Dealing With Your Body Post Pregnancy
For new mothers, you may find it a struggle dealing with your body post pregnancy.
It’s a topic that many new mothers experience, yet may not always talk about.
And it’s something I see regularly when coaching clients.
This article is partly motivated following a conversation with someone who is out the other side of pregnancy, yet finds it tough to accept her new body.
So hopefully over the next few minutes, I can highlight areas and give you some food for thought.
Struggling With Your New Body Post Pregnancy
So you’ve just gone through the whirlwind of pregnancy and you’re out the other side of it with a new bundle of joy in the house.
But along with the new arrival, you may struggle to be happy with your own body now.
A massive concern before pregnancy is “Will I look the same after?”.
The thoughts of weight gain, stretch marks, loose skin and a possible c-section can drive fear into many women.
So after you give birth and all has settled down, you may stand in front of the mirror and be unhappy.
You’ve added a few lbs, your stomach may look to sag a bit and there’s those new stretch marks too.
It’s very easy to feel disheartened.
You’ve just done the most miraculous thing a female body can do – create life, yet here you are, feeling down.
Many girls will have the ultimate goal of getting their ‘old body’ back.
You want to be slim, you want to wear a bikini on the beach and feel confident.
Instead, you stand there in pyjama bottoms, hair has seen better days and you’re on the brink of losing it.
What about those celebrities who are back in amazing shape after only a few weeks?
Why can’t that be you?
Sure Kate Middleton was out waving at cameras after only a few hours post birth, yet you were fit to kill the husband because he made a bad joke!
All I can say is this, it’s okay to feel like this right now.
I just don’t want you to consume yourself by it.
Every single person on this planet is different.
So whether you gain weight, need a C-section etc is all down to your individuality.
Be Nicer To Yourself And Focus On The Good Things
As humans, it’s very easy for us to dive deep into our own minds.
We can choose to constantly view all that is wrong with ourselves.
And when we do so, it can be harder to appreciate the good.
So, take a moment to appreciate the amazing thing you have just gone through.
You’ve gone through the amazing journey of bringing a baby into this crazy world.
Things change massively for you.
There’s going to be stress, hunger, a LOT of tiredness and you will question if you’re cut out for this at all.
Some days you will wake up and be scared.
Scared because this is all real.
This little person is relying on you and that can be quite terrifying.
It’s also easy to look at yourself and keep looking at those few extra lbs on your hips.
Maybe your stomach isn’t flat anymore.
That loose skin of scar may make you feel bad for a bit.
And you’ve so little time now to exercise or work on getting back into shape.
The old holiday photos bring a tear to your eye because you might never look like that again, let alone be that happy and free.
But this is all temporary.
Instead, look at the fact you brought a healthy baby into this world.
Respect the achievement and experience your body has gone through in creating such an amazing thing.
And most of all, look in the mirror and smile.
Because all those little worries you have right now about your body are minor.
They can all be improved upon.
You WILL shed those pounds, you WILL improve your stomach, you WILL get your confidence back.
Just start doing small things daily and you’ll get back into those nice clothes again.
Little Things You Can Start Doing
While the first few months can be quite stressful, there’s no point in adding pressure on yourself to lose the baby weight rapidly.
A lot of social pressure can make you feel like you need to.
There’s nothing worse than being out and about and still getting asked when you’re due even though you’ve already had it.
You will feel bloated and “bigger” than you would like.
But it’s okay, you can work on it and improve how you feel.
So you can start looking at little things to work on, like:
Walking – simply grabbing the buggy and your partner and getting outside is great.
Fresh air, exercise and a chance for both of you to break free from the house for a bit.
Your body has been through quite a lot so don’t go putting it straight back into stress mode by dumping lots of exercise on it.
It also gives you time to bond without arguing as to who’s turn it is to change the nappy!
Let’s be honest, parents of newborns go through quite a lot.
There’s stresses and arguments.
It’s a lot of new pressure and not every day will be perfect.
It can put tension between you both so sometimes you need to break out of the environment and just simple things.
Over time, you can then start adding in more intense exercise like home workouts, running etc as your fitness comes back up.
And you can then look at getting back into the gym to build your strength up wherever time allows.
Nutrition – now let’s immediately forget about planning nice meals and cooking for ages.
Those days are gone for the near future.
Instead, you may spend more time eating with one hand and only having a few minutes to prep a meal.
Snack can be your friend.
The likes of smoothies, nuts, protein snacks (bars/balls), cheese, ham, veggie sticks etc are all quickly thrown together to keep you ticking over.
Focus your food on good quality and try work some protein in at each main meal.
You can use smoothies then to get veg in.
And look at maybe making soups and stock them up each week so they’re handy to heat up when you get a chance.
Quick Note – if you’re breastfeeding, don’t cut your calories. Instead focus on healthy meals and maximising your production of breastmilk.
Build Your Body Image And Confidence
While many will be quick to point out how well you look post childbirth, you may immediately knock them back.
But do spend time focusing on yourself and looking at the positives.
Many want to snap back to their old body because it represents a level of confidence, self esteem and happiness.
It represents a time when you didn’t feel insecure in the public eye.
So maybe you have that one item of clothing that you know you love to wear and feel good in.
That can be your short term goal.
Instead of focusing on a certain number on the scales or how you look in your underwear, you may simply be delighted to fit back into that outfit.
That’s a realistic goal and one that will add a lot to your own self esteem.
It will be far more rewarding than simply hitting a number on a scales that no one ever knows but you.
Focus more on what makes you happy, not what you perceive others to see in you.
Spend more time being proud of being a mother, and less time comparing yourself to the “supermoms” that seem to have their lives together while you’re running on fumes, just about keeping it together.
Or even comparing yourself to other mothers who are doing things you’re unable to do right now.
Once again, everyone is different.
Spend more time being you and working on being that little bit better than yesterday, and less time trying to keep up with others.
Work on your own health, well-being and fitness.
Because when that child starts currying around the floors of the house, you’re going to need to keep up with them!
And before you know it, the years will fly by and you’ll want to ensure you enjoy it all.
So from the guy who is the proud parent of a cat called Barney, I salute you mothers.
Ye are all doing a fantastic job.
Keep up the good work and enjoy it.