The first time I looked in the mirror after having my baby, I was in shock. As I stared at my floppy, wobbly, stretched way too far tummy, I felt a hot wave flood over my body.
There was no way that that was my body.
I had to sit down to let the “I may just pass out” wave leave me.
Once I calmed down I took another long hard look.
This was my body now. Of course, somethings got better, but others did not.
For some new moms getting used to your new body after the baby can 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 it’s 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 it’s the stretch marks, for others it’s the strange appearance of their breasts that get to them.
Here is how to accept your post pregnancy body.
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Realizing there are some things you can change
Your body goes through quite a lot after pregnancy and birth. Your body will go through HUGE changes from the moment you birth your baby and through that whole first year.
There are some things you can heal and change. And there are some things you cannot.
The trick is balance. Work on changing the things you can, and accept the things you can’t.
Here are some tips for finding that balance.
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 woman’s.
Due to that, you have to let go of any judgments regarding your body compared to another mother’s 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 you’re 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.
One thing some new moms struggle with after pregnancy is diastasis recti.
This is when a gap occurs between your abdominal muscles. This can usually be fixed with a few core specific exercises. I used this program to help mend my gap and feel much stronger afterward.
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 can’t 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 doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It just means that you likely have the genetics for getting stretch marks. It’s that simple.
I am one of the lucky ones that have stretch marks as evidence that I was in fact pregnant.
Vaginas Bounce Back Like New
Your vagina is made for having a baby and then going back to normal.
It won’t 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 to having stronger sexual feelings and responses after having a baby, than before having a baby.
In some cases, women do have some issues with scar tissues or with pelvic floor problems. If you feel like you fall into this category, you can try doing some pelvic floor exercises.
I also suggest seeing a physiotherapist and get evaluated. You may have a slight prolapse that can usually be fixed in a few months with specific exercises.
Accepting and Embracing
For me, it got easier to just accept that this is my new normal. My body is wonderful and powerful. It gave me 2 beautiful babies and still keeps me going.
I made sure to flood my brain with empowering thoughts.
Instead of feeling upset when I look in the mirror, I smile at my extra skin and stretch marks. I think about how beautiful my big pregnancy belly was.
I chase my kids with my scrunched up belly in my hands and they love it.
I find beautiful images of women who have had babies and stare in awe at the beauty that is the female form.
After all, this body supported and grew life. It nourished and comforted my babies. It brought them into this world. And for that I’m eternally grateful. And how can I resent a body that did so many powerful, wonderful things.
You can Embrace too, Mama!
Whatever your feelings are about your body after having your baby, it’s important to try to give yourself time for recuperation before passing judgment on yourself.
Stand in front of that mirror and point out all the wonderful things about your body. Keep having that inner conversation.
Your body just did an amazing thing, and it’s time to revel in that power. The power of giving someone life is the most important thing you can ever do.