This isn’t a post about what to do to fit in your pre-pregnancy jeans as soon as possible, so if that’s what you were hoping for - sorry (but also not sorry!). I still think you’ll want to read this post - because I’m also not going to tell you that it’s wrong to miss your pre-baby body! This is a judge-free zone.
I am going to tell you how to get your body back. Or rather, how to feel at home in your body again. To become acquainted with the new you - and take the focus from just what you see on the surface, to the big picture. Your overall health includes so much more: emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, etc.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in this arena. But being involved in the world of birth has been powerful medicine for any body negativity I’ve struggled with. Seeing women in their most vulnerable and powerful moment, giving birth to a new life and becoming a mother, makes it almost impossible not to have an overwhelming sense of awe for how insanely awesome our bodies are. And if you are just sitting here thinking about how much you are in love with your body and can’t see any reason why you’d think otherwise, high five! That’s great news. Leave a note at the end of the post and share the body love with us. I bet there are lots of us who'd love to hear from you.
If you’re struggling to feel like you again, here are some tips. And leave me some of your favorite tips in the comments! I’d love to build up my list.
Nourish your body
Feed your body well. Your body needs to recover and especially if you are breastfeeding, you need plenty of nutrients and energy for you and your baby. Now isn’t the time to diet - a healthy balance and variety in the food you eat is the best approach. Oh, and water. LOTS of water.
Practice daily self care
Eat, drink, sleep. It seems simple, but when you barely have time for the basics self care needs to become very basic too. Pick up a good book from the library to read while you nurse. Place a few snacks at “nursing stations”, where you often sit to nurse, and include fruit, nuts, whole wheat crackers, etc. Say yes to the friend who offers to help. If you find yourself stumped when people ask what they can do to help, start a list. Then the next time they ask, pick something from the list! (Trust me - they wouldn’t be asking if they aren’t up for it. Take them up on whatever is comfortable for you. It's so worth it.)
Find one thing each day to do for you. Even something as simple as sitting in the sun for a few minutes alone, calling a friend for a quick conversation with an adult, or drinking a few extra glasses of water. Whatever your body is telling you it needs.
Kick the negative self-talk to the curb
There’s no room for comparison here. Or self shaming about how long it’s been since you’ve been pregnant, where you “should” be in size, shape, weight - whatever - just shut it down. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You just made a BABY. ‘Nough said! And if all else fails, the next time those negative thoughts creep in, picture what it would be like if you said it to someone you really love. Terrible, right? Well you don’t deserve it either.
Reconnect with you
Your body may feel like a stranger to you. Maybe at times you feel sad, unsettled, or just confused. But your body is still yours. It can take time to settle back in again. Keep doing the little things that leave you feeling nurtured and strengthened. Those will matter over time, and I promise, you'll feel like you again. If you find yourself struggling with persistent thoughts, depression, or you just don't feel right - get help. Many women will experience postpartum depression to some degree, and what's best for you and baby is to have a healthy, happy mother.
In the end, you and your body are in it for the long haul, so treat your body well, and it will thank you!