Postnatal Body Image

Postnatal Body Image

I am one of the many women whose body didn’t bounce back perfectly after carrying, creating, and birthing a human. Now I have never had the perfect body. I’ve never been huge, but I’ve also never been fully happy with my body. Now I know I should give myself a break, as it’s only been 6 months after all.  But lately with an increase in fatigue and being low on myself, I haven’t been able to go for walks, I’m not eating very well, and have been harsher on myself than usual. I feel guilty that I am not doing more to look after myself and making myself feel better about how I look, but I just don’t have the energy. Fact is, I was going for walks and eating so well about 2 months ago, but things have changed. I look at my body and think it’s so big, I have stretch makes, and I’m unable to fit most of my clothes. How am I going to fit my work uniform in a few months?! My body and mind have been through a lot and has fared rather well, so it’s not surprising I’ve gained a bit a weight.

Many women go through the same thing after having a baby, and most of us our bodies change dramatically. We gain weight, bigger hips, bigger boobs, stretch marks, varicose veins, and scars. Its all part of this beautiful journey of motherhood. But unfortunately, in the age of Instagram, photoshop and being able to medically change what you don’t like if you can afford it, this makes unrealistic standards of beauty. When really your body is amazing, and you are focusing on the minor imperfections of a beautiful canvas.

So firstly, be kind to yourself. Compliment what you like about yourself and see your self-worth. Build up your confidence and accept the parts that you may think aren’t as beautiful. You are being hard on yourself and need to give yourself a break. Your body has changed forever, and that’s not a bad thing. But for some people it can take time to adjust to the new you.

Give yourself time. Your body needs time to recover. It has been through a lot already and over the first year will lose a lot of much needed sleep. So, believe it or not, you may not have the energy you had pre pregnancy. You will not have the lifestyle or do the workouts you used to. Your body has been through a lot to create and birth that amazing baby of yours, it deserves a break.

Eat good food to help fuel your body such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and protein. These will help with energy, sleep, and help reduce weight gain. Do not attempt a fad diet where you cut calories or only eat certain foods. You need the fuel from a well-rounded diet and shouldn’t be putting extra stress on yourself.

 Exercise is great for you postnatally. Yes, it will help manage weight gain but also help mentally. When commencing exercise after giving birth, focus on exercise you enjoy or that can be social. It doesn’t need to be super strenuous; we aren’t wanting to be a fitness model. Activities such as walking, running, swimming, yoga, sports, and group exercise classes help you get active, get out of the house and when you enjoy it, you are more likely to do it.

Look after yourself mentally. There is a link between body confidence postnatal and postnatal depression. This means not only being kind to yourself but also being mindful. Seeking help if you are affected. There are many different exercises that can help you combat negative thoughts and there is no shame in asking for help. Ensuring you get out of the house in sunshine and fresh air can help so much with your mood.

Be comfortable in what you wear. I live in yoga pants and a baggy shirt most days. Don’t wear things that accentuate what is bothering you, when you become more confident in those parts, then wear tighter close that show off your body.

The most important thing to remember is that it takes time to bounce back from such a life changing event. Your body will forever be different and that is beautiful. Embrace it and feel empowered by what your body was able to do. It made a human being!

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