You’re Beautiful, Mama
Hey guys! I have a special guest blogger on the blog today. She wants to remind you all to love your postpartum bodies-no matter what. I hope you all enjoy her as much as I do!
“You’re Beautiful, Mama”
To all moms doing their best, please know that you are a beautiful, strong, smart and loving mother. Whether you are young or old, you are doing a great job and you are doing your best. And though I am talking to all moms, I would like to primarily focus on new moms. The ones who just pushed out a baby or who had a c-section. Who are at home right now, with their brand new baby and are exhausted but overjoyed. And this could be your first baby or your 8th baby; I know how emotional it is in these first few weeks. And I know beauty isn’t everything, but there’s just something about being told that you are beautiful as you hold your brand new baby in your arms.
There is such an emotional toll that occurs after having a baby. And it doesn’t happen all at once. It kinda creeps up on you gradually, and out of nowhere you’ll just feel this sense of being a tad overwhelmed. And of course you are! You went from being pregnant for nine months, to going through a very intense process of birthing a baby, to being home with that baby and trying to figure him or her out; all while letting your own body heal.
I remember when I finally got a chance to take some time for myself and shower, I looked in the mirror and was truly surprised by how my body looked. For some reason I expected that my stomach would have shrunk down back to its normal size, as it had already been a week. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the leaking and bleeding that accompanied having a baby. Or the glaring stretch marks that I hadn’t noticed while pregnant. Or the fact that my breasts looked like huge veiny bowling balls. And it didn’t stop there. When I got dressed, I have to admit, I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself. Why? Because I was dressing myself in stained and ripped sweatpants (honestly, nothing else fit at that particular moment) the gigantic mesh undies the hospital gives you that goes up to your belly button, donned with a giant pad that seriously rivals my toddler’s twin size bed, a sports bra accompanied with nursing pads and one of my husband’s softest shirts that he owns (I totally confiscate his shirts when I’m pregnant & the first few weeks after; there’s just something about wearing a shirt that actually feels big on you when you are feeling large and in charge). And I started crying, telling my husband that I felt less than pretty, and was tired, and did not feel or look like myself, and that I just didn’t recognize that person in the mirror.
Looking back now, I realize that this was because I hadn’t slept well in months (those last few weeks of pregnancy seem to prepare you for waking up with a newborn; hello insomnia) and my hormones were adjusting from being pregnant and now breastfeeding. And I can see now, that I was so used to seeing my body how it was pre pregnancy (as that’s the body I knew for literally decades) that I was expecting to see that again. Right away. I had been excited to seeing the old me again. It took a while for me to reconcile that it would take time for my body to go back to how it was. And to be patient. And kind to myself.
So if you are looking in the mirror at yourself and wondering when it will happen, or if you’re trying to fit in your pre pregnancy clothes and they don’t fit yet? Please be gentle to yourself. Your body went through a tremendous change and is still changing. There is a reason ob gyn’s tell their patients to wait for 6-8 weeks (depending on the birth) as a recovery period. And when you are ready to start working out again? I would highly suggest using the Fit For Life: 12 Week Workout Program + 4 Week Meal Plan Bundle from Sia Cooper (Diary of a Fit Mommy). Why? Because she a mom of two herself! And she’s a certified personal trainer. And best of all, her workouts take into account breastfeeding moms. So you’re not going to be going all crash diet crazy. Instead, this Fit For Life bundle advises workout routines and healthy food to eat. With meals and grocery lists all written out. It gave me structure and a starting point, when all I wanted to do was hire a personal trainer and chef to come help me get my body back. Reality kicked in, and I remembered that I’m not a Hollywood movie star with that kind of money, so instead I found Diary of a Fit Mommy.
The bottom line is: it takes time. Your body is not going to pop out a baby and the next day you’re walking around in your bikini looking like you did before you were pregnant. Be patient with yourself. Love yourself. And your body. It accomplished so much in the past year. And so have you! So for those of you new moms who are frustrated that you haven’t lost the baby weight yet, or all you want to do is get out of your maternity clothes and back into your regular clothes; & you want to hear is that you are doing it right and that you are smart, and funny, and beautiful, and loving and caring and an amazing person. You are! This time is fleeting. It’s important to remember that all these emotions are new. Hormonal changes are real. And things might seem really hard right now, and you might look into the mirror and wonder when on earth you will feel and look like yourself again and just feel overwhelmed. Remember, things will not always stay the same and change is constant. Life is not stagnant, it is always changing. Babies grow older, and more independent. Your body will adjust, and you will sleep again and feel normal again. And honestly, when I see pictures of how I looked before kids, compared to how I look now? I’d choose my post-children body with my kiddos in my arms any day. So for now, just know that you are doing a truly amazing job because you are trying. And in my humble opinion, I think trying is what matters. So keep on keeping on. And give yourself a humongous pat on the back because you are an amazing and beautiful Mama.
Written by Nicole Benedum, from the Stressed and Blessed Mama Blog. Found at www.stressedandblessedmama.com