normal — just like pregnancy, every mom’s postpartum journey is unique.
As such, a search for connection that relies so heavily on pictures is a slippery slope towards yet another pervasive and damaging game of comparison that sets women up to once again feel badly about themselves and their postpartum bodies — this time with “real” women whom you think are sharing their “real” and “raw” pregnancy and postpartum journey.
Remember… social media, these days, is often just another advertising platform that reaches directly in your living room, while you are nursing your baby or trying to take a nap. You don’t know what really goes on behind those filtered, “trying not to look posed, but posed” images. That mama may also be experiencing some negative feelings about her changes, but may be putting on a face for the camera and the sake of her grid.
Talk to yourself the way you’d want your child to talk to him/herself.
Here’s a good piece of advice from an article in the NYT: “If you ever berate yourself, stop and ask whether you would want your child to speak to herself that way. Use your relationship with your body image as an indicator that you may need to learn how to be less critical and more patient with yourself and others.”
Switch your frame of mind.
When you find yourself feeling upset about or ashamed of your body, do your best to try to change your thinking.
Your belly is larger because you brought a baby into the world — that’s a superpower, mama! The marks on your skin — stretch marks, dark spots, etc. — those are badges of honor you can wear proudly; you did the hard work of growing and birthing a baby. You’re incredible."
The above excerpt is from Lucie's List and written by Marissa Bader. We hope you'll join us as we continue to share helpful information and encouragement on this topic. Stay tuned!