It has only been two years since my last child, however, it has been 16 since my first. Over the years my postpartum or 4th trimester body has looked significantly different with each of my five children. For the first three children, in my opinion it was perfect.
But once number 4 came, things changed. That’s when I realized that my own confidence in my weight was starting to waver. I attempted to exercise, and did a few diets, but me being the impatient woman that I am, quit after three days.
Yes I know nothing works that fast, but I did say I was impatient.
For some new moms getting used to your new body after the baby will be difficult. Others take it in stride, or claim to. But, the truth is, the amazing body that managed to bring forth life often feels like itís failing after giving birth. You have fluids oozing out everywhere, and you feel super flabby. The tight tummy is now like a deflated waterbed. For some women itís the stretch marks, for others itís the strange appearance of their breasts that get to them.
I knew that having a child changed your body, sometimes permanently. That never bothered me. What did bother me was the fact that I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. How could I preach to my girls body positivity and to love who they are, if I can’t even do the same thing?
The truth is, I couldn’t. I knew it. And the self-doubt I had was staring them right in their faces as well.
Even still, that wasn’t my breaking point.
Not being able to walk up the stairs without getting winded, feeling like my clothes looked ill-fitting on me wasn’t the breaking point either.
I knew that I had to be tired of feeling bad about myself. Meaning, when I was ready for the pity party to end, then I could finally do something about it. And I did.
Here are a few things that I have learned and reflected on that have happened over the years that FINALLY allowed me to break up with my post-baby body.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Every woman is different, so how your post-pregnancy body has reacted to incubating and birthing a baby will be different from another womanís. Due to that, you have to let go of any judgments regarding your body compared to another motherís body. You are you, and she is she.
You Can Improve Many Parts of Your Body but Give it Time
If you’re unhappy with your post-pregnancy body there are some things you can do to help improve it, but you should give yourself time to recover. Ask your doctor for permission to start exercising again, and then work up slowly to your pre-pregnancy regimen. But realize that youíre also going to be tired at first taking care of the baby. You have plenty of time to get back into shape and it will happen.
Stretch Marks Do Not Go Away but They Do Fade
If you are one of the millions of women who suffered from severe stretch marks during pregnancy it may be distressing to hear that you canít get rid of them outside of drastic surgery to cut them off. But, there is no point in wasting your money or your time worrying about them. Instead, realize that they will fade to a silvery color and will hardly be noticeable in a few years.
Your husband does not care about your stretch marks. In fact, most men do not care about stretch marks at all. Getting stretch marks doesnít mean you did anything wrong or gained too much weight. It just means that you have the genetics for getting stretch marks. Itís that simple.
Vaginas Bounce Back Like New
There’s a silver lining in everything right?
Your vagina is made for having a baby and then going back to normal. It wonít feel normal for a while to you, but when your doctor gives you the go-ahead to resume normal sexual activity it really will feel normal for both of you. Your husband won’t notice anything different. In fact, some women report having stronger sexual feelings and responses after having a baby, than before having a baby.
Whatever your feelings are about your body after having your baby, itís important to try to give yourself time for recuperation before passing judgment on yourself. Your body just did an amazing thing, and itís time to revel in that power. The power of giving someone life is the most important thing you can ever do.