Becoming a mother is a beautiful and life-changing experience. But it can also be an extremely challenging time for how you see and feel about your own body postpartum.
After 9+ months of pregnancy, your body has gone through some incredible changes. And now, taking care of a newborn around the clock leaves little time to focus on yourself. It’s normal to look at your postpartum body and feel like it’s unfamiliar or no longer your own.
But the truth is, your body has done something amazing. And learning to embrace and care for it, just as it is today, is so important on your journey through motherhood. This acceptance and self-love will not only help you feel more confident and at peace, but will set a powerful example for your children as well.
In this post, we’ll explore ways moms can learn to cherish their bodies throughout motherhood. From focusing on health over appearance, to changing negative self-talk, you’ll find tips to help you appreciate all that your body can do. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint – be kind, be patient and celebrate yourself. Your body grew a human, after all!
Your Body Grew a Human
Having a baby is one of the most incredible feats our bodies can accomplish. Over the course of 9 months, your body created and sustained a new human life. All of the changes your body goes through during pregnancy, from weight gain to stretch marks, are a normal part of this amazing process.
Instead of focusing on how your body is different after baby, remind yourself of everything it went through and achieved to bring your child into this world. Those extra pounds provided nourishment and safety for your baby. Your stretch marks tell the story of your skin expanding to make room for that tiny new person. Any physical changes you see are symbols of your body’s power.
Be Kind to Yourself
Getting back to your pre-baby body is difficult and takes time. Give yourself grace as you recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Your body did something amazing growing and bringing a new life into this world. Now is the time to focus on healing.
It’s easy to get frustrated looking in the mirror and not seeing your old self staring back at you. But your body has been through enormous changes and needs time to bounce back. Have patience and remember that the process is different for every mom.
Instead of criticizing the parts of your body that have changed, try to show yourself the same love and care you show your new baby. Treat yourself with gentleness, nurture yourself, and give yourself time. Silence that inner critic when negative self-talk creeps in. Shift to positive affirmations about your strength and resilience.
You don’t have to snap back to your exact pre-baby weight. Give your body what it needs right now to feel healthy and strong. As you heal both physically and mentally from the journey of pregnancy and childbirth, the rest will follow.
Focus on Health
As a busy mom, it can be hard to prioritize your own health and wellness. But shifting the focus from how your body looks to how it feels can be an empowering mindset shift. Try to let go of societal beauty standards and comparisons. Instead, tune into what makes your body feel its best – energized, strong, and capable.
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of nutrients gives your body the fuel it needs to power you through busy days. Make time for self-care, even if it’s just 10 minutes of deep breathing or a short walk. Light exercise releases endorphins and boosts energy levels. Stay hydrated and get enough sleep so you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Invest in your health not to change your body, but to gain an overall sense of wellbeing. By caring for your body, you are also modeling positive behaviors for your kids. Show them through your actions that healthy choices create energy, improve mood, and fuel an active, engaged life. Your health impacts your ability to be present and patient. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So make time to refill yours.
Change the Narrative
It’s easy to focus on the parts of your postpartum body that have changed and wish they’d go back to the way they were before. Many moms tell themselves negative messages about parts of their bodies, like “My stomach is so flabby now” or “My breasts don’t look perky anymore.” This type of negative self-talk often leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
Instead of criticizing your body’s changes, work on changing the narrative in your own mind. Avoid negative self-talk about problem areas and reframe your thoughts to focus on what your body has accomplished and how you can care for it. Tell yourself “My body grew and birthed a child” or “My breasts nourished my baby.” Celebrate what your body can do instead of mourning what it used to look like. Your body’s changes tell the incredible story of bringing life into the world.
Becoming a mother often means entering a whole new world, full of changes you weren’t quite prepared for. Your changing body may be one of those things. Know that you are not alone. Connect with other moms who are going through similar struggles with their bodies after having a baby. Consider joining an in-person or online community for moms where you can share stories and advice. Having a tribe of other moms to lean on makes all the difference. You’ll quickly find out just how common it is to feel uncomfortable, insecure, or dissatisfied with your postpartum body. And you’ll get great tips from other moms on learning to embrace the changes. Follow body positive influencers and advocates on social media who promote self-love for all bodies. Surround yourself with messages and images that make you feel empowered in your skin. Having a supportive sisterhood helps you see that you are so much more than your body. Focus on the relationships that boost you up.
Do What Makes You Feel Good
As a mom, it can be easy to forget about yourself and neglect your own needs. But taking care of your own wellbeing is just as important as caring for your family. Make time for the things that boost your confidence and bring you joy.
Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful. After having a baby, your body changes. Don’t waste time hating the parts that look different. Instead, find clothes that flatter your new curves. Wear outfits that make you feel gorgeous and powerful. There are so many cute maternity and nursing fashions now that can help you look and feel your best.
Experiment with hair and makeup. You may not have time for elaborate makeovers anymore, but even 5 minutes in front of the mirror can refresh your look. Try a fun new hairstyle or lipstick color. Play around and find what helps you shine. You deserve to look in the mirror and see the beautiful woman you are.
Treat yourself to an at-home spa day. Light some candles, put on a face mask, and take a luxurious bubble bath. Give yourself permission to relax and unwind. Or get a massage, pedicure, or other pampering – you’re worth it! Taking just an hour to replenish will help you be a better mom.
When you feel vibrant and confident, it shows. Making time for your own joy reminds your kids – and yourself – how special you are. You deserve to feel just as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside.
Focus on What Your Body Can Do
As a mother, it’s easy to get caught up in how your body looks after pregnancy and childbirth. But try to shift the focus to what your body can do instead of how it looks. Your body went through something incredible bringing a new life into this world. Celebrate its abilities – you grew a baby, birthed a baby, and now you’re sustaining that precious life with your own body. When you breastfeed or care for your little one, remind yourself – look at what this body can do! Appreciate that it created, birthed and now nourishes this tiny human.
Shift your inner dialogue to focus on function over form. Your body enables you to run around after your kids, it allows you to pick them up and twirl them around when they want to play. It gives you the ability to get down on the floor and crawl around with them. Your body gives you the energy and strength to care for your children and family each day. Those are the things that matter, not how much you weigh or what shape you are. Your body is amazing for all it allows you to do as a mother. Make it a habit to regularly acknowledge all the incredible things your body lets you accomplish, and practice gratitude for how it sustains you and your family each day.
Set a Good Example
As a parent, one of the most effective ways to promote body positivity and self-love in your children is to model it yourself. Your kids are always watching and learning from your behavior. If you constantly criticize your body, they will internalize that. But if you show them what it means to appreciate yourself just as you are, they are more likely to grow up with a healthy body image.
It starts with what you say. Avoid talking negatively about your body or appearance in front of your children, no matter their age. Don’t call attention to your perceived flaws or make disparaging remarks about your weight. Compliment yourself in front of the mirror. Let your kids hear you talk about all the things your body lets you do.
Also pay attention to how you speak about others’ bodies, even celebrities. Refrain from judgmental comments. Discuss people’s character and actions rather than their looks. If your child says something inappropriate, use it as a teaching moment. Explain why it is hurtful to make fun of how someone looks.
Beyond your words, your kids also notice your behaviors. Do you obsess over your weight on the scale? Skip meals? Spend hours getting ready to leave the house? Or do you confidently embrace your body’s changes, nourish yourself with healthy foods, and present yourself to the world without shame? Lead by example when it comes to having a healthy, balanced relationship with your body.
Your children look up to you. Make sure the view is one where they see someone who radiates self-love, inside and out. Your positive influence can instill that same spirit of body acceptance in the next generation.
Throughout this blog post, we’ve covered several ways that new moms can learn to love their postpartum bodies. Here’s a quick recap:
- Remember that your body grew and birthed a human being. That’s an incredible accomplishment! Give yourself grace.
- Be kind to yourself and don’t compare your body to celebrities or social media images. Every body’s journey is different.
- Focus on health and strength, not just aesthetic goals. Eat nutritious foods and stay active in ways that make you feel good.
- Change the narrative and stop negative self-talk. Speak kindly about your body – you’ll set a good example for your kids.
- Find support from other moms going through similar transitions. You’re not alone!
- Do what makes YOU feel happy and confident in your skin. Wear clothes you love and embrace your unique beauty.
- Appreciate what your body can do as you hold your baby close. Focus on the joy of new motherhood.
You just did an amazing thing by bringing new life into this world – that deserves to be celebrated! Be patient, be proud, and learn to love the skin you’re in.