Post-Baby Body Acceptance: Motherhood Made Me Kinder to Myself
We’ve talked a lot lately about cutting our mom-selves some slack. From telling your inner critic to take a hike to writing yourself love letters, Valentine’s Day was all about mama-love. I talked about whether moms are aware of the comments they make about their bodies now that they have kids—and little ears and eyes listening and watching at all times. And it got me wondering how other moms feel about their bodies and whether they’re easier on themselves now that they have kids.
Pregnancy and childbirth put you through the physical ringer. From pregnancy aches and pains to postpartum loss of pee control to leaking boobs while breastfeeding, the whole physical experience of motherhood is like no other. It took me a full year to lose the baby weight with my daughter, but this time around, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight at six months postpartum. I attribute it to chasing around two kids non-stop, all day and night. But even though I’m the same weight, my bod isn’t quite the same. Weight has shifted around, skin is a little looser; things are just…different. Not necessarily bad, but certainly different. But whereas in my pre-kid days I may have been more concerned about hitting the gym and tightening things up, I’ve found that I just don’t care. My focus is elsewhere; my mind is too occupied with other things. Sure, I work out. But it’s to stay strong and be able to keep up with the little crazy people; not so my stomach looks awesome when I hit the beach in a bikini.
The process of pregnancy and childbirth still boggles my mind. The body is capable of ridiculous and amazing things; I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that each of my kids spent 35 weeks growing in my belly, and I think it’s that appreciation that forces me to ease up on my personal standards for fitness. And whether you have C-section scars or stretch marks, haven’t lost the baby weight, or just feel like you have a ways to go in the fitness department, you should be easy on yourself, too. Because damn, you made a human. With your body.
How about you? Are you kinder to yourself now that you’ve had kids? Or did your body image suffer? —Erin