How to Find Your Body After Pregnancy
Pregnancy can and will change your body in so many different ways. The body you have after your baby may never live up to the expectations of your pre-baby body, and that’s ok! You have just gone through a life-altering experience with your body and mind, and to notice some differences is completely natural.
Many people mourn for their pre-baby body and jump right into intensive exercise plans to try and “get their body back.” Yoga and Pilates teacher Lauren Ohayon says that “Most women hope they will indeed return to their former self,” and that “...there is nothing wrong with that, but I wish more moms would focus on how their bodies work (function) hand-in-hand with how they look (fit). There is so much focus on fitness, but fitness and health are not always synonymous. You can be super fit and your body still breaks down with the load of pregnancy, birth, and mothering.”
Reconnecting and feeling comfortable with your body after birth is about more than just its physical experience. It’s also about connecting emotionally with your body and learning to love its new shapes, folds, and marks.
Give Yourself a Break
This is the most important step when it comes to finding your body after pregnancy. It can be especially difficult to see your post-baby body and feel good in this digital age, especially when celebrity culture shows new moms looking great on the red carpet just weeks after giving birth, and sometimes just days! When you’re exposed to the exceptions and told they’re the norms, it can seriously inhibit finding happiness with your post-baby body.
Of course, they’re not writing about leaky boobs and loss of bladder control when they talk to celebrities post pregnancy. Comparing yourself to others does no good for you or your new baby. Instead, take a moment to think about what you’ve just gone through, and how after nine months, you brought actual life into the world.
Taking a night off to reflect may not always be possible, especially if you’re a single parent or experiencing post pregnancy complications. Your body might also be throwing emotional complications (like postpartum depression) at you in addition to physical ones. Hormones are still riding high after delivery, so give yourself time to feel a little out of sorts and be ok with mood swings; you’ve been through a lot. You can cry because the store doesn’t have your yogurt. It’s ok.
Giving yourself just ten minutes a day to stretch can be a great way to have some personal time and connect with your body. It’s important to be active after pregnancy and to build back strength (after the doctor says it’s alright, of course) so that your body can be healthy and ready to tackle the task of motherhood. One new mom shared, “After my daughter was born, between the exhaustion, nursing, emotions, and learning how to be a mom, I knew I wasn’t getting back to my workout routine any time soon. But I would at least, if anything, give myself 10 minutes to stretch. To breathe. To close my eyes and visualize where I am now and where I am capable of getting to.”
Adjust Your Wardrobe
After pregnancy, your favorite pieces of clothing may no longer fit like they used to. Instead of dwelling on this, some moms have taken the opportunity to shop for their new body type (budget permitting). One mom, Emily, said, “I created a postpartum wardrobe, and filled it with transitional pieces in sizes I can wear. This has helped me feel normal and more comfortable now in my skin. Also, I suffer from postpartum anxiety, and group therapy has helped me tremendously!”
New moms swear that a healthy postpartum diet has been instrumental in feeling like themselves and comfortable in their bodies. Committing to a healthy diet after birth is great for your body in more ways than just toning your tummy: healthy eating can help with fluctuating hormones, weight changes, and mood. New mom Michelle says, “I noticed a big shift in my mood when I started eating better. I’d always take care of my own meals last, and everyone else in the family first. When I finally put a better focus on my own nutrition (and skin), I was amazed at how much better I felt. I may not weigh the same, but at least I’m taking care of myself, which is a start.” And, if you are interested in targeting the stretch marks and loose skin on your tummy, Dermaclara has your back with our chemical-free silicone fusion patches. Our non-invasive patches are made with mamas in mind and are more effective than topical creams.
Finding your body after pregnancy isn’t easy, and it isn’t straightforward. It’s not all yoga and bubble baths, but rather a multitude of little changes that you can take (time and budget permitting) to keep yourself grounded and open to change. Remember that finding your body after having a baby doesn’t mean finding your pre-baby body either. It can, sometimes, but most of the time, you will notice big changes that will take months or even years to reverse. That’s why engaging in a positive and loving relationship with your new and changing body (instead of dwelling on the past and pre-baby physique) will be good for your physical and mental health.